FamilySearch.org is a world-class free genealogy website that consistently ranks as the number two or three most visited genealogy website in the world. At the time of this post, FamilySearch.org was ranked just over 5,000 with a global rank on Alexa.com of 5,060 and a U.S. rank of 1,577 (lower numbers are better). Considering the number of websites in the world, the numbers are nothing less than phenomenal.
OK, so I have written about FamilySearch.org for years on my Genealogy's Star blog and have even published a book on the website (technically out of date), so why put this information here? The main reason is that during the past few weeks, I have been demonstrating FamilySearch.org's Family Tree to dozens of my fellow Ward members and they have almost uniformly lacked any familiarity with the website. Many had not visited the site in a very long time and others only had a vague idea that the site existed. Why is this the case? I think the reasons are complex and involve the integration and socialization of websites into the community, but that is probably a topic for another post.
My idea in starting a series on FamilySearch websites is to highlight the different sites and major resources on the different websites to help those teaching about the websites to have a basic understanding of what is available both on the main FamilySearch.org website and on other related websites sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints directed at family history. I saw a note in the Church News this week that stated that the Church had 150 websites. It looks like it is time for me to go out and do some more prospecting. I am sure I haven't seen 150 websites, although I know that they are counting the websites in different languages.
Before you start poking around in different FamilySearch websites, you may (and should) register. The main reason is that some of the available resources are not visible to those who do not register. Here is a screenshot showing you where you need to go to sign in and register:
The process of registering is fairly simple. Members of the Church need to supply a membership number, which is available from your Ward Clerk or appears on your Temple Recommend, if you have one. Those who are not members, supply some basic contact information. The difference between the two registrations is that items pertaining to Temple ordinances are not shown on pages viewed by those who are not members.
If you are signed in, you can visit all of the resources of FamilySearch.org. But in addition, there are quite a few related websites that I will talk about in future posts. Some of these are not specifically FamilySearch websites. Here is a list to begin of genealogy related sites that are not connected directly to FamilySearch.org: