Project 1 Goals:  1: Navigate   2: View Details   3: Children, Spouses   4: Find, Go To   5: Alternate Views   6: Change Info   7: Add Ancestors   8: Add Sources   9: Find-a-Record   10: Notes   11: Merging   12: Custom Charts   13: Account   14: App Gallery      QUIZ SEARCH

Project 1: Family Tree

Navigate your family tree, add ancestors, and update ancestor information in FamilySearch.

  Tracker:   Online  or  Word    |  Translated Videos

Goal 1: Navigate Family Tree. Vault

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.


ASign in to FamilySearch and move around the Family Tree screen.


Note : If you do not have a free FamilySearch Account, read this article for instructions.
(For a translation, click one of these links:   DE (German)   FR (French)   IT (Italian)   PT (Portuguese)   JA Japanese)

  1. Go to and near the upper-right corner of the window, click Sign In. (If Sign In is not visible, enlarge your browser window.)
  2. Type your username and password, and click Sign In. If you have forgotten your username or password, click the link for username or password for help. For help with recovering an LDS account or password, read this article.
    FS—Retrieve a Forgotten Name or Retrieve a Password   |   PT  
  3. A welcome screen appears, showing personalized information about your family tree and helpful tools. To learn more about this screen, read this article.

  4. To display your family tree, in the top menu click Family Tree. You will see "couple's boxes" (husbands and wives) with your ancestors' information. The Landscape view is the default.
  5. Click and drag the mouse pointer anywhere on the Family Tree screen to move your family tree around.

Note: If your family tree is empty or nearly empty, skip ahead to Choice F to begin filling it out.


Instructor Tips

B Change the zoom level on the screen and center the home person.

  1. To enlarge the view, click the plus icon.
  2. To shrink the view, click the minus icon.
  3. To move the home person back to the left-center of the window, click the target icon.

C Expand and contract family lines to see more or fewer ancestors.

  1. To view previous generations in the pedigree, click an Expand button (arrow pointing to the right).
  2. To contract and return to the previous view, click a Contract button (arrow pointing to the left).
  3. 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.

  4. Notice the ancestor surnames and marriage information as you go.
  5. Practice navigating around your tree, opening and closing branches until you feel comfortable exploring your family lines.

D Customize your pedigree view, and review tree navigation skills.

  1. If you want to show less information (and you want to have room for more couples on the screen), at the right edge of the screen click Options. Then clear the checkboxes for Portraits and Marriages. You can also clear checkboxes for Request Ordinances (if enabled in Settings), Record Hints, Research Suggestions, and Data Problems.
  2. 2017-09-29
  3. To change the color scheme of the couple's boxes from black-on-white to white-in-black, click Options and select Dark Background. To return to the original colors, click Invert Colors again.
  4. For a video review of navigation techniques, watch the FS Landscape Navigation video. It also covers concepts in Goal 2 below.
    FS—Family Tree: How To Navigate the Family Tree Tool Overview—3:21
  5. For a review of Landscape elements, read these articles.
    RIV—FamilySearch Family Tree

    FS—Using the Landscape Pedigree View
      |   DE   ES   FR   PT  
  6. For more help on navigating Family Tree and other topics, click Get Help (upper-right corner) or the Tips icon (lower-right corner; select "Navigate Your Family Tree"). To learn more, read these articles.
    FS—Using the Help Center   |   DE   ES   FR   PT
    FS—Tree Tips   |   DE   ES   PT

Instructor Tips

E Understand the privacy rules for FamilySearch that determine how information for living persons is handled.


Note: Generally, data for living people outside your immediate family cannot be viewed or searched for.

  1. Read this document to learn about the FamilySearch privacy policy and how it affects what you can see in your tree.
    FS—Who Can See My Living Relatives  
    |   DE   ES   FR   PT   JA   KO  

F (Optional) If your family tree is empty or very small, begin to fill it out.

  1. Watch this video to learn how to link living individuals to deceased ancestors.
    FS—When Your Family Tree is Empty—3:08
  2. Read this article about starting with a blank family tree. It also explains how to use Quick Start if your tree contains fewer than 4 generations.
    FS—Starting with a Blank Family Tree
      |   DE   ES   FR   IT   PT   JA  
  3. Go to the FamilySearch First Run page to get help adding ancestors, starting with your parents. Click Next until you finish the First Run process. You can also click to get help with experts.
  4. Return to Choice A above to work on navigation skills.

Goal 2: View details about direct-line ancestors.

Once you locate ancestors in Family Tree, you can read a variety of important details about them.


A Open a Summary card for a person other than yourself.

  1. Click a person's name on the screen.
  2. To learn more about your ancestor, read each of the information items in the Summary card that appears.
  3. For help with Summary card information, read the first page of the document.
    FS—Quick Start Guide (p.1)

B Open the Person page for an ancestor (or yourself).

