How do I understand my search results in historical records?

Your search results in historical records can be a valuable resource. Use the following tips to get the most out of them.

Change your search terms

If you do not find the information you expected, change your search terms in the fields at the top of the page. To use the advanced search options, click More Options.

  • Increase or decrease the date range.
  • Add or remove information. For example, if you searched with a birth city and county, try searching only with the county.
  • Search for a family member instead.
  • Search for women using their maiden names and again with their married names. You can also search with just the first name of a woman and the name of her spouse or parents.
  • Estimate dates and places.

Filter your search results

Apply filters to focus the search results to a specific type of information. The filters are above the search results.

Understand the search results

The search results are displayed in a table. Records that match your search are closer to the top.

Click a row. Record details appear in a panel on the right. Click < and > to quickly scan through your search results.


Historical Records Attached to Family Tree icon
The historical record is attached to a person in Family Tree. Click it to see who.
Historical Records Image on FamilySearch icon
A digital image is available on FamilySearch. Click it to see it.
Historical Images on partner site icon
A digital image is available on a partner site. Some partner websites require a subscription to see the images.
Historical Records View Record Details icon
Click the icon. Indexed record details appear.
Record Search Tree Matches icon
This person may also have a record in Family Tree. Click the icon to attach this historical record to the person as a source.

    Change the number of results per page

    At the bottom of the search results, you can choose how many search results to display per page: 10, 20, 50, or 100.

    To move to the next page of results, click < or >.

    Printing search results

    To print the current page of search results, use your browser's print function. You could also highlight some or all of the results with your mouse, and then copy and paste them into a word-processing program. 

    Search tips for Historical Records
    In Historical Records, the search results don't match my search
    How do I filter the search results in historical records?
    How do I change how search results in historical records are formatted?
    How do I export search results from Historical Records for use in a spreadsheet?
    Getting the Most from Your Search: Understanding the Search Records Page

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