Streamlining Your Family History with Family Tree Lite

August 31, 2019  - by 
A mother and son look at Family Tree Lite on their computer

One of our goals at FamilySearch is to create a research experience that is fast and efficient. That’s why, when you visit our site or use our app, you come across so many different tools. You can attach photos, list sources, use record hints, and search partner sites, and the list goes on.

However, in some cases, you might have limited internet bandwidth that doesn’t allow all the bells and whistles of the website to run smoothly. Or maybe you simply want to save on data usage. For these circumstances, we have created a streamlined version of FamilySearch’s Family Tree, known appropriately as Family Tree Lite.

A screenshot of the family tree lite app

Back to the Basics

Family Tree Lite takes the essence of Family Tree and cuts away all the extras. Here are some of the differences you will notice immediately:

  • Families are formatted in lists, not trees.
  • Information on individuals is summarized into vital information and links to spouses and parents.
  • There are no Memories features, such as photos or audio.
  • Sources are no longer visible.
  • Links to partner sites have been removed.
  • There are no record hints.

Don’t worry. All this information is still stored on the full website and in the Family Tree app. And whatever information you add or change in Family Tree Lite will also be reflected in these two locations. The idea is that Family Tree Lite allows you to continue working on your tree in situations where you otherwise would be bogged down because of limited internet bandwidth.

A screenshot of the vital information on the family tree lite app

Personal Screen

Icons on the family tree lite app

You will also notice that the menu options at the top of the main screen offer only a few simple options:

  • Arrow “Me” icon: Return to information about you and your immediate family.
  • Family icon: Return to the information about the family of the person you are viewing.
  • Person icon: Return to view the person you were researching.
  • Magnifying Glass icon: Search for a relative in your family tree.

Clicking the Edit button brings you to this screen, where you can change information.

Edits and Updates

The process of making changes to your family tree is simple. Navigate to an ancestor’s person page, and click Add for any detail that needs to be added. To change what is already there, select the detail, and then click Edit. More complex changes, such as merging or adding sources, can be done only on the main site or in the Family tree app.

The Benefits of Family Tree Lite

Family Tree Lite is designed be used in locations where Internet connectivity is slow, unreliable, or possibly expensive. Through this service, we are better able to give people all throughout the world the opportunity to experience the joy of family history.

Even those who may not need to use Family Tree Lite can experience the added bonuses of going back to the basics. The simpler display can help illuminate problems or holes in family tree information that may have been overlooked. This simplified view allows you to drill down to the meat of the matter—your family.

In life, unexpected benefits often come from going back to the basics. This concept is at the heart of Family Tree Lite.

More about How to Use the Family Tree

Leslie Albrecht Huber

Leslie Albrecht Huber has written for dozens of magazines and journals on genealogy and other topics. She currently does communications consulting and contract work for nonprofit organizations. Leslie received a bachelor's degree in history from Brigham Young University and a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked as a professional genealogist, helpingothers trace their families, and has spoken on genealogy and history topics to groups across the United States.

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  1. I just got out of Family Tree Life and I think it is simply awesome! Looking forward to using it in my continued research.

  2. Thank you for the Family Tree Lite, I am happy knowing the benefits of it and we can use it together with FamilySearch website. I have ever seen the Family Tree Lite in Thai language, that also help Thai people who lack of English to do their family history.

  3. I get totally annoyed and frustrated when I KNOW for a fact that MANY family members exist or existed and I cannot find them in your search

  4. Every month would you please put at least one of these helpful articles for Family History in our wonderful monthly Ensign magazine. It would be easier for me to study your worthwhile instructions. (I think you already have such as “Stories and Photos To Share”.) Thank you

  5. This appears to be a thought-full and help-full new tool, indeed. Thank you!
    Quick fix:
    The word “continuing” in the text below, which had been pasted from the Back to Basics section, should read “continue.”

    “The idea is that Family Tree Lite allows you to continuing working on your tree in situations where you otherwise would be bogged down because of limited internet bandwidth.”

  6. Thank you. When will it be possible to add and edit information for living persons and share that information with a limited or designated distribution?

  7. Another example of your commitment to improving your website, so generously free to all us not-very-rich amateur genealogists! Congratulations and keep up the good work.

  8. RI need help. I’m a FAMILY HISTORY CONSULTANT in MY Ward & I have a mobility problem &it’s very difficult to help the members to do their Family History sand members thinks Family History is about fillling names and dates.
    THE YOUTH are going to the TEMPLE on Dec and have been avoiding me when I ask them about their FAMILY HISTORY BOOKLETS if they have filled them.
    I’m also not a technology person I also need help to be really immersed in doing MY FAMILY HISTORY WORK.