  1. At the bottom of the Summary card, click Person.
  2. On the Person page that appears, study each information category (Life Sketch, Vital Information, Other Information, etc.) to learn what types of information are included. You can use the links in the Details tab to quickly access the categories.
  3. For more information on Person Page details, read page 4 of the article.
    FS—Quick Start Guide (p.4)
  4. To see how you are related to this person, near the top of the Person page click View My Relationship. A line diagram appears, linking you to this ancestor.
  5. To see your own Person page (the page for the account holder), in the menu under the FamilySearch logo click Person .
  6. 2018-02-18

Instructor Tips

C Place an ancestor as the first person in the Pedigree view.


Switching to a first-position view shows more generations for that ancestor in the view.

  1. At the top of the Person page, just above the Details tab, click View Tree. This moves the person to the first position.
  2. Notice that children are displayed to the left in the Tree. You can click any of their names to open a Summary card, and you can click a left arrow to navigate forward in time.
  3. An alternate way to set an ancestor to the first position is to do this: at the bottom of the person's Summary card, click Tree.
  4. To set yourself as the first-position person, click the Home icon (upper left).
  5. 2018-02-19
  6. To see a list of the ancestors you have most recently moved to the first position, in the top menu bar click the Recents menu. See Choice D below for more details.
  7. 2017-12-14

DUse the Recents menu to quickly choose a person for first-position view.


This helps you restore the first-person view back to you, or to any other recently viewed person.

  1. To place yourself in the first position, click the Recents menu, and in the Recents list, click the pedigree icon next to your name. To see your Person page first, click your name.

  2. To select another person for the first position, in the Recents drop-down menu click the pedigree icon next to a name (or click the name to see the Person Page first). Up to 50 names are displayed in the menu.

  3. To remove a person from the list (but not from the FamilySearch tree), a) Click Edit; b) Click the "x" that appears next to the person's name; and c) Click Done.
  4. For information on adding unconnected persons, see Choice D in Goal 7.

Instructor Tips

E Produce a 4-generation pedigree chart for the person in the first position.

This shows direct-line ancestors and their vital information.

  1. In Landscape view, click Options (upper-right corner) and select Print. This creates a pedigree chart as a PDF document in a separate tab. The file name for the PDF contains the date of printing and the first-position person's ID.
  2. 2018-02-19
  3. You can save or print the PDF document, or do both; then close it.
  4. To create a pedigree with portraits displayed, a) Open the Person page for the ancestor, b) Scroll down to the Print box (right side), and c) Click Portrait Pedigree. A vertical pedigree is created with portraits, including the ancestor's children and their spouses. You can click a portrait in the chart to open the Person page for that ancestor.


Instructor Tips

F Produce a family group sheet for an ancestor.

This shows vital information for the ancestor, spouse, and children.

  1. Open the Person page for the ancestor.
  2. Scroll down to the Print box (right side), and click Family or Family with Sources.
  3. Save the PDF document, or close it.
  4. For more information on printing family group sheets, read this article:
    FS—Printing Family Group Sheets
       |   DE   ES   FR   PT   JA  

Goal 3: View the children and other spouses of ancestors.

This helps you see family members at a glance in Family Tree.


A View the children for a selected couple.

  1. In Landscape view, at the bottom of a couple's box click the Children link.
  2. To display a Summary card for a child, click one of the child names.
  3. To view grandchildren to the left of a first-position ancestor, click a left arrow. It will become a right arrow and open a descendant line of children.

B Explore the Family Members section of the Person page.

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.

  1. Click any name to display the Summary card for that person, and then click Person.
  2. If the individual has multiple spouses, scroll down to see the information for those families. To have a spouse appear as the default spouse in the family tree, select Preferred Spouse.
  3. To hide the Children view for all spouses of this individual, click Hide All (just above the first couple listed). To show them again, click Show All.

Instructor Tips

C (Optional) View other spouses, if any, for a selected husband or wife.

  1. Find a down arrow that appears to the left of a husband or wife's name in a couple's box. (You may need to expand your tree until you see such a link.)
  2. To display that person's Summary Card, click the down arrow, and select a different spouse in the drop-down list.

Goal 4: Use the Find menu or Go To feature to locate ancestors in your family tree.

The Find and Recents menus can greatly speed up searches for known ancestors in your tree, instead of scrolling through Family Tree views.


AUsing the Find menu, search for known ancestors in your family tree.


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.

  1. If you know the ID number for a person (available on the Summary card or Person page), click the Find menu, click the Find by ID tab, and in the ID Number box, enter the data.
  2. If you don't know the ID number, a) Click the Find by Name tab; b) Type the name and birth date of an ancestor in your tree to search for; and c) Press Enter or click Find to return the name, as well as other names that FamilySearch determines might be a match.
  3. Note: Using the Find by Name tab is essential for Goal 7, which deals with adding ancestors.

