FamilySearch.org

FamilySearch.org

FamilySearch.org is one of the largest and most trusted websites for genealogical research for several reasons. As many may already know, this site is run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This site is completely free for all to use, whether they are members of the LDS Church or not.

With over 100 years of experience collecting and preserving records, the LDS Church created a website to digitize their vast collection, which grows daily due to worldwide digitization projects (indexing) manned by an international army of volunteer indexers working from home.

This site sets itself apart from the rest not only by its pricing, but the sheer volume of records one can access as well as the degree of assistance which is available in a variety of forms – anywhere from online self-instruction videos or step-by-step tutorials, to online chat (24/7) or honest to goodness live help at one of the 4,600 Family History Centers operated and manned by volunteers. In an industry where the customer service of other companies is concerned primarily with billing of technical support, having assistance from another genealogist is priceless.

The site is robust and filled with helpful hints and tips on the WIKI pages with topics for new genealogists and those whom are more seasoned. 

The Good

  • Features
  • Free membership
  • Mobile app

FamilySearch.org is a top-notch site which has many features integrated to make family research easier. These include:

  • Access to census records (1790-1940)
  • SSDI database
  • Family tree building (with several layouts to view and print data - traditional pedigree, fan and dependency)
  • Free membership (upon signing up with a membership, users can determine the level of privacy which they want as far as allowing other members to connect to them and contact them via email)
  • Access to obituaries, newspapers and books
  • Multiple language platforms
  • Comprehensive blog with educational and informative articles on family history
  • Helpful WIKI to guide research
  • Ability to upload images, documents and create life sketches of family members to bring their records to life
  • Data protection - when duplicates or errors are found, members email their notes through on onsite system with their information corrections and documentation to try and reduce duplicates and correct errors
  • Puzilla.org (run by FamilySearch.org) gives additional opportunities to research dependency and find cousins (also free)
  • Mobile app allows for quick additions on the run
  • Volunteer opportunities for all to help digitize (index) records from home to increase the digital databases available
  • Huge network of Family History Centers (worldwide) at which to receive free help from other genealogists
  • Social Media presence with helpful tips - Facebook, Twitter and Google+
  • YouTube Channel with instructional videos

The Bad

  • Web freezes

Our review team noticed that when adding family members into their family trees (especially when importing them from another member's tree), the page can freeze up and needs to be reloaded by clicking another link and then going back into the tree page. This seems to happen during the times which internet traffic is higher. While not a full crash, this can become frustrating when working on building your trees.

The developers obviously worked hard to make the site user friendly. There is a learning curve to its use and it is not always intuitive.

The Bottom Line

Our review team is confident in recommending FamilySearch.org for anyone wanting to begin their family history research or to expand the branches of their family tree. This site is well-planned and offers access to records which other sites charge (sometimes hefty fees) to access. Having so many venues for personal help, not only with the functionality of the site (technical), but with the research itself make this site a real bargain - indeed a treasure even.

54 FamilySearch.org Reviews

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  • User Score

    10

    June 10th, 2017

    I am a big fan of FamilySearch. I have been using it for several years now and have found it to be a very effective tool for both locating and learning about my ancestors. I like that it is constantly being updated with new information. Their fan charts are great for those of us who are visual learners and I have also enjoyed their new relative finder feature.

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    1 0
  • User Score

    10

    June 8th, 2017 Neenah, WI

    Family Search is one of the most helpful family history sites that I know of! I am a family history consultant and the first place I go with people who are new to family history is to Family Search.

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    1 0
  • User Score

    8

    June 8th, 2017

    Really great service that is easy to use. The free membership is nice to have. Site can give some issues at times but overall it's pretty good.

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    1 0
  • User Score

    9

    June 8th, 2017

    I like how the LDS church has been able to find thousands upon thousands of records. I have had a hard time looking for my ancestors on other websites but this website is the place I turn too when I want accurate results. I also like the feature of being able to index because when I don't have much luck finding my own ancestors I have a chance to help others through indexing.

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    1 0
  • User Score

    9

    June 7th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

    I love using Family search, it's a lot of fun reading about my family and where I came from. There is a lot of good things about it. I do find that it's hard to use unless you take class that teaches you about it.

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    0 0
  • User Score

    9

    May 31st, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

    This is a great site to start researching your family tree. It's pretty user friendly and it's free.

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    1 0
  • User Score

    9

    May 29th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

    I like that their site is free to use and has a variety of resources and records.

