Five Things Every New FamilySearch User Should Try

May 18, 2019  - by 
a youth and his father explore FamilySearch together.

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!

Learn more online about starting your family tree.

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Family history comes to life with details, which is why you’ll want to spend time searching collections of historical documents for references to your family and ancestors.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

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How to Get Started with Indexing Online

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  1. Start a three ring binder of the family with pictures, naming each, and start with the oldest picture of your ancestor that you have, and make your way down the chain until you get to yourself. You can always add pictures, once that is done go back and write a note as to what you know or remember about this person, ask family members, and keep this up. Do up an ancestry sheet on each of these people, along with their immediate family members, you will have a beautiful ancestry book when your done. You can get nice material on line to assist you.

    1. My suggestion is to start BEFORE someone dies because I am the last oldest member of my family and our ancestors are hard to locate just using paperwork. My G-G-G-Grandfather was born in 1865 with no notation of who his father was. I know of his mother but not of his father. NOTHING of his father and I have been searching for over 30+ years.

  2. I too have become extremely frustrated by individuals “correcting” my entries. lease leave my relatives alone!

    1. I have corrected some of the entries on my families because I have the original documents and it is apparent that a typographical error was made by someone. Too much false information gets entered by carelessness.

  3. I enjoy every moment and every discovery I find no matter what website I use. My question is when I discover something on family search and want to view a document many numerous times it does not open up and directs me to family search center. Unfortunately I have visited some In my area and I felt very unwelcome. The first thing people do is ask if you are a member. Does that change any documents that I find (no) Make these documents searchable at home. I would feel more confident in my work just knowing there wasn’t any pressure feeling on me

  4. I have found one item of great help in expanding my family tree research is “family with sources” button. That will have information that could expose another record and person to add to your tree research. It helped me go back to 1600. The ‘family’ with sources’ recorded with your name is from work from many other people indexing public records. In marriage and birth records may include names of spouses and/or children that you could not find using any other method. It will help you with corrected family information. Family with sources are from legal records in city halls, birth and death records, marriage records.