The World’s Largest Shared Family Tree

February 15, 2019  - by 
Child on online family tree.

The free FamilySearch website is home to the world’s largest online family tree. Known as the FamilySearch Family Tree, this shared family tree is home to information about more than 1.2 billion ancestors, which has been contributed by millions of descendants.

What’s a “Shared Family Tree”?

FamilySearch’s unified family tree differs from the tree-building experience at most other websites. Instead of concentrating efforts on privately constructing their own individual trees, FamilySearch tree builders cooperate to build a single, shared tree that helps you and others discover more about ancestors and other family members.

One Profile for Every Deceased Person

The FamilySearch shared tree strives to have just one public profile for every deceased person who has ever lived. Descendants contribute what they know about a person to a single, shared profile, rather than scattering their knowledge across multiple profiles on several trees, some of which may have privacy barriers.

Note: On the FamilySearch Family Tree, personal account information and any details about living persons are kept private. Only deceased persons have public profiles.

An explanation of the familysearch online family tree.

Why Use the FamilySearch Shared Tree?

The FamilySearch Family Tree can help you more easily connect to your family and build your family history. Here are five ways it might help you.

  1. Discover New Information
    A shared family tree can help you discover new information about your ancestors and even find relatives you weren’t aware of. Each piece of information someone adds—a document, a photo, a memory, a burial location—may shed light on an ancestor’s identity or life experiences.
  2. Build Your Tree with Ease
    It can be tedious work to fill out each ancestor’s profile for your family tree on your own. When you connect to the FamilySearch shared tree, some of your ancestors may have an abundance of information already in their profile. Even if you are the first to add a specific ancestor to the shared tree, FamilySearch can show you possible records for that ancestor, and other family members can help you by filling in what they know.
  3. Get a More Complete Picture
    The overall result of a well-sourced shared tree can be much more complete and accurate than individual trees. Although information entered by users may at times differ from what you know about your ancestor, the FamilySearch Family Tree enables all descendants to share information that others might not know and add sources to confirm correct information.
  4. Connect with Other Descendants
    Working together on a global tree also helps descendants connect with each other. You may find a relative who has visited the same graves, asked the same questions about—and even learned to love or admire—the same ancestors.
  5. Work on Your Family History for Free
    When you sign in on a free FamilySearch account and connect yourself to the shared family tree, you’ll be able to see all your connected ancestors in a personal tree view. This online family tree lets you add life events to your ancestors’ profiles; look at a map of where they may have travelled; view and add photos, memories, and records; and much more.

A woman uses the familysearch online family tree.

To make discoveries using the FamilySearch Family Tree, sign in to or the Family Tree mobile app.

New to FamilySearch? Sign Up for a Free Account

See what the world’s largest shared tree can tell you about your family. Sign up on, or download the Family Tree app for iOS or Android.

Learn More about the Shared Tree

To learn how to find ancestors that may already be in the shared tree, connect to living family members using FamilySearch and more, explore the links below!

All about the FamilySearch Family Tree

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

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  1. I have been very fortunate to find more than 18 generations for some families — with the help of family members — but how do I place names when I can only find a 15-generation pedigree chart? Any help would be greatly appreciated! “O)

    1. Hi Marti! Thank you for your question. There are companies that partner with FamilySearch that specialize in printing charts. One that you can reach out to is Family ChartMasters and see if they have a solution for you.

  2. So it was a rainy day outside so I turn youtube on and the the Family Tree ad popped up so I decided to go to it and I found out so much stuff about my family

  3. My cousin who I was extremely close to when we were younger called m on Easter . we had just had a death in our family she didn’t know. I was too depressed to talk coherently. She kept asking what was wrong why I was doing this to her. Since then I can’t find her. please help me
    I need to explain and apologize.
    I love her. please help.

  4. I have been trying to find out my grandfather’s father. My grandfather is Elder B. Emberton, Sr. Born in Tennesse in 1900. He married Amanda Harris-January 1, 1891. Brother is Bevlie Emberton born in 1898. Can you help find Elder, Sr. And Bevlie’s father?

    1. Hi Demetria! Thank you for your research question. Please check out the FREE Virtual Research Strategy Sessions where you can schedule time with a specialist to help you on any family history question you may have. You can also connect with other FamilySearch users who may be able to help you, by joining the FamilySearch Community. Good luck and thank you for reading the blog!

  5. Estou amando fazer minha árvore aqui na Family Search.
    Meu avô não se lembra de muita coisa da família dele, porque perdeu os pais quando criança, mas através de poucas lembranças eu consegui redescobrir o seu passado! Ele ficou tão emocionado por saber a causa do falecimento dos pais, quais eram os nomes de seus avós, por ver a certidão de nascimento de todos os seus irmãos…
    Estou sem palavras para descrever o quanto fazer a árvore da minha família tem sido gratificante para todo mundo da minha família!

    Google Translate – Portuguese to English: I’m loving making my tree here on Family Search.
    My grandfather doesn’t remember much about his family, because he lost his parents as a child, but through few memories I was able to rediscover his past! He was so thrilled to know the cause of the death of his parents, what were the names of his grandparents, to see the birth certificate of all his brothers …
    I am at a loss for words to describe how rewarding my family tree has been for everyone in my family!