FamilySearch Updates from 2021

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FamilySearch is always working on updates and improvements to our online experience, in order to help people all around the world find and connect to their families, past and present. This article shows FamilySearch experience changes that were made in 2021. To see more recent updates, visit FamilySearch Updates Enhance Your Experience.

Table of Contents

Update November 9, 2021—New Family Groups Feature

The new family groups feature makes it easy to send FamilySearch messages to a selected group of your living relatives on FamilySearch. Let’s take a look at this new feature and how you can use it to enhance your family history research and collaborate with your relatives. Learn more.

Update November 8, 2021—Source Box Enhancements

The FamilySearch source box is a feature you can use to store historical records and other sources that you find while doing family history and genealogical research.

New Features

  1. You can search the source box using words in the source titles. 
  2. You can filter the source box by source type or date range. 
  3. You can attach a source to a person’s profile in Family Tree directly from the source box. You no longer have to go first to that profile in Family Tree. 
Three new features in the Source Box update.

No More Paging

If you have more than one screen of sources, you previously had to scroll to the bottom of the list to page through them. Now, as you scroll down, more sources load automatically.

More Changes

In addition to the new features, you may notice font and color changes. The options to rename or remove folders are still accessible, but now you click the three vertical dots to access these features.

Click on the three vertical dots to access new features in Source Box.

You can check out this new update to the FamilySearch source box by clicking your profile in the top right corner of the screen and choosing Source Box in the drop-down menu. You can also access the source box by clicking the button below!

Update October 6, 2021—New Discovery Search Experience

If you find yourself struggling to know how to find your ancestors, FamilySearch has a new search experience that can help you find your ancestors in a quick and easy way without having to sign in. The FamilySearch Discovery Search experience provides a way to quickly search select databases on FamilySearch—the tree, records, memories, and last name information—all at the same time. This is a great way to get started with your family history and connect with your ancestors quickly!

Update April 30, 2021—Updated FamilySearch Messaging System

FamilySearch’s messaging system has been updated. Here’s the latest changes.

New Look

We’ve redesigned the interface to make the Messages features easier to find and use. The new design also allows for future improvements. 

Auto-Fill Contact Names

In the To field, type the first few letters of another user’s contact name, and the rest of the name will fill automatically, with some options to choose from if more than one name begins in a similar way. Contact names are determined by the individual and are thepublic name linked to a user’s FamilySearch contributions. Contact names can be viewed or changed in Settings. 

Control the Conversation

The following messaging tools are easier to find and will help you better manage your conversations. 

  • Delete—Remove old conversations. To delete entire conversations, choose Select, check the box next to the message you want to delete, and then select the trash can icon
  • Mute—Stop receiving messages from another user. To find this option, select the person’s name next to the message. 
  • Report Abuse—Alert us if another user breaks the FamilySearch Code of Conduct. To find this option, select the person’s name next to the message. 
  • Send Message—You can choose to send a message by pressing either Return or Shift+Return. Choosing Shift+Return allows you to control line returns in longer messages. To access this setting, select Change near the send button. 

If you use a bookmark for Messages, note that this updated version uses a new URL. Check out the new FamilySearch Messages feature today!

Update March 26, 2021—See Who Else Is Following the People You Follow in the Tree

In the family tree, you can follow the profiles of deceased individuals and add labels to the profiles, sort them, and get updates about changes made to them. A recent update now lets you view a list of FamilySearch users who follow the same profiles that you follow in the tree.

These other followers are often relatives or people who have been researching about the same people or profiles you follow. They may have insight or information to share. Using FamilySearch messages, you can start up a conversation and connect with these living individuals on Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Navigate to your following list by clicking the Family Tree tab and selecting Following in the drop-down menu. (If you haven’t followed anyone in the tree yet, here’s how you can get started.)
  2. To see who is following the same profiles you are following, click the three dots beside the name of a person you are following and select the People Following option in the drop-down menu.
add label william bradford

3. Connect with others who are following the same people by sending them a message. In the People Following list, click a user’s name, and then select Send a Message in the pop-up option.

send a message to following

Update March 15, 2021—FamilySearch Community Receives New Look and Improvements

The FamilySearch Community is an online resource that helps people interested in family history connect with each other worldwide. Recently, the community has been updated with a new look and additional functionality. These changes include a more visible site navigation (now on the left sidebar of the page) and a more prominent search bar, making it easier to find what you need in the community. You can also explore some of the new and improved community sections like the Events page and Community Hub. Learn more about changes to the FamilySearch Community.

new community on familysearch

Update March 2, 2021—New Getting Started Page

The new Getting Started page provides a variety of simple family history activities and FamilySearch resources that both beginners and genealogy veterans can appreciate. These pages also show how family history is any activity that connects us to our family stories.

You can find the Getting Started page by going to the FamilySearch homepage, clicking the question mark icon in the top right corner of the page, and selecting Getting Started in the drop-down menu. You can also visit the new page by clicking the button below!

Update January 11, 2021—Updated Ancestor Discovery Pages

You can now find some of the best experiences FamilySearch has to offer all gathered in one place—ancestor discovery pages. With FamilySearch’s updated ancestor discovery pages, you can do everything from viewing photos and timelines of your ancestors’ lives to exploring their heritage with fun interactive online activities. Learn more about the update and how to find your ancestor's discovery page.

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