Project 6 Goals:  1: Get Help (FS)   2: Genealogical Societies   3: Collaborate   4: Help Another Person   5: Publish a Family History   6: O-Volunteer       

Project 6: Help

Get help with your own family
history, and find out how to help others with their genealogies.

  Tracker:   Online  or  Word  

Goal 1: Get help with your own family history work. Vault

Although The Family History Guide has a wealth of resources and tasks to work on, there are times when you need some personal assistance with challenges in your family history This goal points you in the right directions.


AFind and access FamilySearch help resources for your family history questions.

  1. Use the Get Help feature in the upper-right corner of the FamilySearch screen, or the Tips icon in the Family Tree navigation screen.
  2. Know the basic help resources that are available. These include phone help, online chat, and Q and A with helpers.
    FS—Get Help in Person—4:14
  3. Get help by phone from In the U.S. call 1-866-406-1830; for other countries, select the country name from the drop-down list.
  4. Get help by online chat from Click Help in the main FamilySearch screen, and then select Live Chat. Follow the prompts in the chat window to get help from a FamilySearch representative.
  5. Send an email to FamilySearch Support. From Help, click Send Message; then select the message type, fill in the fields, and click Send Message.
  6. Submit questions to a FamilySearch Center. From Help, click Find Local Help; then type the name of your local FamilySearch Center and click Find.
Instructor Tips

BFind and access Ancestry help resources for your family history questions.

  1. Visit the Support Community at Ancestry.
  2. Get help by phone from Ancestry. Visit the Contact Ancestry Support page for details.
  3. Get free LDS access to Ancestry.

CFind and access Findmypast help resources for your family history questions.

  1. Visit the Getting Started page at
  2. Explore the Frequently Asked Questions page.
  3. Get free LDS access to Findmypast.

DFind and access MyHeritage help resources for your family history questions.

  1. Visit the Help Center page at
  2. Explore the About MyHeritage page.
  3. Get free LDS access to MyHeritage.

EGet help for your own research tasks.

  1. Know how to ask the right questions to get the help you need.
    How to Get Your Genealogy Questions Answered
  2. 2018-01-01
  3. Get additional help from other researchers online, as explained in this video.
    FS—Research in Real Time (10:35)
  4. Get help searching records from lookup volunteers around the world.
    RIV—Lookup Volunteers—12 pgs.
  5. Explore the FamilyTreeCircles site for help with crowd-sourcing your family history.

Instructor Tips

F(Optional) Explore the resources at a family history center.

  1. Visit a local family history center and talk with a volunteer. These services are free to all. To find a list of nearby family history centers, click here. To find a family history center anywhere in the world, click here.
  2. Use the free Premium website offerings at a family history center. These include full access to Ancestry,, and others. See the full list of premium sites available at each family history center.

Goal 2: Get involved with genealogical societies for information and support.

Genealogy societies publish magazines, offer support groups, and provide a wealth of family history information.


AFind genealogical societies in the United States.

  1. Read this article for an overview of U.S. genealogical societies.
    GC—Using Historical and Genealogical Societies
  2. Read this article from the FamilySearch Wiki about U.S. genealogical societies.
  3. This article suggests three genealogical societies every genealogist should join.
    3 Genealogy Societies Every Serious Genealogist Should Join
  4. Here are eight reasons for joining a genealogical society.
    8 Reasons to Join a Genealogical Society—5:23
  5. Learn about popular online genealogy magazines and what they offer.
    GI—Top 10 Popular Online Genealogy Magazines

Instructor Tips

BFind international genealogical societies.

  1. Explore the FGS website (Federation of Genealogical Societies) for information about societies.
  2. See a list of genealogy societies on the Ancestry site.
  3. Refer to the "Get Help" goals in most of the Project 4 Country Pages for information about genealogy societies and social media groups for specific countries.
  4. See Project 4: Discover, Goal 1, Choice D for tips on writing to individuals and organizations for genealogy help.

Goal 3: Collaborate with others doing family history work. Vault

Working with others helps you get more done on your own work, as well as giving you the chance to help others. In the process, your data usually becomes more reliable, and you may form lasting friendships with those you partner with in family history.


AShare your family history efforts.

Remember to get permission from living individuals if you share their information.

  1. Watch these videos for ideas on sharing your family history information with others.
    AC—Quick Ways to Share Family History—15:31
    | FS—Share with Others—3:08
  2. Learn how blogging and social networking can help you collaborate on family history.
    BYU—Blogging and Social Networking for Genealogists—62:53

    How to Network with Family Members Using Social Media for Genealogy Research
  3. See also for building a collaborative family tree.
  4. Join the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. You'll receive weekly prompts on ways you can share your family history findings with others.
  5. 2017-12-31

BWork with others on family history.

  1. Get family members or friends involved in collecting memories (photos, documents, stories, etc.) to be uploaded to FamilySearch.
  2. Divide up family lines for research, to avoid duplication of effort.
  3. Keep each other informed about progress achieved as well as roadblocks that remain.
  4. Get help from others online who are researching the same names. Watch this video for tips.
    FS—Get Help from Others Researching the Same Name—3:59
  5. Study these resources for additional ideas about working with others on family history.
    AC—Quick Tips for Increasing Collaboration—32:08

    FS—Crowdsourcing Collaboration
  6. Watch this video to learn how you can use descendancy research to find distant cousins who may want to help you with your research.
    FS—Descendancy Research—65:00
  7. Read this article to learn how to contact other FamilySearch collaborators. FS—Collaborating with Other FamilySearch Contributors  |   ES  
  8. Join the RootsWeb Surname List (RSL) to keep in touch with others who are researching the same surnames as you are.