  4. For help with using ID numbers in Family Tree searches, read the article.
    FS—FamilySearch ID Numbers   |  
    ES   PT  

Instructor Tips

B (Optional) Do a "limited" search to refine the results.

  1. Click the Find by Name tab, fill in the fields that need to be exactly matched, and then select the Match All Exactly checkbox for each item that needs to be exactly matched.
  2. 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.

Goal 5: Use alternate views (Portrait, Fan, Descendancy, Virtual Pedigree, etc.) to see your ancestors.

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.


AUse Portrait view to see available photos of your direct-line ancestors.

  1. Click the Landscape menu (upper left) and select Portrait. The Portrait view shows up to 3 generations past the current ancestor, plus the current ancestor's children. Record hints and other icons are available in this view.
  2. Review the photos of your ancestors that appear in the view, noticing those you have not seen before.
  3. To go back a generation, at the top of the view click an up arrow. To go forward a generation, at the bottom of the view, click a down arrow. Note: You can use the Options menu, as explained in Goal 1, Choice D above, to select the types of information that appear. Also, you can click the plus or minus icon to zoom the view, or drag the mouse or use the scroll bars to change the view position.
  4. (The Options menu is the same as the one for Landscape view, except that Marriages is omitted.)


Instructor Tips

B Display and print a Fan Chart.

  1. Click the Family Tree Landscape menu and select Fan Chart. The fan chart shows 4 generations before the ancestor, as well as the ancestor's children. The Options menu shows Invert Colors and Print.
  2. To display a Summary card, click the person's name, and then close the card.
  3. To extend the fan chart, click a person's name at the top edge of the chart, and then click View Tree when the Summary card appears. This puts the selected person in first position for the new chart.
  4. To move a person to the first position in the chart, click the fan icon next to a name.
  5. To print a 7-generation Fan Chart for that person, click the Options and select Print. (Children are not shown on the printed fan chart for the starting person.)
  6. For a first-position person, click a child's name to show the Summary card. If there are more than 5 children for a couple, click an arrow on the left or right to scroll through the children list.
  7. To see other spouses for an ancestor, click the arrow next to a spouse to scroll to another spouse.
  8. For help with displaying and navigating with fan charts, read this article.
    FS—Navigating the Fan Chart View

Instructor Tips

C Use Descendancy view to see descendant lines of the ancestor you select.

  1. Click the Landscape menu and select Descendancy. Record Hints and other icons are available in this view.
  2. In the upper-left corner, click Expand.
  3. Select an ancestor. If possible, choose one who was born over 100 years ago, so there will be more descendants to view.
  4. Set the Generations to 2 or 3, instead of 1.
  5. Use the Expand buttons to collapse or expand lines in the view.
  6. Scroll down to see descendants and their spouses.
  7. In the upper-right corner, click the Options link. The box describes the colored icons that appear to the right of some ancestor names.
  8. Uncheck one or more options to change the Descendancy view.

Instructor Tips

D Use Virtual Pedigree to see a wider view of your family tree in pedigree form.


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.

  1. Access Virtual Pedigree.
  2. Click the Log in with FamilySearch button.
  3. Sign in to FamilySearch to display your family tree in Virtual Pedigree.
  4. Move the cursor in any direction to adjust your pedigree view.
  5. To see details for ancestor, click the ancestor name.
  6. To set a different person as root, click Set as Root. This opens up a descendancy view for that person.
  7. If you want to see more ancestors on the screen at a time, you can change the display setting. In Display Settings, choose Simple Box from the Detailed Box drop-down menu.

Instructor Tips

E (Optional) Use additional programs to see your family tree in different display formats.

  1. Access One-Page Genealogy. This free tool helps you see multiple generations easily on one page.
  2. Click My Tree to get started.
  3. For a description of One-Page Genealogy features, see this blog post by James Tanner.
  4. Access the Pedigree Pie page. This tool helps displays a pie chart for percentages of your international heritage.
  5. Click Log in with FamilySearch to get started.
  6. For a description of Pedigree Pie features, see this blog post by James Tanner.

Goal 6: Change information for ancestors in your tree. Vault

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).


A Update vital information for a person.

