Five Things Every New FamilySearch User Should Try

May 18, 2019  - by 

At, you have multiple ways to experience the excitement of family history. Now that you have an account, it’s time to start exploring some of the amazing things you can do.   

Here are five activities worth trying.

1. Start Your Family Tree

As the saying goes, we’re all related if we go back far enough. With the FamilySearch Family Tree, you can see how.

Begin by entering your own name into the tree, followed by your parents. Add information about your grandparents and even their grandparents, if you have it. The goal is to connect your family line with someone else’s.

As you make this connection, FamilySearch will automatically add you to the largest shared family tree in the world. You’ll be able to see the names and details of any ancestors that you share. 

In this way, the Family Tree helps you discover your family history. And when you enter information about yourself and your family, you might be helping others discover their history too—who knows!

If you have questions about starting your family tree, start with the online booklet My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together. We’ll help you record family information, including adding photos, names, dates, and precious family stories.

Or you can learn more online about starting your family tree.

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The World’s Largest Shared Family Tree

2. Find Fun Facts about You with Discovery Experiences

Part of family history is learning about yourself—seeing how you connect to the world around you, to the members of your family, and to the people who came before you.

FamilySearch’s online discovery activities enhance this connection to the past. What will you feel when you recognize your smile on the face of a long-lost ancestor, or read the inscription on a great-grandparent’s headstone?

With a click of the mouse, our gallery of discovery activities can provide you with these and other experiences, such as Picture My Heritage or All About Me. They are most fun when you invite someone else—like a close friend or family member—to enjoy them with you.  

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New Family History Discovery Experiences on

3. Search Our Records

Family history comes to life with details, which is why you’ll want to spend time searching collections of historical documents for references to your family and ancestors.

Birth certificates, marriage certificates, obituaries, census reports, church records, draft cards—these are all important family artifacts. They are tangible evidence of your ancestors’ lives and of the lives of others they interacted with.

Records also often offer clues about the everyday experiences of your ancestors. With the right historical records, you might be able to discover an ancestor’s occupation, see where he or she lived, and learn the person’s exact height, weight, and eye color.

When you find a historical document that mentions someone you’re related to, be sure to attach it to his or her profile in Family Tree for other people to enjoy.

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Learn about Your Family on

4. Record or Upload a Family Memory

Part of family history is creating your own history—photos, stories, and even sound recordings—for future generations to enjoy. At FamilySearch, we call these items “Memories,” and we want to help you preserve them.

a grandfather takes a photo with his grandchildren.

The FamilySearch Memories App and the Memories tab on are both dedicated to helping you create, upload, view, and preserve these memories. Once they are saved, they go into the same “Memories” gallery so you can view them anywhere.

Now that you have an account, try uploading a photo of yourself or of a loved one. Click the link below to learn how.

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Add Audio to Pictures on

5. Help Others

Finally, with your FamilySearch account set up, you can give your time and knowledge by indexing historical records.

When you index a historical record, you view the digital image of an actual document—for example, a marriage certificate—and enter its information into our systems. When you index records, the documents and their information become searchable in FamilySearch’s Records Collections. With this resource, other users can benefit and find information about their families.

Indexing records is a great way to help someone else make a meaningful family history discovery. Click the link below to give indexing a try—you’ll truly be making a positive difference for others.  

Users also read:

How to Get Started with Indexing Online

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  1. I use this site all the time and find it very good and useful and have found documents I cannot find on other sites . The only bug bear I have is the amount of people who do not read or look at what they are attaching to branches, I am constantly have to correct my family branches. I understand this to a point and star my main branches. The amount of double ups because people don’t know how to merge seems to be a problem and I wonder if there is so many duplicates is it possible for a box to pop up to warn the person they need to check? Sometimes it can take me hours to correct a particular branch. Please do not think that I do not make mistakes I do of course but I just wonder if there is a way we could improve some aspects of the [world] tree. This site is a very valuable and important one and I appreciate all the good work you do

    1. Virgini, what information do you have so far? I would love to help you find some ideas for searching.

  2. Thanks for this. I’m not absolutely beginning, but I haven’t gone past entering data, and arranging for or doing ordinances. I appreciate info on using the Memories app, for example.

  3. I should enroll children and wife from the first marriage of a person, but I do not have that option. How do I solve the problem? Why is there no divorce option, or is there, but where?