Record Hints: A Quick Way to Add to Your Family History

June 14, 2019  - by 

Whether you’re just getting started with family history or you’ve been doing it for years, the Record Hints feature on the FamilySearch Family Tree offers a quick way to add to your family history. Hints often lead to new information that will help you identify, document, and get to know your ancestors.

What Are Record Hints?

The FamilySearch system constantly searches digitized, indexed records to identify records that may match records in the FamilySearch Family Tree. When a possible match is found, FamilySearch creates a record hint.

Record hints that match your family can provide new, important information about your ancestors, including the following:

  • Additional relationships
  • Additional events and facts
  • More correct dates
  • Name variations
  • More complete place-names

Where Can I Find Record Hints?

You will know that there is a record hint when you see a small blue box or icon to the right of a person’s name in the Family Tree.

You can also find record hints in the Recommended Tasks section of the landing page when you sign in to FamilySearch.org or on the Family Tree mobile app when you click the checkmark at the bottom of the screen, which opens the Ancestors with Tasks page.

A screenshot of the FamilySearch home page.

How Do I Use the Record Hints?

Record hints are easy to use. Just follow three simple steps:

1. Click or tap the blue icon to open a dialogue box. This box displays links to one or more indexed records that FamilySearch thinks may be associated with the person in the Family Tree.

A screenshot of record hints on the family tree.

2. Review the details and compare them to what you already know about your ancestor. You might ask these kinds of questions:

  • Is this person the same person as your family member?
  • Are the ages or dates correct or more correct?
  • Does the record show the right family relationships?
  • Are place-names what you would expect?

3. If the new source refers to your ancestor, you attach the record to the person page. The record source becomes a citation on the person page for the individual in the tree. If the record refers to multiple family members, you can attach the record to the other family members as well.

Important to Remember

  • Not every record hint is a match. Before you attach a record and change information, it is up to you to look carefully at the record and consider what you already know about your family.
  • Though record hints can jump-start your research, they aren’t the only resource for everything you need to know about everyone in your family tree. If a person in the tree lacks a record hint, you have other ways to find information in record sources.  

Have a few minutes right now? Head over to FamilySearch.org, and locate a blue record hint. Even a few short minutes using these hints could yield important results.

For additional resources on this and many other topics, please visit the online Help Center.

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Comments

  1. I think the fine print about record hints should actually be big, bold, italicized, underlined hints. You’ll understand if you ever hard to unmerge (actually the person was deleted – even more of a nightmare) a person living in Michigan with one living in South Carolina because they had the same name, born in the same year, and in the same place when someone thought the hint was true because “it came from the church”.

  2. I appreciate record hints, but why do I continue to get record hints for the same records which I have already attached to the individual?

    1. Lynn, oftentimes records can be attached to more than one ancestor. If you attach a record to one ancestor and there are other ancestors on the list, FamilySearch will often invite you to connect the record to other ancestors also on that record. Census records, birth records, and marriage records are good examples of this. I hope this helps!