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. Very useful for those not familiar or are just starting out with Family Tree and of course a great refresher for those who visit regularly. Easy to follow and very helpful. Keep up the good work.

  2. Are there guidelines to finding the names of birth parents, that are now deceased, by their adult daughter who is in her 90’s ?

    1. Winona, great question! Have you had your DNA done? This is a great article that explains how to find birth parents through DNA. After you have found their names you can add them to your family tree.

      1. Ms Winona, and ashleylaurel, I am finding eityh all of the changes via FamilySearch the maiden name of the mother can be accessed when the records of the states are updated. Most of my luck has been with the state of California birth records for live relatives. I have attached the birth record for myself, my daughters as sources to my person page, including other live family relations to their birth records. The CITATION provides the necessary data for someone looking for the actual record where to know where to go to obtain a certified hard copy. Another avenue besides DNA testing. Hope this helps.

  3. Great..I use family search all the time…feel this in at best better than ancestry..the program let’s me explore different avenues

  4. Once again, Family Search does not disappoint. I have found so many relatives, which I have find to be a humbling venture. Thank you so much for helping me along my journey. I constantly recommend this site to others that are looking for their family history.

  5. I have been looking for my maternal grandmothers family for years now and have only been able to get to her parents and siblings and no further. The great grandparents are Joseph Dooley born in Derryduff, County Laois, Ireland around 1846 his wife was Johanna Byrne born in Kilkenny, Ireland around1865. My grandmother was Bridget Margaret Dooley born 1894. I have the list of her siblings and their birth dates but I can find nothing more on the family. Can you help?I

  6. I have two distant cousins who fought in the Civil War – one on each side. They are both named Moses Batt. Websites (as well as past family records) have them confused. How can this be corrected?

  7. It would be helpful to have a delete button for when we find that a persoson has been entered in error
    it would be helpful if it was easier to enter the information such as one page on which all informtion is posted for the indivudual person and your computer system can then place where required
    Other sites have a much easie r format to use and to follow

  8. When I add a dead ancestor to my tree, all of that person’s ancestors automatically are added, but when I add a live projeny that’s already in someone else’s tree (even using a file number) Familysearch doesn’t find the existing record so I must create a new one. Doesn’t this limitation lead to duplicate records?

  9. How can I get back on Family Search, and into the Tree. that I had?? Also seem to have some messages, that I can no longer get into. Really appreciate your help in this matter.

    1. Have you forgotten your username and/or password? If so, this article is very detailed and explains how to change those so you can access your account again.

  10. I have a pony tail of my great grandmother’s hair. She was born in 1889. I believe she was an adult when she cut her hair. Is there any way of testing hair for DNA?