FamilySearch Person Pages: Summaries of Your Ancestors’ Lives

June 12, 2019  - by 
a family works together at a computer.

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 may also 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.

    2. Click “Watch” on the right of each person’s name. You won’t be alerted if someone merges your 25-sourced ancestor to their one-sourced one (my pet peeve), but you’ll be alerted once a week to other changes. Also, you can “Unmerge” if you’re fast enough.

      1. I don’t know why I have received this. But I do not like the idea of anybody else altering anything on any of my trees. I would prefer the information with supporting documents to be forwarded to me for me to make the decision. I am always grateful for information especially as my research covers a wide field.

  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?

    1. Clara,
      To protect our privacy, living people assigned PIN’s are housed in a separate part of the system. Due to this it is possible for a single LIVE person to have more than one PIN assigned as long as they are living. The Family Search System does not indicate there are duplicate PIN’s on living people, this occurs once the PIN number associated with the living person(s) is marked as deceased.

      I currently have a nephew and cousin looking at ancestors we share because I have entered Family Search records and data on them. They can create PIN’s for themselves and any living relations up the line to attach to our deceased relations. This is the point where duplication of efforts ends:
      1. For my nephew this would be for him and his father to attach to my parents (his
      grandparents).
      2. For my cousin all he needs to do is merge the PINs he created for his parents and
      grandparents under existing the PINs because the ones I added have more all-inclusive
      family ancestry.
      3. I still will not be able to see my cousin and nephew PIN numbers or their personal
      information because they are alive. They in turn cannot see my PIN or any of my
      information.

      You can take a live person and indicate they are deceased. At this point any information on them is public and their privacy rights are gone.

      See these articles in the HELP CENTER:
      • Who can see my living relatives in Family Tree?
      • Identifying records of living people in Family Tree
      • Finding living people in Family Tree
      https://www.familysearch.org/help/helpcenter/article/who-can-see-my-living-relatives-in-family-tree

      • How does Family Tree determine whether a person is living or deceased?
      https://www.familysearch.org/help/helpcenter/article/how-does-family-tree-determine-whether-a-person-is-living-or-deceased

  5. Where did the charts go? I used to be able to click on the lower right corner for “Fan Chart,” etc. This was priceless for letting for see gaps to fill. Please let me know how to access these.

    1. They are still available. You can access them on the top left corner of your family tree. It will be a drop down menu that likely says “landscape”. If you click on that, you will have the option to change the landscape tree view to see a fan chart view.

  6. You have the wrong people listed as my grandparents and the wrong person as my mother. MY Grandmother is Elizabeth Brundabura Rusnak, MY Grandfather is John Rusnak, MY Mother is Margaret Rusnak Chromulak. I did not make the error, you did, so it is not up to me to correct it. The correct information is on MyHeretige. com you may access that information and make the corrections.

    1. Our goal at FamilySearch is not only to connect individual families, but to connect the human family. In order to accomplish that goal, we need everyone’s help. For this reason, FamilySearch Family Tree is a shared tree, which means that it is open for users to contribute what information they have. Check out this article that will teach you how to correct mistakes if you are interested in that.

  7. I erroneously listed my grandson and grandaughter as my son and daughter. There is no source listed so I do not know how to delete it and add it correctly under my son.

    1. Luckily if it was you who made the mistake it is super easy to fix! Click here to read an article that gives step-by-step instructions on how to do that. Good luck!

  8. The only thing I don’t like is when if another party merges your page with theirs your ancestor could be deleted off of your page and added again but with a different individuals code. It happened to me where a distant relative merged my father ( who had passed away) to their page and because I had him under watch it showed he was deleted and had a new number. It really upset me because it felt like he was ripped away from me again by not having his original ID number. Thankfully a customer service person helped me in giving him back to me since he and my grandpa are the reason I started genealogy. She was wonderful and understanding. I wish there was a way to avoid this happening again or to others.

    1. Erica, please clarify or define what you mean by a “Page”. Each deceased individual on Family Search can have only one PIN number. A “page” in Family Search is the screen containing the individual information specific to each individual. Also, when the initial PIN attached to your grandfather was reinstated was the information and sources attached during the merge taken into account and retained?

      When specific indicators match in the system a “possible duplicate” alert is added to each person’s individual page to alert individuals to research and make determinations if it is actually the same person or not. There are several options that may occur based on research OR an individual just merging information if they believe the person to be one in the same.

      One of my most recent possible duplicate cases:
      I had left a note on both PIN’s to alert anyone else that it was possible these were 2 distinct females born on the same day, same city, same birth and surnames. The only difference between the two was their ethnicity – white versus black.
      1. Revisiting the two ladies a researcher had merged the two PIN’s under one number. This person did not indicate if they had seen the note(s) or noticed the difference in race between the two.
      2. I performed a full blown review of all sources on the one parent available going back several generations.
      3. I outlined my findings and sent a notice to the researcher asking for validation to let the merge remain.
      4. The researcher replied there was no current proof to let the merge stand and indicated I should perform any processes necessary to reinstate the deleted PIN for my family member. However, the person also attempted to replace the PIN that belonged to the ancestors on my side. This was not necessary and added another possible duplicate indication once I reinstated the deleted PIN.
      5. We agreed to leave the note on both PIN’s although we indicated these were two separate females based on current information. Should it be known in the future this is one person the justification to merge without receiving a systematic duplicate person indication exists on their records.

      Based on my vast person pool of ancestors in Family Search, I have performed multiple merges once it is known a possible duplicate situation is encountered.
      1. On my side of researching, if I am not sure of the conditions, I compose a note and leave it on all PIN’s involved. The note outlines what needs clarification before a merge should be performed.
      2. On When merging multiple PIN’s, I indicate why the merge and how the merge impacts all family names.
      3. I DO NOT DELETE ANY PREVIOUS SOURCE DATA OR FAMILY MEMBERS IN THE MERGE PROCESS.
      4. Under the merge process one has to determine how much past and present data is impacted and which PIN(S) contain the most family members and source records. If researcher do not compare and retain all family data it is possible and THEY do drop valuable family information based on all people involved in the merge (parents, siblings, children, spouse(s), etc).
      5. A proper merge does not and should not delete individuals from another researcher’s family line it just changes the PIN attached to that individual. I have been contacted by a researcher looking for family members. Based our review we discovered we were working on the same family based on siblings. My ancestor married into her family line. I was not researching her family but my ancestor was attached by marriage

      I also have encountered researchers who will merge PINS while there I still outstanding questions regarding spouses and children belonging to the primary person. Luckily the merge did not remove my PIN number attached to the primary ancestor.

      We all are working on surnames of ancestors in an open family tree. This des not mean we are related to each other. There are differences we should look for and take into account:
      1. What is the year of birth and place of birth?
      2. What is the ethnicity of the person? African Americans identified as Mulatto can and are also identified as white.
      3. What is the spelling of the surname and are the difference in spellings different families or errors in documentation?
      4. There are multiple living and deceased with the same birth/surname, birthdate, AND born in the same location. Who are the birth parents of these people?