Genealogy Sites - FamilySearch

FamilySearch 2013 logo.svg


FamilySearch was first launched as an internet service in 1999 on the basis of the digitilizing of its records by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), otherwise known as the Mormon Church.

Run out of Salt Lake City in Utah, FamilySearch functions as a non-profit organization providing genealogical records, education and software to all users.  You will not be asked to join the LDS Church in order to use the website.

The LDS Church’s commitment to genealogical research dates back to 1894 when it started a Family History Department.  The Church had originally intended that their family history resources were for member use, but then decided to make their entire collection available to all,  Indeed, there are partnerships in place with Ancestry, Findmypast and MyHeritage which include the sharing of large amounts of their databases with these companies.

FamilySearch today is free for anyone to use.

Genealogy Search

This online service has some 8 billion records from around the world, including birth, marriage, death, census, church, military, immigration, and probate records.  FamilySearch here has prioritized the core genealogical records.

Their geographic spread has extended into Central and South America, Africa and Asia – which the commercial sites have tended not to cover.  And FamilySearch also has Family Tree Wiki, a resource tool for new and different places.

FamilySearch, like the commercial sites, has a search engine which will allow you to search their database.  But FamilySearch, unlike these other sites, does not support your individual family tree on their site.

Instead their FamilySearch FamilyTree (FSFT) is a “one world tree,” or a unified database that aims to contain one entry for each person recorded in genealogical records. All FamilySearch users can add persons to this tree, link them to existing persons or merge duplicates.  Thus you become involved in a collaborative effort with others to build the tree.

How Does FamilySearch Compare?

FamilySearch is free.  So it is a great place to start your research and test the waters.  Later you might consider one of the commercial sites if you need to access more information.

It should be noted that FamilySearch does not support building your own family tree, as Ancestry and MyHeritage do.  However, there can be compensations.  FamilySearch may be a great place to store your ancestor records in a digitalized archive which allows others to view and possibly contribute by sharing.

Some User Comments

“I have been using Family Search for a couple of years and love it. The site is well organized and easy to navigate. Visually this site makes sense to me.  They are prompt in answering written questions. And either connect or let the user connect to information to build family trees. They also provide some of the best tutorials and supporting genealogy information!”

“As a 10-plus year member there is no better free genealogy research site out there. You can also be a part of their online indexing service. I have found a few family members in my few years of indexing. because there are so many people helping with the indexing.”

“I began my tree years ago and all was well for a while. No longer so as it’s a public domain.  Anyone can post on your family tree without support or evidence and tell outright lies under assumed names.  My other complaint is “we found a new relative” emails I receive. Most if not all are totally false, being persons not at all related to my family. Yet accepted as gospel by FamilySearch.”

“The FamilySearch program had its faults, but for a free site it provided a large amount of information. Its records search was very flexible, but from time to time upgrades were installed that created lockups and missing data.”



Click here for return to front page

Written by Colin Shelley

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *