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Getting Started with Family History

Here are the main things you need to know as you get started.

First, start filling in the blanks.

Just enter what you know about your parents and grandparents. We'll help you add details to your family story.

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What is Family Tree and how do I use it?

Family Tree is a social network that connects people with their ancestors. This free, community-based family history tool provides a single place for people to store information about their ancestors and collaborate with others working on the same family lines.

All the names, dates, photos, stories, and sources saved in Family Tree will be preserved, making them available for generations to come.

View my tree

What information is needed to submit a name?

Information needed for temple ordinances

  • The given name or the surname of your ancestor
  • The person's sex
  • Enough information to uniquely identify the person (such as dates, places, names, and relationships to other family members)

For a sealing to a spouse

  • The given name or surname of the spouse

For a sealing to parents

  • The given name of the parents

As you identify your ancestors, record as much information about them as you can. Details can lead you to additional discoveries.

For whom can I perform ordinances?

You may perform temple ordinances for deceased persons one year or more after their date of death.

Names to do temple work for

  • Immediate family members
  • Direct-line ancestors (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. and their families)
  • Biological, adoptive, and foster family lines connected to your family
  • Collateral family lines (uncles, aunts, cousins, and their families)
  • Your own descendants
  • Possible ancestors, meaning individuals who have a probable family relationship that cannot be verified because the records are inadequate, such as those who have the same last name and resided in the same small geographic area as your known ancestors

If a deceased person was born within the last 110 years, permission from the closest living relative must be obtained before the ordinances are performed. The closest living relatives are the spouse, children, parents, and siblings.

Do not submit names of persons who are not related to you, including names of famous people or names gathered from unapproved extraction projects (such as victims of the Jewish Holocaust).

Where can I find more information on my ancestor?

There are two main places to search for details about your family story:

Family Tree

Explore Family Tree to discover what has already been added about your ancestors. This includes names, dates, photos, stories, documents and any sources that have been added to verify information.

Family Tree also provides person-specific, automated searching in the form of Record Hints, found throughout Family Tree, and Research Help, found on an ancestor's person page.

Explore Family Tree


Search allows you to examine historical records for details about your ancestors. These resources include official church (for example: birth, marriage, death) and governmental (for example: census) records that can help fill in gaps in your family story.

Search Historical Records

Why is some information about my living ancestors missing?

To protect the privacy rights of living people, Family Tree limits the amount of information you can see about living ancestors.

Important Details

  • Your tree contains information from your Church membership records
  • Some living relatives to whom your Church membership is connected may have also been added
  • Changes made in Family Tree will not update any membership information
  • You can add information about living individuals to your Family Tree, but it will only be visible to you

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