  1. Read this article for guidelines on entering standard names in Family Tree.
    FS—Entering Names in Family Tree
    |   DE     ES     FR     IT     PT     JA  
  2. Whenever practical, use the standard format for dates and places. As you type, a list will appear so you can select the standard format. See the articles below for tips on using standardization.
    FS—Entering Standardized Dates and Places
    |   DE     ES     FR     IT     PT  
    More About Standard Place Names in Family Tree
  3. In Family Tree, open the Person page for the person who needs updating.
  4. Scroll down to the Vital Information box.
  5. Click the link for the information you want to change.
  6. Click Edit and make the changes.
  7. Provide reason statements for the changes you make in the family tree. Read this document for the steps to follow.
    FS—Reason Statements for Adding, Editing, and Deleting Information

    |   DE     ES     FR     IT     PT   JA     KO  
  8. For ideas on how to write effective reason statements, see this FamilySearch blog article.
    FS—Tips for Writing Good Reason Statements
  9. Click Save to record the changes.
  10. Note: Anyone who has signed up to "watch" changes for this ancestor will be notified when you click Save.

  11. For more information on editing facts and relationships, watch this video.
    BYU—Editing Facts and Relationships—5:36
  12. If you are entering names in a non-English language, read this article to learn about templates you can use.
    FS—Choosing a Language Template
    |   DE     ES     IT     PT  

Instructor Tips

B Update "Other Information" for a person.

  1. In Family Tree, open the Person page for the person who needs updating.
  2. Scroll down to the Other Information box and click the Open Details link.
  3. For the piece of information you want to change, click Edit and make the changes. (This is similar to Choice A above.)
  4. Click Save.
  5. To add other information, a) Click Add; b) Select the information type from the list; c) Fill in the information fields; and d) Click Save. For example, you could add a title for the person in the Alternate Name category, with "Also Known As" selected.
  6. For more about updating Vital and Other information, read page 5 of the first article
    FS—Quick Start, Family Tree (p.5)
    and all of the second article.
    FS—Adding a Custom Event or Fact
      |   DE   ES   FR   IT   PT   JA  

Instructor Tips

C Update the Marriage information for a couple.


To add a spouse,

  1. In Family Tree, open the Person page for an existing ancestor.
  2. Click Add Spouse.
  3. Fill in as much information as you can.
  4. Click Next.

To update the marriage information for a couple,

  1. Open the Person page for either spouse.
  2. Scroll down to the Family Members area, and under Spouses and Children, click the pencil icon.
  3. In the box on the right side, click any information link you want to update, and then click Edit. You can also remove or replace a spouse here.
  4. Update the information in the field, type a Reason statement, and click Save.

D (Optional) Correct relationship errors or change relationships in your family tree.

These can include an unknown spouse in a couple's box, children assigned to the wrong parent, etc.

  1. See this document for the steps to follow in correcting relationship errors.
    FS—There Is a Missing Parent
       |   PT   JA  
  2. Read these articles for information on adding or changing relationship types in your tree. These include step-children, adoptions, etc.
    FS—Correcting Parent-Child Relationships
    | FS—Changing Relationship Types   |   DE   ES   FR   PT  
  3. Read this article for information on deleting relationship types, such as duplicate families, in your tree.
    FS—Deleting Relationship Types
      |   PT  
  4. To fix a looping pedigree (such as a person linked to a father who is younger than the person) in Family Tree, use the tips in this article.
    FS—Solving a Pedigree Looping Problem in Family Tree
      |   ES   FR   PT  
Instructor Tips

E See changes that others have made to a person's record.

  1. Open the Person page for an ancestor.
  2. Scroll down to Latest Changes in the right-hand pane.
  3. If you want to see all available changes for this person, click Show All.
  4. For more information on changes to person information, read this article.
    FS—Seeing and Undoing Changes
      |   DE   ES   FR   IT   PT   JA  
  5. To protect a record against change by others, watch this video.
    FS—Someone Keeps Changing my Records—Now What—5:33

Instructor Tips

F (Optional) Use the FamilySearch Watch List to be notified when others make changes to data for an ancestor.

  1. Open the Person page for the ancestor you want to track.
  2. Click Watch (next to Tree near the top of the page). You will be sent an email when a change is made to data for an ancestor on your Watch list.
  3. To stop watching the ancestor, click Unwatch (next to Tree near the top of the page).
  4. For more details on using the Watch List, refer to this article.
    FS—Using the Watch List
      |   ES   FR   PT  

G Correct data problems that may occur in your family tree information.

  1. To have FamilySearch display a red icon next to each data problem it finds in your tree, make sure that Data Problems is checked in the Show link.
  2. For details on common types of data problems and tips on correcting them, read the article.
    FS—Fixing Data Problems in Family Tree
  3. You can also use the Find-A-Record website to find data problems and correct them in your tree. See Goal 9 for details.   
    |   DE   ES   FR   PT  
  4. For a quick video review, see "Data Problems" and "Dismiss Data Problems" (Tree Tips icon).
  5. 2017-06-30

Instructor Tips

Goal 7: Add ancestors you know about to your tree.

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.


