The World’s Largest Shared Family Tree

February 15, 2019  - by 

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 could use the expertise of Ms Morton to guide me in my search for my brick wall finding my great great grandfather who was born in France and lived in Mexico in the 1800s but with the different wars going on at the time it is very hard locate any information. I also need to include the he was a jew when in Mexico at the time anybody that was not Catholic was admitted into colonial Mexico. I would love to hear your presentations through the computer if the service is available since I have a lot to learn from you. Thank you

  2. If my grandmother used a different name when she married my grandpa and never would give us her real name but we know who she lived with from the age of 3 Margret Rowan, Butterfield, Missouri. and the 1890 census is burned how can I found out here real name. Grandma said her mother’s name was Sarah and grandma was born in Arkansas in 1878. My Mom and I have searched for years to get this info.

  3. the lds famiy history centre in durazno uruguay do not ahve the programe to see civl registration information in the centre waht is the name of the grograme they need to see this information in the durazno uruguay centre , the mailof the durazno family history centre is

  4. Lookin for my blood grandfather and his father and grandfather if possible. We were forbidden to ask about him when I was a young man so I would like to know who I decided from.

  5. The shared tree shows an adoption father as a biological father, which I have attempted to correct, but the descendants of the adoption father go way back which means I’d be “overwriting” way too many ancestors (I’d basically be trashing other’s ancestor entries). Is there an easier way? Arthur Joseph Flowers adopted Melvina Drown Olsen; biological father was Melvin Ernest Drown (story passed down from Melvina (my grandmother) to my dad, who told me.

    1. James Hansen, you can leave the adoptive father in place, but just edit his relationship type as an adoptive father. Then go ahead and add the biological father, and edit THAT relationship. You do this on the child’s Person Page, where you see him/her listed under the parents’ names (scroll down). Click on the pencil icon to the right of the child. Where you see the parents’ names, click to edit the parent-child relationship (the default relationship is biological). Add whatever details and reason statement are needed to explain the change. If you have any documentation, be sure to attach it to the relevant Person pages.

    1. If you want to be able to see the same common ancestors and share information on them, there is actually a way to do it with your own personal accounts. Click here to read more about it!

      1. I love to share & compare notes in my tree with other to date known & unknown family. In addition fill in the blanks in our WBarrieH family tree. The McQuilkan family Wilkie arrived in York Ont.area c1827 from Argyllshire Scotland. The Wilson family including parents Andrew & Sarah were enumerated in 1861 Canada Census covering Winchester Ont.

  6. Can’t find parents of my ggggrand father George Wedge who is as born in Ontario Canada in 1820. Working on this since 1984.

  7. Looking for the connection between the COLES Family of Devon & Somerset to our USA family .Have done my y DNA & find a Genetic connection of 0 to some families. (6 Cole families & 1 to a Whittington & 1Dunivan family )Have emailed all the Cole but have not received any replies

  8. I wanted to look for my father he’s from los angeles california hope this searching idea will work.

  9. Looking for any information on my grandmother born 1896 her name Catherine David (known as Cassie) born Llanilid Bridgend Glamorgan. my mother born 1916 unknown father – my mother’s name Phyllis David sometimes called Kitty. She was born Henefail St Mary Hill Bridgend Glamorgan. I would like to know if my grandmother got married after my mother was born and any other information would be very much welcome.

  10. At this time, I just want to trace my family back as far as possible. I just want names, titles (if any) DOB and death dates. I don’t care about photos or individual’s stories.