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 FamilySearch.org 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 FamilySearch.org, 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 sunnymorton.com.

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Comments

  1. Is it possible to show the link between my grandmother to her fiance killed in WW1 and who later married my grandfather.

    1. Hi John, The relationship options for couples are: Marriage, Annulment, Common Law Marriage, Divorce, and Lived Together. If any of these applied to your grandmother and the fiancé, you could add him in a relationship to your grandmother. If not, then a suggestion would be to create a Memory to document this relationship. If you have a photo of the two of them together, you could attach it to both people and then document in the memory the relationship between them. You can also write a story or attach a document that may show this relationship. Did she write about it in a journal? If so, perhaps you could attach a copy of that part of her journal to show this relationship. Then in Memories, you can tag both individuals to that Memory. I hope this helps you. Thank you for reading the blog!