FamilySearch Introduces Two New Search Features

January 4, 2013  - by has updated its search system with two new features that will allow users to focus their searches in a dramatic way. These two new features are:

  • Restrict Results by Record Location & Type
  • Search the FamilySearch Catalog with Multiple Search Parameters

Restricting Results by Record Location & Type

Among the many different genealogical search tasks, the most common are a broad search for any information about an ancestor and a narrow search for a specific record, such as a birth certificate, for an ancestor.

Someone looking for any information about their ancestor who was born in England is usually delighted to see the 1920 U.S. Census record showing the person and his family living in Wisconsin. Those specifically seeking their grandfather’s English birth certificate are not so delighted with a U.S. Census record.

Using the new main-page search form a user can designate that they only want records returned which originate from England. They can also choose to restrict the types of records returned to those of a specific type, such as ‘Marriage’.



Our search system uses all of the information it has about a record to determine it’s location of origin and type. It uses the jurisdictional of the known record keeping authority, the place and type of the primary event on the record, the collection place and type context, etc.  There are some collections, like the World Miscellaneous ones, where this information is not known for the records and these will not be returned in a location & type search. You may want to search these collections separately.

This ability to focus in on specific locations and record types will be very helpful to researchers who are seeking to know if FamilySearch has the records they are looking for.

Searching the FamilySearch Catalog Using Multiple Search Terms

Those who use the FamilySearch catalog commonly look for all the resources from a specific location first and then sort through hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of published titles to find those relevant to their research. The new catalog search form allows users to enter multiple search terms by clicking the terms they want to search on. Filtering on both a place and keyword, for example, will greatly increase the efficiency of identifying the most relevant resources about ones family.



While the new catalog contains the same data as the old, and is getting better and better, there are still essential missing features in this beta product. Until these features are finished the previous version of the catalog will remain available for public use.

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  1. Thank you for all the new features on FamilyTree, and associated Family Search website! Thank you for the Historical Records that help us succeed in our efforts to seek out our deceased ancestors. We appreciate the efforts of all who contribute to this glorious work!

  2. I’m glad someone reminded me to look at the updated project instructions. Now I know how to arbitrate airline manifests.
    Now, if I could just know how to get rid of the automatic duplicating feature which assumes that the next entry by the same indexer on the same line is correct. Lots of times it is not, and I think this feature is responsible for mistakes. I know that it makes me look again at previous record lines.

  3. I am so tired of trying to access Family Search. If I skip a couple of weeks between using it (due to chemotherapy, etc.) I cannot then access the website. Usually my password is rejected. Why make it so difficult to use???

  4. There sure are a lot of complaints about what people are provided for free. If you are not paying for it, don’t complain, just suggest.

  5. My problem is that every time I select names for ordinance work, the computer freezes up. The only way this is resolved is by closing my current internet search and reopenng it. I usually have my PAF opened and am toggling between the two programs, but even if I just sit and wait…it still freezes up. In fact, it did it Tuesday Feb 5th before 5:40 pm MST. My desktop is an older computer but it works on everything else I do. If you have previously answered this, I didn’t see the answer. I don’t usually come to this part. I feel some of the people are complaining too much about a totally free and useful tool. Thanks. One other thing, is there ANY way to uncombine people other than calling the 800 #? Some time this takes soooo long.

  6. Sugiero que se pueda calificar a los arbitros. Calificando su trabajo del 1 al 10, los mismos indexadores que tengan la suficiente experiencia en este trabajo, así se puede saber si estamos arbitrando bien. Me gusta indexar, y trato de arbitrar bien. Sujeta a las reglas. El trabajo de todos es muy importante, aunque se opte por cualquiera de los trabajos A o B.

  7. I’ve always been able to use Family Search without any ‘sign in’ but within the last week or so – May 27, 2013 until now, after I key in a name and birth date it just has a block that says LOADING not SEARCH and I can’t go any further. What happened?

  8. Since May 27th, 2013, when I key in a name and birth date, the bottom of the screen has a block that says LOADING and not Search. I’ve always been able to search without signing in. My sister has no problem. What happened

    1. 6 days later and still no help from Familysearch.
      I am logged in and it still does not work.
      No error messages – just dumb silence.

    2. Carol,
      As you would expect, this is not supposed to work this way. There are hundreds of thousands of users doing millions of searches daily. It sounds like maybe something is happening with your browser. If clearing the cache and disabling suspect add-ons doesn’t solve the problem, I’d recommend calling FamilySearch support. You might also try another browser (Firefox, Chrome or Safari) and see if the problem goes away. That would indicate a browser problem.

  9. We have been asked to help our youth start Family History in Family Tree. In order for this to work for our young people we need relationships on Family Tree. They get lost in there own tree. Please we need this

    Archie Sellers

  10. When I go to FamilySearch and enter a search, every time I get this message: We are unable to display search results due to technical difficulties. Please try searching again in a few minutes.