How do I search all historical records collections at once?

We have a wide variety of historical records that have been digitized, indexed, and published online. You can search these records to learn more about your family. 

Before you start

  • Have a goal. Know what you want to find. 
  • Search for deceased people who were alive in 1940 or earlier
  • Start with a broad search 
  • Expect records and indexes to contain errors, spelling variations, and estimations.
  • Try your search several times with variations:
    • Increase or decrease the date range.
    • Use the advanced search options and add or remove information. For example, if you searched with a birth city and county, try just searching with the county.
    • Search for a family member instead
    • Search for women using their maiden and married names. You can also search with just the woman's first name and the names of her spouse or parents.
    • Estimate dates and places
    • Add a second spouse, father, mother, or other person to your search criteria. To do so, click the link for Spouse, Father, Mother, or Other Person. Doing so opens up an additional search field.
  • Always look at the image. Record images often have more information than the index contains.

Steps (website)

  1. Sign in to FamilySearch 
  2. At the top of the page, click Search
  3. Click Records.
  4. Enter your search terms, and click Search
  5. On the right, you can use the Advanced Search fields to further refine the search results.
  6. Click a search result that interests you. A panel opens to the right.
  7. You can move to other search results from the Record Information panel on the right. Click the < and > beside the record's name and move to the next or previous search result.

Steps (mobile app)

  1. Open the Family Tree mobile app. Make sure that you are signed in. 
  2. Tap Search Historical Records
    • Apple iOS: Tap the 3 menu dots at the bottom of the screen. In the menu that appears, tap Search Historical Records
    • Android: Tap the 3 menu bars at the top of the screen. In the menu that appears, tap Search Historical Records
  3. Enter your search terms, and tap Search
  4. Use the Advanced search fields to further refine your search results. To reset the results, tap Search.
  5. Tap the search result that interests you.

Steps (Family Tree Lite)

You cannot search and attach historical records through Family Tree Lite. Please use the regular FamilySearch website or mobile app.

Search tips for Historical Records
How do I search historical records by place or by using the world map?
How do I find and search a specific collection in historical records?
How do I view a list of all record collections in Historical Records?
How do I find an image in an unindexed collection in Historical Records?
Getting the Most from Your Search: Understanding the Search Records Page

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