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

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Insider Tips for the FamilySearch Family Tree

There are several lesser known links and features on the Family Tree that solve some sticky issues. Over the past couple of months, I have seen these developments or had someone point them out to me and I thought it might be a good idea to share them. I have written about some of them previously but sometimes helps to go over them again.

First on my list is the expansion of the "View My Relationship" link. Here is a screenshot showing one of my relative's connection to me.

For some time now, we have been asking for a way to see how we are related to some of our more remote relatives. Especially if we are working on descendency research, we have a tendency to get lost and forget how we got to a particular person. The expansion of the "View My Relationship" link to 15 generations has usually solved this issue. It is also somewhat helpful when the screen comes up and says the following:

However, telling me that I do not have a relationship may not be completely accurate because I may be looking at someone who was married, at some time, to one of my cousins. This screen does make me take a look at the relationship however and make sure I am still on target looking for relatives.

Record hints have become a very helpful, common feature of the Family Tree. Here is a screenshot of a list of Record Hints.

The default is to show only three hints at a time. If you want to see more, you can click on the link at the bottom that says "Show Details." Here is the complete list.

You can now see all of the available hints in detail. You may have noticed that as you add information from these records hints (after carefully considering whether or not they apply to your relative), you may find that more hints appear. This is often the case and a good reason for adding information and correcting the entries from actual records. By the way, working through this process often adds new people and available ordinance work to the Family Tree.

You might also have noticed that some severe restrictions have been placed on the ability of users to delete individuals from the Family Tree. There is now a notice that says "Delete Person Unavailable."

You must go through the process of notifying FamilySearch about people who never existed before they can be removed in most cases unless you added the person yourself and no one else has made any changes.

It is extremely important that dates and places be standardized. What you might not know is that there is a shortcut to adding a standardized date or place. All you have to do is click at the end of the entry and then touch the space bar. This quickly brings up the suggested standard date or place. You then click on the suggested place or date, assuming that it is accurate, and it replaces the entry and you can then provide a reason for the change and close the window. When doing a series of these types of edits, you may wish to copy the reason and then use it to paste in when the reason is repetitious.


  1. Another "insider tip": read through the change list before making changes, especially to pages that have had a lot of work done on them.

    I've lost count of the number of times I've removed "Pardon Tanner" from the list of John and Lydia Stewart Tanner's children. They had twelve children, their names all known, but back in the 1970s someone deduced that there was an extra child in the family (maybe through a seance?) and had him sealed into the family, and people have been placing him back into the family repeatedly. I just expanded the Discussion about the fake Pardon, and have recopied it so it moves to the top of the Discussions, but I'll let someone else remove Pardon this time, or leave him in as an example of bad genealogy.

    1. The insider tip is to watch your relatives and be proactive in remove litter.