Instructor Tips

COrganize or participate in family gatherings that promote family history.

  1. Plan for successful family history reunions.
    GC—Tips for the Size and Shape of Your Reunion
    | GC—Sharing Family History at the Reunion
  2. Involve and include more family members in family history activities. GC—What Should We Do at the Reunion?

DJoin an online user group or forum for a genealogy website.

Here are some noted user groups and online communities for genealogy and family history:

  1. Use the Member Connect feature in Ancestry to stay in touch with other Ancestry members who are researching common ancestors. For details on Member Connect, see this page.
  2. Post your genealogy queries on to get assistance from other researchers. You can also browse queries by country, region, or surname.
  3. For some simple tips on writing queries to online help groups, read this article.
    OT—Good Quesry vs. Bad Query
  4. Explore the GenForum Message Board for answers to questions.
  5. On Facebook, contact the RootsMagic user group or the Legacy Family Tree user group for answers to questions on their respective software versions.
Instructor Tips

ECreate or join a family association.

  1. Read the article for an introduction to family associations.
    GC—Family Associations 101
  2. Learn about effective ways to run a family association.
    GC—Running a Family Association
  3. Create a Facebook group for your family.
    FS—Facebook and Family History
  4. Publish a periodical for your family association.
    GC—Publishing a One-Family Periodical

Goal 4: Help another FamilySearch user with his or her family tree.

One of the joys of family history is "paying it forward"—sharing what you've learned with others, so they can move ahead faster in their work.


AUse the Help Others feature in FamilySearch.

  1. Have your friend send you his or her Helper ID number. This number is found in the person's Account Profile on FamilySearch. If the person can't retrieve the Helper ID for some reason, you can use the person's full name and birth date instead.
  2. On your Family Tree screen, click the Help Others link.
  3. In the Username tab, type the username and Helper ID of the person whom you are assisting. If you don't have the Helper ID, click the Full Name tab and fill in the First Name, Last Name, and Birth Date fields.
  4. Click Sign In. The Family Tree for your friend will be displayed, and you can browse and edit the data. Be sure to log out when you are finished.
  5. If you need to change your Help ID, a) Click your name (upper-right corner of the screen); b) Choose Settings; c) Change the value in the Help Number field; and d) Click Save.

Instructor Tips

Goal 5: Publish a family history.

Creating an organized and published history of your family can be an inspiration for generations to come. You can publish it online or in printed format, and there are many good examples of published family histories you can draw on for ideas.


ADecide on a Table of Contents for the history.

Be sure to spend adequate time planning, writing, and revising the Table of Contents, as it's the foundation for organizing the work that will be published.

  1. Select the ancestors who will be highlighted in the history.
  2. Select the topics to be included, for each ancestor and in general.
    GC—Choose Your Family Book's Focus
    | GC—Creating a Family History Book

Instructor Tips

BWrite the history.

  1. Watch this video for tips on writing content for your family history project.
    BYU—Writing a Family History—24:43
  2. Here are 10 steps to writing an effective family history.
    AB—10 Steps to Writing Your Family History
  3. 2017-10-06
  4. Read this article for additional tips on writing content for your family history project.
    Secret to Writing a Compelling Family History
  5. Watch this video for steps to writing and publishing a family history.
    AA—10 Steps to Publishing a Family History—62:00
  6. Understand the basic copyright issues for genealogists.
    AA—Copyright Essentials for Genealogists—50:39

C(Optional) Publish the history.

  1. Here are some ideas for publishing your family history book.
    AB—Publishing Your Family History Book
  2. 2017-10-06
  3. Watch this video for ideas on designing and publishing a family history book.
    AC—How to Design and Make a Family History Book—52:55

D(Optional) Build a family history website to share information.

  1. Watch these videos to learn how to build a family history website using the platform.
    Part One—11:23
    | Part Two—14:12 | Part Three—32:21
  2. Read this article on safeguarding information as you publish.
    GT—Organizing the Past: Your Website

Goal 6: (Optional) Volunteer with family history.

If you have the time and inclination, you can be of great service and inspiration to others and further the cause of their family history work. Click "Volunteer" in the upper-right corner of the FamilySearch screen to begin.


AHelp others with Family Tree questions on the phone.

  1. In the Index Historical Records section, click "Start Indexing" or "Become an arbitrator." Follow the prompts. For more information, see Project 5: Indexing.

BParticipate in evaluations, or test new FamilySearch features and software.

  1. In the "Participate in Evaluations" section, click the "Learn more" link.
  2. Read the instructions and click the Sign-Up button.

CMake donations to FamilySearch.

  1. In the "Donate to FamilySearch" section, click "Donate records or services" or "Donate programming services" or "Donate money".

DServe as a Family History Missionary.

  1. Call 1-855-346-4774 or email to get started.
  2. Click the Missionary Opportunities link for more details.

ETake advantage of other volunteer opportunities.

  1. In the "Other Opportunities" section on the FamilySearch volunteer page, click the "Write research articles" or "Volunteer on Facebook" links.
  2. Participate in Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, a volunteering program. See the RAOGK website for details.
  3. To find Facebook groups involved in Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, click here.