AAdd a missing ancestor to your tree, using Add Husband or Add Wife in Landscape view.


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.

  1. Read the article or watch the video for ideas on building your family tree.
    FS—Building Your Family Tree

    FS—Finding Easy Information—3:06
  2. In Family Tree, for a person who is missing a father or mother, click Add Father or Add Mother.
  3. If you know the new ancestor's ID—such as if you discovered the person elsewhere in FamilySearch, or someone gave you the ID number—then follow steps 4-7 below. Otherwise, skip ahead to ID Not Known below.
  4. Click Find by ID Number. (If you need to enter characters in a non-English language, click the Template: Standard link for options.)
  5. Type the ID number and click Next.

  6. If you find a match, click Add Match. Note: If a person also has spouse information in the dialog, the spouse will be added as well.
  7. If the matches are not correct, click Back to try a different ID, or click Cancel.

ID Not Known
If you do not know the new ancestor's ID, then:

  1. In the Add Father (or Add Mother) dialog, fill in as many fields as you can.
  2. Select Living or Deceased.
  3. If desired, click additional Find options, and fill in more search fields.
  4. Click Next.
  5. If you see a correct match, click Add Father or Add Mother, or
  6. If the matches are not correct, to try a different search, click Refine Search, or
  7. To add the new person you entered in the search as a member of the tree, at the top of the list click Create New.
  8. Refer to the article for details about using the Find feature for adding ancestors.
    FS—Finding an Individual in Family Tree
      |   ES  
  9. For more information about adding ancestors to your tree, read the article.
    FS—Adding a new Person to Your Tree
      |   DE   ES   FR   IT   PT   JA  
  10. For a quick video review, see "Connecting Me to Ancestors in Family Search" (Tree Tips icon in the lower right).
  11. 2017-06-30

Instructor Tips

B Add a missing child for whom you have accurate information.

  1. In Family Tree, open the Person page for an existing spouse.
  2. In the Family Members section of the Person page, click Add Child.
  3. Follow the basic steps in Choice A above to search for and add the correct person as a child.
  4. If you need to change the child's relationship from "biological" to another ("adopted," "step," etc.), follow the steps in this article.
    FS—Add, Change, Delete Relationship Types
      LANG   DE   ES   FR   PT  
  5. For a quick video review, see "Add a Child" (Tree Tips icon).
  6. 2017-06-30

Instructor Tips

C (Optional) Migrate information from other databases to your FamilySearch tree.

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.

  1. Learn about sharing information between FamilySearch and Ancestry.
    BYU—Sharing Information between FamilySearch and Ancestry—5:54
    | Share Information between Ancestry Tree and FamilySearch Tree—9:25
  2. 2017-10-04
  3. Here are some tips for handling very large genealogy files.
    BYU—How to Handle Very Large Genealogy Collections and Files—60:26

D (Optional) Add unconnected persons in your FamilySearch tree.


Add a person that's not yet connected to you might make sense when you believe the person to be related to you, but records are not yet located to establish the relationship.

  1. In the Recents menu, click Add Unconnected Person.
  2. In the Add Person dialog (or Add Unconnected Person dialog), fill in as many fields as you can for the person to be added. The minimum is one name, the sex, and the living/deceased ststus. You can select another language in the drop-down list at the top.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Review the possible matches on the next screen to see if one of theme is the person you want to add.
  5. If a match looks likely, a) Click the "View in Tree" link for that person to see details; b) If you believe this person is related to you, copy the person's ID; and c) Using "Find by ID", add that person in your tree. (The person is now connected to you, not unconnected.)
  6. If no match looks likely, you can click "Refine Search" to try a new search, or click Create New Person to add your person to Family Tree (not connected to you).
  7. To remove names from the Recents menu, a) In the menu bar (upper left), click Recents; b) Click the blue Edit link; c) For each person to be removed, click the "x" next to the name; and d) Click Done.
  8. For more information on adding unconnected persons, read this article.
    FS—Adding Individuals Who Are Not Connected

Goal 8: Add sources for an ancestor's records in your family tree. Vault

When you add sources to an ancestor's entry, you help others see the evidence for the dates or other information that exist there.


ALearn about sourcing and why it's important.

  1. Read these articles to learn about the importance of adding sources for your family history work.
    FS—Sources in Family Tree
      |   DE   ES   FR   IT   PT   JA  
    GC—Sourcing: Key to Family History Detective Work
  2. This article discusses the use of sources in FamilySearch Family Tree.
    JT—Digging into Sources in the FamilySearch Family Tree, Part 1
  3. Learn how to determine accuracy of information in records.
    GC—Determining Accuracy of Information
    | FS—Document Analysis and Evaluation—6 pgs.
  4. Understand the Genealogical Standard of Proof for sources.
    FS—Genealogical Standard of Proof, Part 1
  5. Ensure that your research meets the Genealogical Standard of Proof.
    FS—Genealogical Standard of Proof, Part 2
  6. Learn how to apply the Genealogical Standard of Proof to sources you are evaluating.
    FS—Genealogical Standard of Proof, Part 3

Instructor Tips

B Use the Landscape view to find ancestors who need sources listed for their information.

