More Names Now Available with Family Tree Hinting Updates

January 5, 2015  - by 

On Tuesday, December 23rd FamilySearch released a new update of the hinting data viewable on an ancestor’s detail page and in the descendancy view in the Family Tree. In this data update newly added or changed persons in the Family Tree have been hinted using all the newly available information. It also includes important new record sets, such as the Find-A-Grave collection, that have been recently published. Additionally, engineers and architects have made numerous advancements in the software algorithms which makes it possible for more than 14 million new hints to be identified. Users of the Family Tree may wish to visit their ancestor pages again and see if any new hints are displayed.

We are as excited as our users are about the accuracy and efficiency that these new tools provide, both to the task of doing research, as well as the quality of the information found in the Family Tree. In the days since this data release, users have set new daily highs in the number of sources they have attached to the Family Tree and the number of new persons added to the tree from historical records. With the vast number of daily additions to the Family Tree tied to historical documents, the Family Tree is becoming one of the largest and most accurate genealogical trees in the world.

These new tools enable many new people to become engaged in Family History work. We invite all who have used the new tools and hints to share their skills and love of this work with other friends and family members so that we can help accelerate this great work.

Public Preview Release

On June 17th, 2014, FamilySearch released a public preview of the record hinting feature. With this new feature, users can view the details page of any ancestor in the family tree and see suggested records that have a high confidence of being applicable to that specific ancestor. These hints are identified by comparing the ancestor’s vital information, relatives and the relative’s vital information against all the historical records published on FamilySearch database.

During the public preview phase, significant enhancements will continue to be made to the quality and capability of the hinting software. An update system is also being built to provide new hints more quickly. The hints data will continue to be updated as new records become available (more or less on a monthly basis). That means that as new people are added to the tree, they may not show record hints until the next data update. When the update system is complete, new hints will be generated anytime a tree person is added or significantly changed.

Hints that Mention your Ancestor

Genealogical researchers recognize that the first step in understanding an ancestor is to gather as many records about their life as possible. Many of the records that position the ancestor in a place, time and relationships may not be about the ancestor, but about their family members. For example, an ancestor may be listed as the mother on her daughter’s birth certificate. FamilySearch record hints include records that mention your ancestors, in addition to those that are about you ancestor. When a user attaches a record to their tree, they are affirming to Family Tree that the person in the record is the same as the person they are attaching the record to in the tree. The updated hinting data will make it easier for researchers to use valid sources to document the conclusions they make.


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  1. Last week in my Sunday School class I was teaching them Record Hints and attaching sources. I was asked why do it when the work was already done? I explained that we needed to be sure we were accurate and that we might find someone we had missed. I picked one random family of my great grandfather’s siblings to demo. His sister had a child who died young. I linked his findagrave record and clicked the link to findagrave to show them what was like. It showed another person on his headstone with him. It was another deceased child that was not in Family Tree. I didn’t know they lost two children young. I search the cemetery for that name and clicked that girl’s findagrave and it had an image of the death certificate included, proving the parents. It was a missing child. They were all so touched by this that several of them added sources during the week and two of them found missing family members and were excited to tell me about it this week.

  2. Thankyou. This has been most helpful to me already and I hope all may benefit from it. These amazing new technologies are the best. I have indexed for years and love it as well but this is the first time I have received a hint from that source so I too am blessed now by the works of our faithful indexers. Thank you everyone.

  3. I find the record hints section to be a valuable tool to use. I found my parents’ headstone from billiongraves in the record hints section a few months ago; I didn’t even know that anyone had photographed their headstone for billiongraves and that someone else had transcribed their information until I saw it listed in the record hints section. I was able to attach it to them.

  4. We wish Record Hints could indicate if a record was for an individual or his/her children. My husband and I don’t want records for children cluttering up the parents’ sources. We understand that others want to do this, so could a system to mark records be devised?

    1. I LOVE THE RECORD HINTS FEATURE. I’ve been using the descendancy view to attach sources. I go to an ancestor that was born before 1830, select them, view their tree & go to the descendancy view, expanding family members as I go.

      I’ve noticed a couple things as I’ve done this. If someone already attached a FindAGrave or billiongraves source using the old way of going to the website & copy/pasting the page link in & getting the world symbol on the sources page the record hints doesn’t pick that up & when I go into the person page after linking a FindAGrave record hint there is now a duplicate source.

      The other thing I’ve noticed is that there are 3-4 record hints of a couples marriage that have the same info for the same people. Me personally, I’ve just been attaching one of them, especially if the record has an image of the document.

  5. I tried doing a family tree years ago, but didn’t really get into it. I finally sat down and started again, and being that both my parents, grandparents, great-grandmother and other family members I didn’t really know are deceased..I thought this was going to be hard. But with the information I did know, I was actually able to find out more and was able to trace back all the way to my Great-Great Grandfather. I have found so much valuable information, it’s overwhelming. @Janet Nazer and @Justin York..thank you for giving me another place to look.

  6. Looking for information on my six great grandfather his father and so on. I am pretty sure the booth name came from England.

    1. Here’s a great explanation of where you can find record hints from this blog post: Give Your Research a Boost with Record Hints

      “There are two places where Record Hints appear on
      Descendancy View:
      We’ve added a Records Hints icon to descendancy view. If we found one or more record matches for an ancestor you will see a yellow icon. Click on the yellow icon and a fly out box will show you the records we found that ancestor in.
      Personal Details Page:
      The second place you can find hints is on a person’s details page. If a likely record match exists for your ancestor, it will show up in the Record Hints box that appears at the top right of the page (above the “Research Help” box).”

  7. This news release, and the Hints feature of FS Family Tree, are extraordinary. We have personally been adding dozens of sources to our own family trees, and have taken to opening the Descendency view, 4 generations to quickly show up multiple hints waiting for review and attachment on a line.
    While the primary purpose of family history is to turn hearts, it is also natural and gratifying to know that the Church is sponsoring “one of the largest and most accurate genealogical trees in the world.”

  8. Family Tree is only accurate if contributors enter accurate and well-researched information. Just attaching anything compromises the integrity of the “world tree’.