FamilySearch Person Pages: Summaries of Your Ancestors’ Lives

June 12, 2019  - by 

FamilySearch.org is home to the world’s largest online family tree, and it contains records for over one billion people. Discover more about your own relatives—or add to what is already known about them—by exploring their individual pages.

What Is a FamilySearch Person Page?

A person page is a summary of all known biographical and genealogical information about one person. Pages for deceased persons are public and can be viewed or altered by anyone; however, the pages of living people are private to the user who created them.

Public person pages are a wealth of collaborative knowledge for a person’s descendants. FamilySearch users add what they know, attach historical records as evidence, and connect these pages to the pages of that person’s parents, spouses, siblings, and children.

For example, let’s say that a descendant created a person page for her second-great-grandfather Charles William Dalby Clark, but only knew his name and christening details. Later on, another descendant found this page, uploaded a photo, and connected William to his spouse, Elizabeth Warrick. A third person entered death data transcribed from a tombstone and created person pages for several of their children.

As FamilySearch users pool their knowledge, these pages reveal the stories of our ancestors’ lives and their family relationships. This collaborative effort helps everyone share, discover, and preserve their interconnected family history.

How to Find a Relative’s Person Page

The FamilySearch Family Tree doesn’t contain person pages for every deceased person, but it’s worth searching the more than 1.2 billion person pages that have been created.

If you are already connected to the FamilySearch Family Tree, you may find a relative in the tree view. Sign in with your free user account, and choose the Tree tab. Then navigate through your ancestry until you know where your relative’s information should be. If you find the person’s name, click it, then click Person to go to the page about that person.

A man researches on his ipad.

If you can’t easily find a certain relative in the tree, or you’re not yet connected to someone in the tree, you mayalso run a search for existing person pages. In the menu at the top of the page, click Family Tree, and then click Find. In the search boxes, enter what you know about the person. Then click Find.

You may see multiple search results for person pages with information similar to what you entered. Carefully review potential matches . It’s possible that more than one person page has been created for your relative. (If you are confident that there are duplicates, you may merge the pages). It’s also possible that a page has not been created for your relative. If that’s the case, you may want to add one.

What You Can Do on a FamilySearch Person Page

Your deceased relatives’ person pages are your portal to learning more about them and to contributing what you may know. The top part of a person page looks like this:

an example of a familysearch person page, with numbers showing different parts of the page.
  1. In the name banner, you can do the following:
    • Add or change the portrait photo.
    • View the full name and birth and death dates (if known).
    • See the unique person ID attached to this person’s page.
  2. On the right side of the banner, you can click to view the person within the tree, choose to watch this page for updates, and see how you’re related to this person.
  3. The details view appears when you first open a person page.
    • Open the Life Sketch section to see if someone has written a sketch (or to write one yourself).
    • In the Vitals section, view or edit the person’s name, sex, and birth and death details.
    • Open the Other Information section to see additional details, such as where the person lived.
    • Along the right side, you may see research help suggestions to guide your next discoveries. Below these, you can search for records on FamilySearch.org and other websites.
    • The Latest Changes section summarizes updates to this person page by other FamilySearch users.
  4. Below the banner, four additional tabs give you opportunities to discover or add more information about this person’s life:
    • Time Line—See how this person’s life unfolded chronologically, or view the person’s movements on a map. Use this view to write a biographical sketch of an ancestor. Read more ideas for using the timeline.
    • Sources—Explore records that have been attached to this ancestor. Verify genealogical details, and look for additional clues.
    • Collaborate—Read notes from other FamilySearch users (or write your own notes for others).
    • Memories—View or contribute photos, documents, stories, or audio files about this person’s life.

Here’s what the bottom part of a person’s page looks like:

The bottom part of a familysearch person page. The screenshot has numbers showing different parts of the page.
  1. The Family Members section lets you view and edit this person’s family relationships. Use this section to navigate to person pages for other relatives or to help you write this person’s life story. (For example, this view might lead you to write, “Over the course of 20 years, Charles and Elizabeth had seven children, six of whom lived to adulthood.”)
  2. On the right side, additional tools help you merge duplicate person pages, report abuse of the FamilySearch user code of conduct, and print family tree data.

Explore the person pages of your own ancestors. If you are already connected to the FamilySearch Family Tree, begin exploring the tree view. Otherwise, search the tree for a deceased relative’s name.


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 sunnymorton.com.

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Comments

  1. Joseph Dooley, full age, bachelor, labourer, Derryduff, and Johanna Byrne. full age, spinster, servant, Camphill, married 24 November 1884 in Castletown R.C. Chapel, Abbeyleix, Queen’s County [Laois]
    Their parents were William Dooley, labourer, and James Byrne, farmer, {deceased}
    Bridget Dooley was actually born on 4th December 1893 in Derryduff, father now a farmer.

  2. How will I know if someone has modified a person page I created and the modification is simply not true? Does the author of the person page have the ability to change the fact back to the original and, if necessary, prevent any future changes by the person who made the erroneous change? Who is screening these public access changes for inappropriate language, etc. and other abuses?

    1. I am also concerned about people making changes, especially if the facts are not supported by documents with source information.

  3. I’m interested in Robert Courtney 1757 til 1832 West Virginia, 1812 soldier 2nd lt. also Harry (Hal) Daniel Pilcher of Delphos , Ottawa, Kansas.

  4. So if only the deceased person is already in the tree, does that mean probably the others are in also, we just can’t see them? why couldn’t it all be public so there are not so many duplicates and save us a lot of work putting in duplicates?