5 Minute Family History Series: Get Started in FamilySearch by Recording What You Know

Because FamilySearch works on the premise of one world tree, creating your tree on this site is a bit different than some genealogy sites. You will create living people (even if your mom/brother/aunt has already created them under their personal login in FamilySearch). And then, when you reach the first deceased person in your line, you will search for a possible preexisting record, before creating a deceased person manually. You will always manually create living people. You will manually create a deceased person only if no other record for that person already exists.

Here’s how it looks:

1) Login at FamilySearch.org (Don’t have a login yet? It’s free! Just see this post for instructions):

2) Click on Family Tree and then Tree:

3) Begin entering your family (first a parent, followed by grandparents, etc.) by clicking + Add Father + Add Mother, as appropriate:

4) If they are living, as in the example below, enter information that you know and make sure you mark them as Living to protect their privacy (you can always add additional information later) and finally, click Next:

5) Click Create Person:

6) Repeat adding additional family members:

7) When you reach the first deceased person in your line, the system will help you search for a possible preexisting record in FamilySearch, before creating them manually. After clicking the + Add … link, be sure to set the status as Deceased, and ensure you select a standardized birth date and birthplace from the drop down lists (look for the green check mark). After entering the details you know, click Next:

8) If you find your deceased relative from the resulting list, select Add Match or even Add Couple Match (as in the example below). Otherwise create manually as you did any living persons:

9) Because I was able to add deceased relatives from preexisting people records in FamilySearch, now instead of + Add Father and + Add Mother, there is an arrow indicating additional family genealogy is already there for my review:

10) By clicking the arrow I see additional generations unfold from the one world tree. From here I can review others’ research, and add photos, stories and documents. And of course, I will take the time to follow the same process on the maternal line as well: 

5 Minute Family History Series: Create a FamilySearch Login

© 2015 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

With over 1 million registered users, one of the most popular family history websites is FamilySearch.org. Access billions of searchable names, and research millions of new records added monthly, simply by creating a free registered account. The site offers a unique concept of collaborating on a single, world family tree. In addition, the site supports free storage for stories, documents, and pictures. Two supported FamilySearch mobile apps (Tree and Memories) for iOS and Android keep you constantly connected to your family history research, and are also free. Although operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, church membership is not required for site access and use.

To create a login, follow these steps:

1) Go to FamilySearch.org, and click Free Account in the upper right corner of the page:

2) Complete the required fields in Account Information including First Name, Last Name, User Name, and Password. Make note of the User Name; this is what you will use each time you login. When done, click Continue:


3) Next under Recovery Options (used if you forget your password), enter only one option: email or mobile phone, and then click Continue:

4) Finally, complete Personal Information including a Contact Name. Note the Contact Name is what other site users will see and it may differ from your User Name you created for login. Consider avoiding potentially embarrassing names like ihearthughjackman (unless you really do heart Hugh Jackman, of course, and honestly, who can blame you). Finish by completing the selections for gender, country, birth date, and LDS church membership Y/N (membership is not required for access). Ensure you are not a robot, agree to terms, and then click Create an Account:

That’s it! Congratulations, you’ve just registered for access to one of the foremost genealogy sites in the world!