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    1 0
  • User Score

    10

    May 26th, 2017

    Familysearch.org is the first site I visit when I do my geneological research. It is pretty comprhensive and the best part is-IT"S FREE!. I love how people have submitted stories and pictures of common relatives. I have been able to learn alot about my ancestors.

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  • User Score

    9

    May 26th, 2017 Ogden, UT

    Family Search has provided me with the services to learn about my heritage and family history, although it isn't necessarily user-friendly. I have enjoyed the features that allow you to add in memories of ancestors.

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  • User Score

    0

    February 5th, 2017 Tacoma, WA

    Where to start! Their search engine works 1% of the time. It appears they are using 2-3 DIFFERENT search engines, when you try and add a family member that you found via one engine on their site, that person will not be on the others and FORGET adding them to your tree because that feature either does not exist or out right does not work. Nothing on this site seems to function on either IE nor Chrome. Move on, I repeat move on and never look back

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    0 1
  • User Score

    6

    January 13th, 2017

    Good site to create a family tree but you need to join to get any more information ... they do not offer monthly payments, only yearly; in which does not suit me.

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    0 0
  • User Score

    0

    December 1st, 2015 Mobile, AL

    This is so bad!!!!! I cannot delete a certain person who by the way I did not add from my tree, nor can I make another tree or delete my current tree!!!!! Please fix until then I'm giving a zero out of 2 million 120 thousand 14

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    0 0
  • User Score

    5

    November 20th, 2015 Ririe, ID

    www.familysearch.com is a wonderful website. But very frustrating at times. You have to know about Pandora Hope Chest... try to understand how to download it and make it work. You also have to pay for it. I would think more people would enjoy doing more family history if the website its self had those tools to search for baptisms and confirmations that need to be done, instead of scrolling through tons of names. Awesome program though!

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  • User Score

    4

    August 22nd, 2015

    Probably the best site for research, but the worst for building an on-line tree. The good bit is the IGI (International Genealogical Index), a database based on microfilmed records from all over the world. The bad bit is its attempt to build a world tree. The site encourages you to create your family tree with them, but your tree is not yours! Anyone can modify it with accurate or completely inaccurate information, trees are even open to vandalism. Trying to keep your tree the way you want it is an impossible task. Another word of warning; anything you add to your tree cannot be removed and is visible to anyone visiting the site (apart from items attached to individuals entered as living). Beware too of information added by LDS members, a good deal of this is speculation with no basis in fact. So, a great site for reserch (with a little caution), but one to be avoided for family tree building!

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  • User Score

    9

    July 31st, 2015 Woods Cross, UT

    I love and do work on my genealogy using FamilySearch.org several timers every week! It still has some glitches but over all it is very user friendly and the best out of all the other cites for genealogy.

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  • User Score

    6

    July 30th, 2015 Willmar, MN

    I love the fact that family history is free but I always forget my passord and username. My problem, not yours.

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    0 0
  • User Score

    8

    July 28th, 2015 Bellevue, NE

    When adding a GEDCOM file to FamilySearch, each entry had to be verified and I had many. Was a lot of work.

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    0 0
  • User Score

    10

    July 27th, 2015 Salt Lake City, UT

    Familysearch is my go-to site for all things family history. I love that I can add sources, edit information that is incorrect and add my reasons for doing so, carefully merge duplicate individuals, and add or see photos and memories that others have added. Familysearch also allows me to search their extensive database of historical records which tireless volunteers have indexed. The beauty of familysearch is that family members all over the world who have access to the internet can read information and feel connected to our family! While in the Philippines my son would frequently read stories about his ancestors that gave him strength and courage. I access familysearch almost daily and LOVE it.

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    0 0
  • User Score

    10

    July 27th, 2015 Saint George, UT

    I love familysearch.org. Some have complained about mistakes in their trees. It is usually fairly easy to correct the mistake and add documentation to prove what has been corrected. This seems to work very well. The search engine is excellent although it would be nice to have a feature to update information in my tree when a record is attached. Overall, I think it is a marvelous site which continually gets better. Kudos!

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    0 0
  • User Score

    6

    July 26th, 2015 Concord, MA

    I find the ability of others to add incorrect info to my tree areal issue with other site only the creator can change.My ggf never cam to this country but someone added a headstone and date of 1945 .Also I do not want to remember my ggp by their headstones but so one went in and added all their headstones pics. I have found the site useful just like to be able it to be MY tree Let me decide who can add to it.

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    0 0