For FamilySearch users, navigating in FamilySearch Family Tree is essential to finding ancestors, interpreting their information, and adding records, data, and memories to their entries.
Note: You can view FamilySearch screens and The Family History Guide in side-by-side browser windows, instead of constantly switching between browser tabs. For instructions, click here. For help with an instruction, click a bold word in the step.
A welcome screen appears, showing personalized information about your family tree and helpful tools. To learn more about this screen, read this article.
Note: If your family tree is empty or nearly empty, skip ahead to Choice F to begin filling it out.
Note: Only one expanded line is shown at a time for the same generation. When you click an additional Expand button in the same generation, the other expanded line is automatically contracted.
Note: Generally, data for living people outside your immediate family cannot be viewed or searched for.
Once you locate ancestors in Family Tree, you can read a variety of important details about them.
Switching to a first-position view shows more generations for that ancestor in the view.
This helps you restore the first-person view back to you, or to any other recently viewed person.
This shows direct-line ancestors and their vital information.Summary
This shows vital information for the ancestor, spouse, and children.
This helps you see family members at a glance in Family Tree.
Note: When you are viewing children to the left of a first-position ancestor, a left arrow appears for any new generations that can be displayed.
The Family Members section of the Person page for an individual lists his or her spouses and children on the left side of the page, and the previous generation (parents and the individual's siblings) on the right side.
The Find and Person menus can greatly speed up searches for known ancestors in your tree, instead of scrolling through Family Tree views.
Note: This technique finds ancestors already in your Family Tree. Doing research for new ancestors to add to your family tree is explained in Project 4: Discover.
Note: Using the Find by Name tab is essential for Goal 7, which deals with adding ancestors.
Note: You should use exact matches only when you are reasonably sure that the data in all your search fields is correct. Otherwise, you will exclude records that should be included in the search.
The Portrait view shows photos for your ancestors. The Fan Chart view shows more ancestors on a screen, in a semi-circle view, which helps you identify missing ancestors quickly. The Descendancy view helps you do research on descendants of a given ancestor.
The Virtual Pedigree program expands the viewing width of your family tree as you scroll over it, so you don't have to stop at each branch and reset the view. The Virtual Pedigree program also supplies hints for missing information.
Making corrections helps you and others see the most complete and accurate information in Family Tree.
Note: Go back only a few generations from yourself at first, unless you already have extensive information in your possession to check against Family Tree. You can return to this goal when you have done research for ancestors (Project 4).
Note: Anyone who has signed up to "watch" changes for this ancestor will be notified when you click Save.
To add a spouse,
To update the marriage information for a couple,
These can include an unknown spouse in a couple's box, children assigned to the wrong parent, etc.
As you fill in the gaps in your family tree, you develop a sense of connection with your ancestors and your heritage. Note: If you don't have any ancestors to add at this time, skip to Goal 8 below.
Note: Be sure you are confident of that person's vital data (name, birth or death, marriage, etc.) before adding him or her to the tree.
If you do not know the new ancestor's ID, then:
If you have family tree information in other databases or websites, such as Ancestry or RootsMagic, you may be able to automatically copy that information into FamilySearch Family Tree without having to do manual data entry.
When you add sources to an ancestor's entry, you help others see the evidence for the dates or other information that exist there.
These are sources that you have come across in doing research.
FindaRecord.com helps you determine which of your ancestors have opportunities for sources, corrections, and other updates in your tree. This site pulls information from your FamilySearch tree and shows ancestors who need data updates.
Find-a-Record will scan your family tree and return Opportunities. The scan time depends on the size of your tree and the number of generations selected. If these are large, the scan may take 10 minutes or more.
Note: Opportunities for missing father, mother, and parents are discussed in Project 4: Discover, Goal 2, Choice D.Exercise
Adding notes and documentation to ancestor entries helps you a) Solidify your ancestor's information, b) Track issues and questions, and c) Communicate with other FamilySearch users about common issues.
Note: User discussions are usually posted to bring attention to record discrepancies, duplicate ancestors, or other problems with records.
Duplicate entries for ancestors have been added over time to Family Tree. To eliminate the duplicates, you can merge two similar entries for an ancestor, keeping the information in just one entry.
Note: Merging duplicate entries can be a complicated process. Additional and more detailed steps for merging duplicates are outlined in Chapter 9: Merging Duplicate Records in the Family Tree Reference Manual.
Using customized or expanded pedigree and fan charts helps you see more of your ancestry or use different approaches.
You may need to change various account settings from time to time, such as your password and preferences.
The FamilySearch App Gallery is a growing collection of family history software and sites that complement FamilySearch; some are additionally certified by FamilySearch.