  1. Look for ancestors with a light-blue icon in the couple's box—this means that record sources are available. If you don't see any of these icons, expand one or more ancestor lines to find them. A purple icon means there are research hints available for the person.
  2. Click the light-blue icon for an ancestor who needs a source attached. (You can also find source hints in the Hinting area of the ancestor's Person Page.)
  3. Click the person's name inside the blue information box. This displays a window with record hints and research suggestions (if any) for the ancestor. Choice C below explains how to review and attach the record in your family tree.

  4. For more details on using the Record Hints in FamilySearch, read the article or watch the video.
    FS—Record Hints
      |   DE   ES   FR   PT  
    FS—Family Tree Hinting
  5. 2018-02-18
  6. For a quick video review, see "Record Hints", "Research Suggestions", or "Dismiss Research Suggestions" (Tree Tips icon).
  7. To see existing sources for an ancestor, in the Person page click the Details tab and then click Sources.

C In Landscape view, review and attach a source to your ancestor's Person page.

  1. Click a blue record hints icon (see Choice B above), and then click the person's name inside the blue information box.
  2. Click Review and Attach to proceed, or Not a Match to return to the Family Tree screen. Assuming you are proceeding,
  3. To view the basic information for the source record, click the View: Record link (upper-left).
  4. If the information does not match your ancestor, click Not a Match, and return to your family tree. Or, if you decide not to attach the record at this time, click Return to Family Tree (bottom of the screen).

  5. If the information does match your ancestor, and you want to copy, print, or download the record information, click Go To: Record (upper left).
    a) To copy the record text to your clipboard so you can paste it into another document, click Tools and select Copy to Clipboard;
    b) To print the record text, click Print;
    c) To share via email, click Email and choose an option from the drop-down menu;
    d) To store the information in your Sourcebox, click Add to Sourcebox. Then change the Source title if needed, specify the folder in the sourcebox where the record will be stored (you can click Create New Folder if desired), edit the Notes section if desired, and click Save. For more information on using the Sourcebox, see Choice G below.
  6. 2018-02-14
  7. When you are finished, return to the Attach Historical Records screen (click Back in the browser).
  8. Type a reason for attaching the source, and then click Attach. The source record is automatically attached to the family tree.
  9. Click Return to Family Tree at the bottom of the screen. In the ancestor's Person page, notice that the Record Hint no longer appears in the Hinting area (upper right); instead, it appears as a Source at the bottom of the page.
  10. Read these articles for a review of adding and attaching sources.
    FS—Attaching FS Historical Records
      |   DE   ES   FR   IT   PT   JA   KO   | RIV—Adding and Attaching Sources
  11. For more information about using the Source Linker, read the article or watch the video.
    Attaching FamilySearch Records Using the Source Tree
    Record Hints—5:11
  12. For a detailed look at the record hinting process, read this blog post.
    Record Hints   |   DE   ES   FR   PT  
  13. If you would like to attach websites as sources for records in your tree, read this article about using Tree Connect from RecordSeek.
    RIV—RecordSeek for Recording Sources in Family Tree

Instructor Tips

D Tag events to the sources you have found, or edit or detach sources.

  1. Follow the steps on page 3 of the document to tag events for your ancestor.
    RIV—Adding/Attaching Sources to a Tree (p.3)
  2. For more information on editing or detaching sources, read these articles.
    FS—Editing Sources
      |   DE   ES   FR   IT   PT   JA   KO   | FS—Detaching Sources   |   DE   ES   FR   IT   PT   JA   KO  

Instructor Tips

E Print sources on a Family Group Record.

  1. On a Person page, go to the Print area on the right and click Family with Sources. Now the sources you attached will appear in the family group sheet next to corresponding ancestors.
  2. To see a sample Family Group Record with sources, click the picture at the right. The sources are at the end of the document.

Instructor Tips

F When light-blue icons or Record Hints are not available, use the Sources feature in the Person page to find and attach sources.

These are sources that you have come across in doing research.

  1. Learn about record sources and how to use them to document information for your ancestors.
    FS—Putting Documents as Sources in Family Tree—11:24
    | FS—I Want to Learn More about Sourcing—11:24
  2. Learn how to attach documents to a source from a Person page.
    FS—Correct Way to Attach Sources in FamilySearch—10:34
  3. For ideas on keeping track of your genealogical sources, watch this video.
    AC—Genealogy Source Checklists —32:51
  4. To see lists of current and missing sources for your ancestors, refer to Goal 9, Choice B in this Project.

