At FamilySearch, we want learning about your ancestors to be a joyful, happy experience. We also want it to be fun. We do our best to make our tools easy to use. Still, it’s not uncommon to have questions. Sooner or later, every family historian has them—and odds are, so will you! When the time comes, we want finding answers to be easy as well.
To that end, we’ve created the FamilySearch Help Center, a single web page presenting all the different help options available to you when you visit our website.
A Portal to Multiple Solutions
The purpose of the FamilySearch Help Center is to connect you as quickly as possible with our many free-of-charge help options, including how-to articles, online classes, tutorials, discussion boards, and even one-on-one consultations. Depending on your question, one option may be more effective than another at getting you the help you need.
The Help Center is easily accessible, no matter where you are on the FamilySearch website. Look for the help icon in the top right corner of the screen, the circle with the question mark inside. Click the icon, and then click the link to the Help Center.
Once in the Help Center, you have seven help options to choose from—seven ways of searching for help or asking for help. Let’s go through each one in detail and see how they are different.
The first option is a simplesearch box located at the top of the page. Enter your question or keywords, and press Enter (or Return if you’re on a Mac). If you’re searching for a specific phrase, be sure to place it in quotation marks. Your search results will include how-to articles, lessons, and links to online classes. This search box is a quick and easy way to see a collection of help for a particular topic or area of the website.
Below the search box, you’ll see frequently asked questions. The answers to these questions can be helpful to browse if you’re stuck and don’t know how to proceed. It helps to see what other people have asked, and the solutions we have recommended.
Maybe you’re just trying to learn how something works. You don’t have a specific question necessarily; you just want background information. In that case, try Search by Topics, the next help option down. Each topic connects you to some of our most popular articles on that subject.
As you can see, these first three help options are best suited to individuals who want to explore answers on their own. It’s a bit like surfing the internet—but in this case, you’re surfing FamilySearch.org.
The next three help options are more guided—more hands-on, if you will. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like reading instructions, try one of these! You will find them in the gray carousel approximately halfway down the screen. A final option near the bottom connects you to FamilySearch’s many social media accounts. Once again, let’s take a closer look.
Click Find In-person Help when you want to talk to someone, either online or at your nearest family history center. The goal is to help you take the next step in your family history journey! Follow the links to schedule a free consultation. These 20-minute sessions are currently being offered in Spanish and English, with additional languages coming soon. In addition to the sign up for a free consultation, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will also see contact information for family history helpers from their local congregations.
The Getting Started section, by contrast, is perfect for people who are new to FamilySearch. It takes you to a landing page with fun activities and beginner-level tutorials. If you’re an experienced family historian, it’s a great resource to be aware of and to share with friends or family members who are just starting their own family history journey.
The third option in the carousel is the Community section—a discussion board for beginners and experts to post questions, share strategies, and correspond with other FamilySearch users. We think all our help options are important—but we’re particularly excited about this one. One great thing about the FamilySearch community is that it is available 24 hours a day. When you post questions to the discussion board, thousands of family historians from around the world can respond. Instead of getting one good answer to your question, you might receive multiple answers.
Finally, at the bottom of the page, you see a section titled “Social Media,” where you can access FamilySearch’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter feeds. We send out tips and strategies and other announcements on a regular basis, and we are excited to connect with you! Don’t forget to like us. It does wonders for our self-esteem.
Remember the Help Center
Thanks for taking a few moments to learn about the Help Center. Preserving your family’s history is without a doubt a rewarding endeavor, but it is not always a simple one. Next time you have a question, remember the Help Center. We’re confident that one of our resources will be just what you need to help you push through to the beautiful land of discovery. Until then, keep up the good search!