We all want to discover our roots, and for free if it is possible. In this Family Search website review, I want to show you what this site has to offer and how it can help you.
Please be aware that there are limitations when it comes to using free services. You may either not find what you are looking for or you may need to pay to see the full records.
But my advice is to always check to see what you can access for nothing first. Then if you have to pay then so be it.
At the end of the day, you owe it to your legacy that you will leave behind to make sure that no stone is left unturned.
Family Search Rating and Details
|Records||4 Million (Names)|
|Family Tree Builder||Yes|
|Other Features||2 Mobile Apps|
|Help & Support||Articles, Videos, Messaging Staff, Live Chat, Telephone Support, YouTube Channel, Research Wiki, Forums, Digitized Books, Courses|
|Bottom Line||Hit & Miss But Worth Checking Out!|
|CHECK IT OUT ==>||www.FamilySearch.org|
What is the Family Search site?
In a nutshell Family Search is the world’s largest free genealogy search website!
So, if you are new to family history, (or even if you have been tracing your ancestry for a while), you need to check out this valuable resource.
This site is run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was available to church members as early as 2005. It was finally made available to everyone all over the world four years later in 2009.
Their headquarters are located in Salt Lake City in Utah. Family Search also offers personal assistance to over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.
The site contains more than 3 billion names and millions of records within their databases, which are all free to access.
With this amount of information, there is a good chance that you will find your ancestors within their collection.
Hey, I have and it has helped my genealogy research quite a lot!
Credit: Family Search
The goal of the website is to make the digitized collection of records available to anyone wherever in the world.
And this is made possible by the countless people who volunteer their services and time to bring these records to you.
It is a global effort that helps you and me to research our ancestry for free!
Discussed in this post:
- Create and Build Your Family Tree!
- Tools & Features!
- Help & Support
- Pros & Cons
- Do I Recommend Family Search?
When you have finished checking out this site review why not check out my Best Genealogy Sites For Your Family History Research post.
And then after that head on over to Top Ten Reviews where they review the ten best genealogy search websites that are both free to use and subscription-based.
Express Your Thoughts Below!
I would love to hear from you.
Create and Build Your Family Tree!
Family Search is just like any other genealogy search website in that you can create your family tree.
But the best part of it all is that you have access to their records while you research which can be used to build out your tree.
Credit: Web Genealogist
Great features are included in this tool!
This feature was made available in 2013, however, you will need to register your details to start using Family Tree.
But again this is a free service.
With this Family Tree feature you will be able to add your ancestors as well as their details such as where they were born, where they married, died, their occupations, and any other such details.
Handy hints are available to you as you enter your ancestors into your tree. These hints will link you to possible records that include your ancestors.
You can also share your tree with other members of the site. This is a fantastic benefit of this feature.
I have found that assistance from others has greatly helped me get details about my ancestors much faster, rather than spending a considerable amount of time finding such information.
Adding photos to your family tree is possible as well!
Remember, genealogy is not just about getting the facts. You want to put a face to the person that you are researching.
Be inspired like me to learn as much as you can about them. Get to know your ancestors!
You can create a family tree from an existing GEDCOM that you may have. But you will not be able to create or export a GEDCOM file at Family Search.
Partners with other genealogy search websites!
Family Search partnered with other genealogy websites in 2014. This means that even more records are available for you to use for your research.
Three of the world’s biggest genealogies such as Ancestry, FindMyPast, and MyHeritage are linked to Family Search.
However, please note that to gain full access to these external records you will need to be a subscribing member to these sites.
There is also a connection between Family Search and Billion Graves. This site, as the name suggests, contains a photo collection of a billion graves.
This genealogy site allows you to search for the graves of your ancestors. And in doing so you can get even more vital clues to help you with your research.
The best part about this partnership is that you do not need to leave Family Search to use these external resources.
Tools & Features!
As I have already mentioned you have free access to more than a million records. These records come in the form of digital images which are located within several different databases.
The Family History Library catalog is contained within the databases, so you also have access to genealogical records from over 110 different countries.
The Family History library includes:
- Over 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed records,
- 742,000 microfiche,
- 310,000 books, serials, and other formats, and
- 4,500 periodicals.
Family Search Apps
Many of us nowadays are frequently using mobile devices compared to working at our computers at home.
It makes it so much easier to carry on discovering our ancestry while we are at the library, the archives, the cemetery, or wherever.
