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”.

    1. Agreed. There needs to be a better “go back” or “unmerge” function. including a reason the info isn’t correct. Some people are too quick to attach or merge and more experienced researchers are the ones that pay the price to clean up.

    2. Sharon, Record Hints are the same as Research Help on the actual person page except you do not have to search for the individual people to know a possible helpful hint was posted on their page. What’s the difference??? I ran into a situation where two different families had the same names including spelling, lived in the same areas, married people with same names. The difference was one family was who and the other was black. In talking one of the researchers working on the family names the person indicted he failed to verify races when adding records and making changes. Once he discovered his mistake he had issues in connecting his family people and removing people that were not related. His error had also unlinked people in another family name that neither of us could reattach. To resolve this problem, I fixed the race issue between all family names that we were working on. I email the researcher for the family where records were removed in error to alert him/her of this issue. The hints and data comes from the church because Family Search is run/operated by the Morman Church. However, the research is responsible for making sure the information added to their ancestors is accurate or correct. What would you say if the hint came from Ancestry or Find My Past – all sites have the same information. I can basically find some of the same records on GenealogyBank, this is my responsibility to verify what I find, not the provider of the data.

  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!

    2. Sometimes records were microfilmed multiple times – i.e. in both a county court house and a state archives. there was no way a technician to sift out who had already been filmed. sometimes it’s a groom list vs. a bride list for marriage so it generates two records. sometimes a film was redone. sometimes a marriage record is an application vs. the certificate or marriage return. sometimes a record lists the parents and sometimes not. for that reason each record should be reviewed and attached. for me I simply mark it as copy 1, copy 2, copy 3, etc.

    1. I agree, I’d like to know too. I have been battling date and information changes for eons. It is courteous to send a message to connect with those who began or are involved with same the research. It would be nice to have “ancestral research teams” made up of those working same ancestral lines to coordinate information. I would really like that.

      1. Elizabeth, having ancestral research teams would be great. I do not believe there is anything in Family Search to stop interested people with ancestral name crossing various family lines from working together. I found my maternal great-grandparents family tree with some of their children, grands, etc., already attached. I emailed the researcher. We connected after 2 years, however she did not have any further family history. I have expanded the information already existing, including linking children she had entered as separate families. I have also located living relations as a result. As my families historian I am searching numerous surnames. One of my cousins was excited to learn his grandparents, great-grandparents already have record identification numbers as these people are also my aunt/uncle and grandparents. My father and his grandfather are brothers. In talking to research staff at the Morman Church they encourage research individuals getting together and helping each other complete family record identification. I suggest looking at the names of research individuals who has attached resource data to your ancestors. If they have contact information try emailing them. Look under “Latest Changes” click on ‘SHOW ALL’ to see who is also making updates to your ancestors.

    2. I have been trying to get information on my grandfather Pascual Azpeitia Echeverria, legitimist soldier, Tercera Guerra Carlista, who was sent to Cuba to fight agains the Mambises, that where trying to get Cuba’s independency from Spain. The records of those soldiers have not been digitalize, they are keep in a box no: 4710, Archivo General Militar de Madrid. Also, The Archiivo General Militar de Segovia, may have information on this matter. Please, I need your help. If you need more information do not hesitate to ask me. Thank you, Deisy Fuentes Azpeitia

    3. Don, I do not know exactly how the WATCH Feature works however you can turn this on for any person you want to be notified when changes are made, This will not stop updates though. I have on occasion added notes to close and distant family members that describe why updates or changes have or have not been made, indicate multiple family members in different generations with the same names. Recently I made updates to family names I was not too familiar with but the families were related via marriages. Duplicate records were not merged as one or more other researchers felt the people were not the same. When I merged the records Family Search asked if I was sure due to a previous decline. On every record I merged i added notes explaining why the merges were made plus no previous family relations or data were sacrificed. I sent emails to the two researchers explaining why I merged duplicate records and the relationship my family had to play in their family history. I received a response from one of the researchers thanking me for my assistance. This was the second time I have sent emails to fellow researchers to determine how or why changes or links were made. So far my to actions have been productive for me – 1) adding notes or discussions to people, 2) contacting fellow researcher on prospective problem addition or removal of data sources. Hope this helps with people making changes to your family records.

  3. Sometimes you come up with incorrect information about a family, mostly because the name could be the same or other information could be the same. Most of the time I have to go back in and change it.

  4. Question! – Why do I have to Open this Page first? Why isn’t it on Opening Page? I see no reason to Jump back & forth?

  5. I have not used family search because “My Heritage” is easier and makes recommendations I don’t know how to bring those names into “Family Search”. M.H. creates all these different trees so at some point we are going to have to merge all those trees. Right now a lot of folks are not getting there work done.

  6. Thank you very much for providing this free service to those of us interested in genealogy. I use your service all the time as I research my family as well as those associated with mine. I am not a professional. I just enjoy history and the roles my ancestors might have played in it. Please continue doing what you do so well. Thanks again.

  7. One of the record hints was a military record of my great uncle. I know it is him but the extractor misread the information and names are misspelled