G Use the Source Box feature in FamilySearch to keep track of available sources for your ancestors.

You can also use the Source Box to attach the same source to multiple people.

  1. Learn about the Source Box and how it can be used.
    FS—Your Source Box
      |   DE   ES   FR   IT   JA   PT  
  2. Read this article for the steps to add a source to your Source Box.
    FS—Copying an attached source to your Source Box in Family Tree
      |   DE   ES   FR   IT   JA   PT  
  3. For more details about using Source Boxes, watch this video, starting at 38:20.
    Adding Sources to the FamilySearch Family Tree

Goal 9: Use Find-A-Record to add sources and update information for ancestors. 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.


A Get started with Find-a-Record.

  1. Go to the Find-A-Record site.
  2. Click Sign In with FamilySearch.
  3. Click the blue Sign In button on the FamilySearch screen.

B Set your choices for people and record issues to display.

  1. In the Find-A-Record screen, choose values in the drop-down menus for "Who do you want to find?" (the default is Cousins).
  2. Choose a value for "How many generations?" (the default is 5 generations or 100 years).
  3. If you want to eliminate some entries in the Opportunities list at the right, click a category in "What do you want to do?" and clear checkboxes as needed.
  4. In the Opportunities list on the right, click Details for any opportunity you want to investigate. Tip: Keep your FamilySearch browser window open so you can make updates to your tree and switch back to Find-A-Record for Opportunities.
  5. 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.


C Work through the Opportunities list, and make needed updates in your tree.

  1. Scroll through the Opportunities list that appears after you run a Find-A-Record scan, and make note of the ones you want to investigate. (You can click Fixed or Hide to remove an Opportunity from the list.)
  2. Open your family tree in FamilySearch, and make needed changes to ancestor information.

Instructor Tips

Goal 10: Add notes about ancestor entries, or join discussions about ancestors.

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.


A Add a helpful note about an ancestor.

  1. In Family Tree, open the Person page for the ancestor.
  2. Below the Details tab, click Notes (at the right), or scroll to the bottom of the page.
  3. To see existing notes, click Open Details or click a link in the Notes box.
  4. Click Add a New Note to create a note.
  5. Write a title and text for the note. Make sure there is enough information to be clear to others who will read the note.
  6. Click Save.

B (Optional) Learn about current Family Tree user discussions regarding your ancestors.


Note: User discussions are usually posted to bring attention to record discrepancies, duplicate ancestors, or other problems with records.

  1. In your family tree, click a name to open the Summary card.
  2. Keep opening Summary cards until you find an ancestor with at least one discussion noted on the card.
  3. Open the Person page for that ancestor.
  4. In the Details tab, click Discussions.
  5. In the Discussion area on the Person page, click one of the Discussion links.
  6. To add a comment, click the Add Comment link at the bottom, type your entry, and click Save.
  7. To create a new discussion, in an open Discussion box click Add a New Discussion.
  8. Write a title and description for your discussion, and click Save.
  9. For tips on participating in discussions, read this article.
    FS—Participating in Discussions
      |   DE   ES   FR   IT   PT   JA   KO  

C Use the FamilySearch messaging feature to contact a person for information.

  1. Read this blog article about the FamilySearch Messaging feature. You can use it to send a message to someone who has updated a Person page (if that person has an available contact email address in FamilySearch).
  2. In the Latest Changes section of a Person page, click any contributor email link. The Messaging window opens.
  3. To display the Message Text window, at the bottom of the window click Send a Message.
  4. Type a message (up to 10,000 characters), and click Send. Your message will be delivered as a FamilySearch email.
  5. Track conversations in the Messages link at the top of the Family Tree screen.
  6. To contact the person by regular email instead of the messaging feature, click the person's email address in the Messaging window.
  7. To check for incoming messages, click the Messages link in the upper-right corner of the FamilySearch home screen. You can click an individual message to read it in the main window or click Show Allto display all messages you have received. In the main window, you can also highlight a message and click the Delete link to remove it. Your replies to messages appear in the main window.
  8. To respond to a message, a) Highlight the message in the list, b) Type your message in the "Write a message" box, and c) Click Send.

D Track and resolve conflicting information in genealogy lines.

  1. Document parentage accurately, as explained in this Ancestry video.
    AC—Documenting Parentage—31:30
  2. Use discrepancy charts to track the differences in varying versions of an ancestor's line.
    GC—Organize the Inconclusive
  3. Learn more about how to resolve conflicting evidence. AC—Resolving Conflicting Evidence—38:13 |
    LDS—Dealing with Contradictory Evidence
  4. Explore Lesson 17 on the Evidence Explained website by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Goal 11: Merge duplicate ancestors in your tree.