Mobile users can easily research for their ancestors with the aid of two apps, FamilySearch Tree and FamilySearch Memories.
Through these apps, you can search your family history and archive records, stories, and photos that you find.
These apps are available for both iOS and Android users and are available in 10 different languages.
And the best part of these apps, yes you guessed it, it’s FREE!
Help & Support!
Help is provided through the form of the Family History Research Wiki. From here you can get research advice as well as learn where to find records that you are after.
To help you with your query you will either need to enter a place or a topic within a search box. Or you can click on the world map.
So, to make full use of this feature think about what you want to know about your ancestor. And also where the event took place for your ancestor.
The Learning Centre also contains Forums, digitized books, and free online family history courses.
You can get help and handy tips through social media as well. They are on Facebook, Google +, and Twitter.
There are also instructional videos covering a range of topics on their YouTube channel.
And if you still cannot find what you are looking for then you can easily contact them directly for support.
You can send them a message, conduct a live chat, (which is available 24/7), or call them.
Pros & Cons
✔ Millions of records for you to search through
✔ Build your family tree online
✔ Interact with other users
✔ Get help from other members and staff
✔ Messaging, live chat, and telephone support provided
✔ Help is also available through articles, video, forums, digitized books, and courses
❌ Contains millions of records but not as many as the paid subscription sites
❌ Cannot create or export a GEDCOM file
Do I Recommend Family Search?
First of all my advice for anyone interested in exploring their family history is to find what you can discover for free.
So, with that said, I can honestly say that Family Search is one resource that you need to check out.
I am quite surprised at how much is available to the visitor of this site.
And that all of this has been brought to you by countless volunteers who also share your passion for finding out where they come from.
You can’t always get what you want!
There have been times though that I have not found what I was looking for on this site. And so I have turned my attention to the paid genealogy sites.
But maybe I was too hasty as I have recently learned that Family Search continuously adds records to their collection.
So, what you don’t find today may be available tomorrow. It’s worth researching another branch in the meantime and coming back later to see if there are any new leads.
I am also very impressed with the help and support that is offered. The articles, videos, and member assistance are more than enough help for you to get you on your way.
But if you are still stuck then you can also call or video chat with staff for help.
So, do I recommend Family Search?
Yes, I do recommend Family Search. It’s a free site that can greatly benefit your genealogy research!
If you decide to check out this genealogy site then please come back and let me know what you think of it. I would love to hear how it is working for you.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
I hope you enjoyed this post reviewing the Family Search website and what it has to offer. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.
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24 thoughts on “Family Search Website Review!”
I have had Family Search account for several years. I keep checking it every couple of months but have found it to be of little use. I hear good things about it and it is frequently mentioned as a source. However, almost all of the data I have found has been copied from my source work (I recognize my mistakes) or has little source documentation. In researching my family from Poland, I am finding much less potential information than from Ancestry or MyHeritage. I like the idea of the indexing projects, but would like to find one that may be relevant to any thing close to what I am working on and have never found anything over the last couple of years.
Thank you for your feedback Mike. Very much appreciated.
A world tree to which we can all contribute is a joy, but also can cause lots of headaches. I don’t typically use Family Search because a lot of the information there cannot be supported with documentation (rule 1 when doing genealogy) and much is incorrect. (Example: my husband has a family tree from relatives that shows ancestry all the way back to King Arthur. Unfortunately, there was no actual King Arthur, so this is a spurious ancestry.)
I will stick to my paid tree with Ancestry that helps provide documentation. I may look at Family Search for info on an ancestor, but I’m not ready to rely on it. I keep my own records in Reunion (I’m a Mac user) once I feel pretty sure they are accurate.
Thanks for the article. It does remind me that Family Search can be valuable–as long as you are aware of the pitfalls.
Family Search has helped me a few times, but only after I have checked out Ancestry and FindMyPast.
You are right when it comes to providing evidence. Touching upon that I have used members family trees on Ancestry as a guide only, (some of the mistakes on their trees are just terrible).
Unfortunately, all cities/towns are not listed in the drop-down search list and entering the town’s name comes up as not found. In particular, the Borough of Shickshinny in Luzerne County Pennsylvania doesn’t exist even though it celebrated it’s sesquicentennial in 2011. My ancestors are one of the first families to settle there. Some still live in the borough – the Boro that apparently doesn’t exist. The town across the river from Shickshinny – Mocanaqua doesn’t exist either.
Sorry to hear about your experience with the Family Search website. Hope you haven’t encountered any brick walls during your research because of it.
