Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Struggling with FamilySearch Family Tree? The solution has been available for some time

I get nearly constant feedback about family historians struggling with some aspect or another with's Family Tree program. I am reminded of some of my Christmas mornings when the presents included some particularly challenging item such as assembling a bicycle or other device. Inevitably, the process of getting the device to work properly required a resort to the operating and assembly manual. Despite this background of technological challenge, most genealogists jump into a fairly complex program such as's Family Tree, without a hesitation that it might be a good idea to read the manual (or at least refer to it) before getting deeply involved. Oh, you say, I didn't know there was a manual! Well, yes, there is and there has been almost since the day the program was introduced.

Where is the manual for FamilySearch Family Tree? Well, it resides in the link on the startup page called "Get Help." Here is a screenshot showing the link:

Once you click on the Get Help link, you get a pull-down menu of places to go:

There are two options; the Help Center or the Learning Center. If you have specific question you go to the Help Center. If you want to see the complete instructions for the whole Family Tree program, you go to the Learning Center. I will come back to the Help Center in another post. Right now, I would direct you to the Learning Center. Here is a screenshot:

Take some time to explore this huge and valuable resource. Hmm. As I look at this list of instructions, I see one that catches my eye; Manual Separation Process for Separating Incorrectly Combined Records. That one seems to be the answer to many of the questions I have fielded recently. What else is there in this vast storehouse of knowledge about genealogy, family history and specifically FamilySearch Family Tree?

How about "Finding Our Cousins: Using New Tools on" That might be helpful. I could go on and on, but then there is the pièce de résistance, the core manual for the entire program:

Family Tree Training Lessons and Videos

Here it is. The entire manual set forth in a series of short lessons on different topics. The entire program even comes in Spanish. Here are some examples:

The text reads: 
Mouse Skills: To be successful in Family Tree -- good mouse skills are necessary. If you feel your mouse skills need honing, then start here and practice. If you find that you are having difficulty controlling the mouse after you start the lessons, then don't hesitate to come back and do some mouse practice.
Here is the next topic:

The text reads:
Level one (beginning) has 7 individualized lessons that anyone can do to learn all of the basic functions of Family Tree. There are written lessons and videos when used together give the best learning experience. However, many individuals prefer to watch the videos or just do the written material.
Best of all, when you are finished using a file you can reset the file and start over.

There is much more to explore and use in these valuable resources. Don't forget to read the manual before you start and get frustrated or discouraged.

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