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.


A Search for possible duplicate entries in your tree.

  1. Learn about duplicate records and how to handle them.
    BYU—Merging Duplicates in FamilySearch Family Tree—10:34
  2. Read the articles (pages 5-6 for the first one) to get an overview of how duplicate entries are found.
    FS—Quick Start, Family Tree (p.5-6)

    FS—Duplicates in Family Tree
  3. Open the Person page for an ancestor who you think may have duplicate entries in Family Tree.
  4. In the Tools box, click the Possible Duplicates link.
  5. In the Matching People dialog, make note of the ID numbers for each person who has identical or very similar information.

B Use Find-A-Record to identify possible duplicates in your tree.

  1. Go to the Find-A-Record site.
  2. Clear all the checkboxes except "Problems." Find-A-Record will return a list of possible duplicates as well as other potential problems in the tree.

Instructor Tips

C Merge two duplicate entries in your family tree.

  1. Here is an overview article on the merging process.
    FS—Merging People in FamilySearch's Family Tree
  2. Read these articles to learn how the merge process works.
    RIV—Merging Duplicate Entries—2 pgs.
    | FS—Merging Duplicate Ancestors in Family Tree
  3. Note: Merging duplicate entries can be a complicated process, so use caution.

  4. If you need to undo a merge that has been done, follow the steps in this article.
    FS—Undoing a Merge
      |   DE   ES   FR   PT   JA  

Instructor Tips

Goal 12 (optional): Produce customized ancestry charts.

Using customized or expanded pedigree and fan charts helps you see more of your ancestry or use different approaches.


A Use to produce expanded pedigree and fan charts from your FamilySearch data.

  1. Access
  2. Click the Log In Now button.
  3. Sign in to FamilySearch, and then click Accept.
  4. Select the starting person for the chart by name or Person ID.
  5. Select the type of pedigree or fan chart you want.
  6. Click Create Chart and wait until the chart is completed.
  7. If you want to save a copy, click Download Chart.
  8. For more information on using TreeSeek to produce pedigree and fan charts, read this article.
    RIV—Creating Charts with (2 pgs.)

B Use blank, printable ancestry charts for individual or family projects.

  1. Download a variety of free printable templates from the Midwest Genealogy Center. These include charts that are also useful for younger children.
  2. Download free blank charts from
  3. Download free blank forms and charts from Ancestry.

C Use to produce a Source Tracker chart for ancestors.

  1. In TreeSeek, select the starting person for the chart by name or Person ID.
  2. Select the Source Tracker chart.
  3. Click Create Chart, and wait until the chart is completed.
  4. In the Census tab (default), click any check mark to see the corresponding FamilySearch census source for the person, or click the magnifying glass to search for a FamilySearch source record for the person.
  5. To view source records or search for them, click the Vital Events tab.

Goal 13 (optional): Change your account settings in FamilySearch.

You may need to change various account settings from time to time, such as your password and preferences.


A Edit your FamilySearch settings.

  1. Click your name in the upper-right corner of the FamilySearch screen.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. If desired, change your Settings in the Account menu. These include username, password, display name, and Helper Number (the number other FamilySearch users can enter to give you access to their family trees).
  4. If desired, change information in the Contact menu. The email address listed here is the one that other FamilySearch users will use to contact you, if the Public box is checked.
  5. If desired, change settings in the Notifications menu. These include notifications from FamilySearch, Family Tree, and Indexing.
  6. If desired, change settings in the Preferences menu. These include LDS information and the starting person ID for the family tree.
  7. If desired, change settings in the Connected Accounts menu. These include all family history companies who can access your family tree information, per your agreement. You can revoke access in this screen.
  8. For help with changing account settings, watch these videos.
    FS—Settings in Family Tree—2:21 | BYU—FamilySearch Registration and Settings—6:10
  9. If you want to sign out from FamilySearch, click your username and then select Sign Out.

Goal 14 (optional): Use apps and websites listed in the FamilySearch App Gallery to explore your family tree.

The FamilySearch App Gallery is a growing collection of family history software and sites that complement FamilySearch; some are additionally certified by FamilySearch.


A Explore apps and websites in the App Gallery.

B Download and use the mobile app for FamilySearch Tree.

  1. Learn about the FamilySearch Tree mobile app in this blog post.
    FS—How to Use FamilySearch's Mobile Apps
  2. To download the app for iOS or Android, visit this page.
  3. Learn about how to complete tasks with the mobile app in this blog post.
    FS—Completing Tasks on the FamilySearch Tree Mobile App
  4. To learn more about FamilySearch mobile apps, watch this video.
    FS—FamilySearch on the Go!—12:08