How to Contact Other Users—Working Together on the Family Tree

June 12, 2019  - by 
two brothers work together on a computer.

Have you ever messaged someone on or had a discussion about an ancestor on their person page? Contacting other FamilySearch users can be a key part of building the Family Tree and connecting with your family—past and present.

The FamilySearch Family Tree empowers families around the world to work together and build a family tree. Descendants from various branches of a family often have different family photographs, documents, and memories. Those researching in a particular language, region, archive, or on different websites may discover unique information.

When descendants contribute what they know to the shared Family Tree and work together to find new information, their collective knowledge becomes more powerful. They can learn more than they might have found on their own and can save time by leaving notes and messaging other users.

Easy Ways to Communicate with other Users

Communicating with other users can be both inspiring and helpful. Perhaps you want to thank someone for uploading photos or sharing a meaningful story. You may want to know the source of another person’s data if it hasn’t been posted. You might reach out to ask questions if another user has introduced errors. Or you may simply want to connect with someone who shares your interest in a particular relative.

Here are some simple ways to communicate with other FamilySearch users when you use the Family Tree.

Explain Your Work

By far, your most important form of communication on the Family Tree is to record why you think the information you have added is correct. Whenever you enter or edit information, you’ll see a box that says “Reason This Information Is Correct.” Take the time to explain the sources and reasoning that led you to enter this piece of information. Your reason statements become part of an ancestor’s profile and can help other descendants understand why a change was made and help them in their research.

A screenshot with arrows showing how to explain your work.

Not sure what to say? Here’s how to write an effective reason statement. (Remember to attach historical sources that support what you’re saying too!) 

Use the Collaboration Tab

On the profile pages of each of your ancestors is a Collaborate tab. Here, you have a place to add notes and have discussions.

In the notes section, you can post messages for others who may be researching the ancestor.  Use notes to coordinate research, tell others where you have or haven’t been able to find records, or make notes about specific records. (See an example of a note below.) Notes in this section can be viewed and edited by anyone using the Family Tree.

Important Note: The notes tab isn’t the place to put specific relationship or event details, such as birth and death dates. These details go under the Details tab for your ancestor. Stories and memories also have their own place, under Memories.

A screenshot with arrows showing how to add a new note.

In the Discussion section, you can start or join a discussion about your ancestor (Example: “Did Charles marry someone other than Valeria?”). Responses are public and remain visible unless the person who started the discussion deletes it. This feature is a good way to have a conversation with multiple descendants.

A screenshot with arrows showing how to add a new discussion.

Contact an Individual User

Every user-contributed piece of information in the Family Tree is tagged with the screen name of the user who submitted the information. To see the tagged names, look for the Detail View toggle at the top of each section and click it to view the information.

A screenshot with arrows showing detail view and how to see latest changes.

You can also see a summary list of the most recent changes to an ancestor’s profile (and who made the changes) under the Details tab, where it says Latest Changes; click Show All to see a full history.

Contact a user by clicking on that person’s screen name, wherever it may appear. As shown here, a new window will pop up that allows you to send a message. (To check your own messages, sign in, and click the Messages link at the top right of the screen. You might also receive an email notification when another user messages you.)

A screenshot showing how to send a message.

Occasionally, you may notice that a user has submitted multiple errors. Some users aren’t as experienced or knowledgeable as others. Some may not have complete or accurate information. FamilySearch welcomes everyone who wants to help grow the Family Tree and hopes that more experienced researchers can help willing learners improve their contributions.

To get started or to improve your current collaboration with fellow descendants, click here to go to the FamilySearch Family Tree!

Learn More about the World’s Largest Shared Family Tree

a young boy explores the online family tree on the FamilySearch Family Tree app.

Sunny Morton

Sunny Morton teaches personal and family history to worldwide audiences. She's a Contributing Editor at Family Tree Magazine, past Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems, and the author of How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records (co-authored with Harold Henderson, CG); Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy; "Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites," and hundreds of articles. She has degrees in history and humanities from Brigham Young University. Read her work at

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  1. Have been looking at this site and found many mistakes regarding my family, dont know who has put this info on your site, but it is very wrong info, clearly whoever has done this hasnt researched properly. Need to find out who this person is. The family in question is of William Herbert Gayden.

  2. My Grandmother, Elizabeth Pearl Nelson,[L5FW-J9D] Father is Byron Nelson[G43T-M9R], His father, Lloyd Nelson[GWB8-RH8 has been put in that position now. I’ve tried to correct it but I don’t seem to be able to. I would certainly appreciate your help.

    1. Hi Betty! You can contact FamilySearch Customer Service at 1-866-406-1830 to ask for someone who can help you figure this out.

  3. Hi, A section of my Tree is wrong – same surname but not the right people – so how do delete this whole section & add my family to Tree? Thanks

    1. Hi Valerie! Thank you for your question. You need to delete the incorrect relationships. You can click here to find the instructions on how to correct relationships in the Family Tree. Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks. I have the same problem. That is what happens when people have the same name. Thanks for the hint.

  4. I added a person by mistake, Charles Thomas Humphrey..listed as father..I need it removed. I have added Charles Robert humphrey

  5. Thanks for this site. I was able to continue on my dad side, my Grandfathers line back another two times and Grandmothers line to the 1300s in England. I traced my mother side back to the late 1500s in Germany. Never would have been able to without this site. We really didn’t know anything about our family story, now we have characters to follow up on.

  6. I need to move GZKH-6W5 Carl O Bauman (1903-1945). His parents should be MG29-93R Edwin Bauman (1869-1952) and Anna, not L4N9-RM2 Edwin R Bauman (1998-1995) and Christine. When I attempt the correction I get a message that three children’s relationships will be changed. I only want to change Carl. You can tell by the birth dates that this is correct. Please do this for me. Thanks / Jerry Bauman (LDQ7-YQT) 936-520-0478, b