How to Use FamilySearch’s Mobile Apps

March 17, 2017  - by 

With FamilySearch’s two mobile apps (the FamilySearch Tree app and the Memories app), you can take your family history with you anywhere you take your phone! This makes it more convenient than ever to fit a few little family history tasks into even the busiest schedules. The first step, if you haven’t used FamilySearch before, is to create a free account. Next, make a quick stop at the Solutions Gallery to download the apps. Then read through our tips and tricks below, and you’ll be off and running in no time.

And since both apps sync with the website, changes or additions you make on your phone will show up on the site.

Using the FamilySearch Tree App

Designed as a companion to FamilySearch’s online Family Tree, there’s lots of great things you can do with this app. Here are two highlights to get you started.

Learn how to do family history work using the mobile family tree app.
View and edit your tree.

When you open the app, your family tree will appear—with as much or as little information as you’ve put into it so far. Use your fingers to move or expand the tree. To add a new person, tap on a black plus sign to reach a screen where you can enter those details. As you enter deceased people, the app automatically searches for possible matches already in FamilySearch’s Tree. This helps avoid duplicates and could link you into material that might already be there. To search the Tree for a particular person, select the magnifying glass in the upper right corner.

If you’d like to add or change information about a specific person, tap on him or her to reach his or her individual screen. From here, tapping the green plus sign in the lower right corner will bring you to a screen where you can type in further details, such as a birth date and place.

Find and add sources.

Besides exploring and expanding the ancestors you have on your tree, you can also find and add sources to your tree with this app. From a person’s individual page, select Sources, and then choose the green plus at the bottom of the screen. This brings up three options: add a URL for a web page, add a source with a photo—which might include photos of a records taken with your phone, or search FamilySearch’s historical records to find sources that match this ancestor.

Use the family tree app to do family history work anywhere.
How to use the mobile family tree app.

Tapping Search Records will give you a choice to search FamilySearch or Ancestry. The search will try to find records with information that matches that particular ancestor, like it did above on the right for Samantha Mcmullin. If you find a record that matches, tap it to see more information. Then you can even attach it to the Tree with just one more tap.

Another way to access historical records is by choosing More from the tabs across the bottom of the screen. For more information on adding sources, try reading “How to Add Sources.”

How to save time and work on family history anywhere.
Using the Memories App

FamilySearch’s second app, the Memories app, is a companion for the Memories section of FamilySearch. This section of FamilySearch offers a place to store and organize family memories, such as photos, documents, stories, audio clips, and more.

The beauty of the corresponding app is that it allows you to capture these memories as they happen—and upload them directly to the Memories Gallery. Here’s how it can help you with your family history.

Capture new material.

Your phone offers you quick and convenient ways to record memories—and the Memories app helps you preserve them.

The app opens to the My Photos section. In the upper right corner, select the plus to see the option to upload a photo from your camera roll or take a new photo. Select Stories to type in a family story or memory. And by using the Audio tab, you can record an interview with a family member and instantly have it be part of your Memories Gallery.

How to make the most of your spare time with these family history apps.
Label and attach memories to your tree.

Once you bring in a photo, story, or audio clip, you can make it even more useful by making it be part of the Tree. Tapping on the photo will take you to a screen to do this. First choose a title for your photo. Then you can tap Who is this about? to make circles appear on faces in photos (or on names in documents). Start typing in the name, and FamilySearch will find possible matches from your tree. Selecting one of these people will attach the photo or document to that person on your tree. The same general process applies to stories and audio clips.

Of course these apps can do much more than what we’ve covered here. But you’ll find they are fairly intuitive to use. With these few tips, you’re more than ready to jump in and start finding and preserving your family history right from your phone.

Try Another Simple Activity:

Family History Simple Start: Start Your Family Tree
Family History Simple Start: Explore Your Heritage
Family History Simple Start: Discover New Apps
Family History Simple Start: Hints: See What FamilySearch Found
Family History Simple Start: Add a Photo or Audio Story
Family History Simple Start: Search the Site
Family History Simple Start: Use FamilySearch Apps

Leslie Albrecht Huber

Leslie Albrecht Huber has written for dozens of magazines and journals on genealogy and other topics. She currently does communications consulting and contract work for nonprofit organizations. Leslie received a bachelor's degree in history from Brigham Young University and a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked as a professional genealogist, helpingothers trace their families, and has spoken on genealogy and history topics to groups across the United States.

