Using the New FamilySearch Historical Records Search Form

November 23, 2011  - by 

Below is a summary of what the new historical records search form offers and how to use it. Most users will find this new form simpler to use, more intuitive to interact with and more powerful than the older forms

  • The new search form combines all the simplicity of the old basic form with all the power of the old advanced form and more. It puts it all in one place, rather than having to go to two pages.
  • It enables the power of multi-event and multi-relationship searching. For example, you can now search for a marriage record listing a marriage date & place and enter both the spouse and parents names. You can now find a specific census record by entering an estimated birth date and a residence place.
  • It makes visible all the search options you have as a user by eliminating drop down menus which hide your available search options. It no longer requires a mouse move and a click to discover what data you can search on.
  • This release includes many search algorithm enhancements which improves ranking of results, more accurate place searching, new place, name and data standardization, and improved exact and wildcard searching,
  • The search form requires much less user interaction to use. The new form uses no drop down menus. You just place your cursor in the first field when you open a data entry row, requiring only one mouse move and one click to begin entering data. In contrast, for most users, the old forms required a click to change to the advanced form, a mouse move to select the drop down, a click to select the data type, a mouse move and a final click to select the data entry field before they could begin typing.
  • The row and field that contain your cursor are highlighted to assist all with visual orientation and make it easier for those with diminished eyesight.
  • In date To/From fields, it ONLY auto-populates the “To” field if you fail to enter a “To” date before clicking elsewhere on the form. It auto-populates the “To” field to let you know it defaults to an exact search on the entered year rather than an open-ended search from the year entered to the present.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I too am very frustrated with the new system. I cant locate a specific name in a certain county and state without having to look through other state data that is irrelevant to my particular search. Also a date range as before is helpful. Please please please please please please please please please please go back to your previous system. Thanks.

  2. I am not happy with the new search form – it is not clear how to search in a certain area of the U.S. or in a certain group of records. The old way was much easier – until something is done to make this user friendly again, I just wont use it – will research elsewhere. Not a good change – I am not a beginner – cant imagine how much difficulty a beginner will have with this mess.

  3. I am not too happy with the new site either. I keep having to change my password and user name everytime I tried to log on. Hopefully after this last change, it will remain. I put in an ancestors name with a birth date in the late 1700s and where the person may have lived, and I get results with a birth date in the 1900s with places of residence all over the country. Not what I was looking for. Why cant these be filtered out and only information I am looking for comes up.
    Bonnie Dunn

  4. trying to find my father-in-laws nephewall i know about him is
    fathers name joseph anthony rubino lived in oroville ca. 25 years he also was born in ca. his fathers name salvatore rubino wifes name angela unk from italy.or -flavia scimeca-catherine ardagna-matias kungs-mattia giuseppa-
    joseph born in ca. 1902 died may 2 1993 1st wife maybe sadie santi( from new york) 2nd wife verde wixon(from ca died june 5 1990.
    myu father-in -law was nunzio rubino diednov 1970 dob 27 aug 1894 who lived in highland park n.j. also in new bruswick n.j.

  5. I am so relieved to read all of the above, I thought I was just being dull witted, now I know other are as frustrated as I am.

  6. trying to find information on my grandparents who left czech in 1914-1926.They came straight to australia ther name was stusak john and anna they had 4 children joseph annie frank ?.I no that there was some land left to my grandmother in america .but nan loved australia and her sisster went in her place

  7. thought i was the only one soooo frustrated with your new format. PLEASE go back to previous format. This is not easy, and by the way if you chose more than one life event IE birth and marriage and one or the other doesnt have info, then neither one will come up, but if you choose only one life event then you will get info. It is time consuming to have to keep going back to clic on each life event. Having a form that includes all makes it easier to tab from event to event. would be nice if you made changes with the users input. Thanks for listening, now will you bring back old format????

  8. Im glad I read these comments as now I know its not just me
    that is having trouble finding out information. It must have been very good before to have so many negative comments now. Maybe they made changes because it was easier for them but not for for searchers.

  9. please go back this makes it so much harder for me to search, I am disabled and can only sit at my computer for short amounts of time, 30 minutes to and hour (if I am having a good day), without going back to my bed. This new search take up to much time not able to reduce the area of the search down. The other way I could put in a county and state with the name and not have to search the whole state. I do not want to have to try to find a new site I love this one the way it was. please go back.

  10. I cant say that the new systemis as great as you think it is. Ijust spent 10 minutes trying to get into the IGI and Temple records with no success. Your new program wont acceptmy user name and paswordSeems like every time I come to the Library which is every 2 or 3 weeks I have to start learning where to find the icon I need and this new screen is th worst yet.

  11. I´m really very frustrated, because I can´t find anything anymore.
    I´ve been trying to find information for hours now.
    Avout 2 months ago finding things was very easy.