Help:Basic Searches

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Help-content.png This help article will guide you in using the Research Wiki.

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Anyone may search for articles in the FamilySearch Research Wiki. You only need to be registered to edit an article. This article will provide some helpful hints on efficiently searching the Wiki.

Further information: Search Tips and Advanced Searches

How Search Works

  • Keywords, Search the FamilySearch Wiki the same way you would search Wikipedia, by keywords like DAR or Daughters of the American Revolution.
  • Not Phrases, You will not receive the best results if your searches include phrases like "How do I find records for the DAR." Phrases can be used to search both Google and Yahoo but the Wiki search engine is not designed for this type of search.  
  • Enter the place, subject, record type or the name of the article in the search box. (Family names and information on specific families are not found on the FamilySearch Wiki. Go toFamilySearch to look for your deceased family members. Go to Forums to ask questions about your family history research.)

The FamilySearch Wiki search engine locates the keywords in Wiki article headings, titles, and in the content of the article.  The resulting articles may contain one or all of the keywords searched. Articles containing the keywords many times throughout the article will rank higher in the search results than those that contain the search terms once or twice.

Search Tips

Searching for a specific article in the FamilySearch Wiki is relatively simple if you know the exact title. If you don't know the exact title, search for words that appear in the title or body of the article.

If you don't know the title of a wiki article, search for a topic or category.
(a) At the bottom of every article there should be a category. Click the category name to see a list of all articles in that category.
(b) Search the list of articles in the category for similar or related articles.

Help-content.png Questions?
Visit the Wiki Contributor Help Forum to receive help with contributing to the Wiki.

Watch a video demonstration of how to search for articles.

Also see the separate article on Search Tips.

Step-by-step Search Instructions

Use the following steps to search for articles on localities or topics in the Wiki.

  1. Locate the "search box."
  2. Type the keywords, search terms, or the title of the article you want to find into the search box. You do not have to enter the exact title of the article. For example, you may type "United States census" or "New York City birth records."
  3. Click the Search button.
  4. After clicking the Search button, a list of search results will appear.
  5. Shown below, the number of results is displayed for the search.  To see more results than those shown on the first page, click on Next 20 or 20, 50, 100, 250 or 500.
    Search results.jpg
  6.     Locate the title of the article you want to read. Note that: Article titles will always be at the top of the page.
  7. Text that is inside articles and that may match your request will always be at the bottom of the page.

Click on the title of the article you want to read. If after clicking on the title, you determine that another article will better match your search criteria, click the back button on your Internet browser to return to the list of search results and select another article.


  • Results with keywords in the Article Titles will always be listed first.
  • Results with keywords in the body of the article will be listed next.