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  1. Such applications are actually exceedingly valued. For instance, my sister is exceptionally touchy to everything identified with the family; My grandma especially acknowledges family ties and keeps a memory of them. With your application, it’s constantly conceivable to keep this information and your recollections nearby! So pleasant to come back to his granddad and demonstrate to him his old photographs and recount the story close to the chimney! Much thanks!

  2. I have a question; I’m just learning how to use the mobile apps. As a TFHC how can I help a patron in their home to take photos and add to their Gallery in Memories if they don’t have a mobile device. I can take it with my iphone but it needs to be on her mobile device in order to add it to her own tree, right? How do I transfer it?

    1. I believe you could email the photos to them from your phone and then they can put the photos from the emails into a file on their computer to upload into the memories section.

  3. These detailed directions to perform tasks should be printable. Our ward would like to assemble a printed instruction manual that members can refer to when away from their computers or on another screen.
    Also, the fill-in for name, email, etc. below does not work properly with firefox.

    1. Steven, that’s a great idea! You can save this blog post as a PDF which you can later print. You can also save any of the pictures on the post and print them. Also, thank you for letting me know about the Firefox glitch. For me it’s not showing the letters in the box when I type. Is that what you are referring to?

  4. I have very extensive ancestor info on my phone app but it is not updating on my desktop? Any idea how to fix?

  5. I am having an issue that the information on my app does not sync up with the website. For example I have entered information on my husband’s tree and none of that shows up in the app, only when I log into the website from a browser. I am using the Apple iOS app and I haven’t seen any updates to the app. Is there a trick to getting them synced?

  6. is It possible to click on the tag for the person in the memories App and have it directly link you to the person in the Family Tree App? When I click to tag the person initially, it pulls the person up from Family Tree. But once the person has been tagged in Memories, I don’t see a way to click the tag and have it take me directly back to that person in Family Tree.

  7. I have taken a story and photographed them (19 pages) and add to the memories app on my phone. It only allows you to add 10 at a time. I even photographed it backwards 19,18,17, etc. Ive titled it and using pg 1 through 19 . Well it uploaded to memories in Family Search backwards- but when I tagged it to 3 different prople it went out of order.
    I have deleted over 6 times and tried uploading it in order which didn’t work .
    Family Search help states there is a grid you can use to arrange in order – There is no grid that can drop down and arrange- SO VERY FRUSTRATING!!! Id even leave it backwards if it would show up in order that are tagged to the people..
    Don’t know what to do anymore very tired

  8. This app didn’t work for me. I tried looking up my parents, who insisted I create an account because they knew I would enjoy this. So I did, and couldn’t find them. I tried looking them up by their user id’s even, and still nothing. We checked to make sure my settings matched theirs, and it did. So I deleted and reinstalled and tried again, still nothing. Not worth my frustration. Hope others don’t experience the same issues I did, because the concept seems good.
    But I’m not going to waste my day trying to figure out why it won’t work for me.

    1. Thank you Christian for your feedback.

      Living people are considered private in the Family Tree. When you create a FamilySearch account, you need to create records for any living people between yourself and the first deceased generation. Since your parents are living, their IDs are considered private and are not available to anyone other than themselves.

  9. I would love more how to’s on the app I feel there’s not enough information oh how to use the app. I use it daily although there’s a few things I don’t know how to do ie 1. Create a profile from an un indexed document. 2. Create Other person. There one major issue at the moment going on and I don’t know how to report bugs concerning the app. The Bug is when you sending a message you can only see one line so you can’t review the message before sent. Correcting any verbiage is means you have to back everything out and rewrite the message.

    1. Hi Roz! Thank you for your question. Please check out the RootsTech sessions that will be available beginning 25 February 2021. There are many sessions on how to use the functions of the FamilySearch app. Make sure to register for RootsTech so you will be notified when the website goes live next week.