Access to their site is free, but many source documents are still on microfilm, and not easy to access.
You can waste a lot of time looking up promising titles in their catalog only to find them not available for viewing online. It would be helpful if items that are viewible online were marked as such in their Catalog.
Yes you are right there Dave. I’ll have to update this post to make that clear to people. Thank you for commenting. Appreciate it.
So much information! I have seen the paid genealogy searches and I’ve had family do a full search on our history but I had no idea there were so many resources. Thank you so much for doing all of this work. It has inspired me to do some research for my family. I’m looking forward to reading more about you will post next.
Yes Annie there is a lot of useful resources out there that can help you with your family history research. There are paid sites that you can go to to discover your ancestors. But there are also free sites as well. Please check out the Resources & Tools section which will greatly help you.
I love things like this I see expensive commercials on tv all the time. I just don’t have the cash for it right now how Legit do you think these things are?
This is very legit. There are millions of records on this site that you can access for FREE! And if you do not find anything straight away then chances are that it will be added in time.
This is very interesting. For free, I would like to check my family tree as well. Does this program work for Swiss families too?
Thank’s for the tip 🙂
Thank you for your query. I am pleased to say that you can find your Swiss ancestors on this site. Please check out the Switzerland Genealogy which will give you more information.
I love Family Search! It has so many great features. I haven’t had time to be on in it in a while so this was a good reminder of all the fantastic features that I should be using more! If you haven’t reviewed or explained family search indexing already, I think that would be a very informative post for many people who want to contribute.
Thank you for your comment and your suggestion. There I should definitely more that I could cover about Family Search. I will feature indexing in another post.
I googled “best genealogy sites” today and your site was one of the first that came up. Coincidentally I used Family Search last night and was amazed at how far back it went. I had last used it 12 months ago and it went back to about 1525, which I thought was very good.
Today it goes back to about 350AD and includes “Sirs”, Lords, Ladies and even a couple of Kings! (King of North Britain Coel Hen Godebog Tehvant, 350-420).
Amazing, I can’t see any of the paid programmes being any better.
Canada, via England and Isle of Man
That’s great that you found my site. I aim to help people trace their family history through helpful guides, tips and reviews. So please check out the rest of my site as I am sure that you will find something that will help you.
Thank you for the comment. It is interesting what we can find out about our ancestors. There’s just so many resources out there to use. You just don’t know what you will discover.
I wish you all the best with your genealogy research.
Hi Roger, take those ancient linneages with a HUGE grain of salt. They come without any documentary evidence.
FamilySearch is a great tool but its older trees (before 1800) are of little to no value. The first rule of genealogy is document. The second rule of genealogy is document. The third rule of genealogy is document. You can be guaranteed that those three rules weren’t followed in most of those ancient case.
FamilySearch puts the meticulous, experience genealogist on the same egalitarian footing as the sloppy armchair historian who thinks a surname is more than enough evidence to prove ancestry. This isn’t a bad thing. I am definitely not a meticulous and experienced genealogist but I am confident I’ve made a number of high quality documented contributions to the shared family tree of my ancestors and related individuals.
The armchair historian can grab any ancient text and just start adding names. This is why some people are finding Adam and Eve or King Arthur in their family histories, even though it’s extremely hard to get reliable records dating back into the 1700’s for much of the world (the best that I’ve got documentary evidence for three of my linneages is the very late 1700’s for prominent or historically noteworthy ancestors).
I once followed a family tree on Ancestry that went back to at least 1000. I thought to myself “how is this even accurate”, and “where is the evidence”.
But I thought to myself that I would continue to follow the line back to see what they came up with.
This is amazing, I didn’t know that there is already something like this but unfortunately I did not find anything about me. Do you have somewhere any instructions how to do it properly? Because it’s sound interesting and I am interested to find something about me or about my family. Thank you
That’s a shame. Where in the world are you from may I ask. The countries featured on this site are mostly western countries.
Please check out this helpful guide to FamilySearch.
All the best with your genealogy research.
I have seen many commercials on tv that offers this as a paid service. I was always curious about the process, how it works and what it includes but was not willing to risk spending monmey on a service without knowing if the results I received would be worth it. Thank you for sharing where I can begin the process of researching my family history for free. I will definitely utilize this resource that offers so many help tools if I get lost!
There are plenty of resources out there that can help you and many of them are free.
You can check out My Free Guides to Genealogy, which will help you out a lot.