Navigate to the RecordsBegin your search for information on FamilySearch Historical Records in one of three ways:
- Use the search box at the top of the page (which searches for names across all collections)
- Browse by Location to view record groups available for that region
- Select All Record Collections for a browseable list.
Search Tips for FamilySearch Historical RecordsThere are SO many records online at FamilySearch now that a general search often turns up hundreds if not thousands of irrelevant results. Sometimes this leads people to claim that FamilySearch has nothing on their family. Do keep in mind as you search, however, that these are historical records. While FamilySearch does have some records with information on living or recently deceased individuals, this is not true of the majority of their collections.
Use Advanced Search – Click on the Advanced Search link below the search box to narrow your search by a particular date and event (e.g. someone born in Oklahoma about 1908).
Narrow by Relationship – Click on the Advanced Search link below the search box and then Relationship to narrow your search by entering either the name of a parent or spouse. This search technique is especially useful for locating siblings - just enter the surnames of both the mother and the father and leave everything else blank. If the two surnames are common you will need to either add one or both first names as well, or narrow by location. You can also use this technique when searching a particular record collection (see below).
Search by Collection – A general search almost never works well for me unless I'm searching for someone with a very unusual name. For best results, I almost always start a new search at FamilySearch by browsing by location down to a particular record collection (e.g. North Carolina Deaths, 1906-1930). You can also use the "Narrow by Relationship" technique discussed above within each collection (e.g. use parent surnames only to find married female children in the N.C. Deaths collection)
Show Preview – Once your search has returned a list of results, click on the little upside-down triangle to the right of each search result to open a more detailed preview. This reduces the time than clicking back and forth between the results list and the result pages.
Filter Your Results - If you're searching across multiple collections at one time, use the Category list in the left-hand navigation bar to narrow your results by category. This is useful for filtering out census records, for example, which often end up topping results lists. Once you've narrowed to a particular category (Births, Marriages & Deaths, for example), the left-hand nav bar will list record collections within that category, with the number of results that match your search query next to each collection title.
If you find that you really get a lot from the free genealogy records available at FamilySearch, you can thank the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who have generously donated their time to help to index these new collections through FamilySearch Indexing. If you're interested in volunteering yourself, the software is easy to download and use, and instructions are well thought out and generally self-explanatory. A little of your time can help get that genealogy record online for someone else who is searching for it - for free!