2020 by Donald R. Snow

This page was last updated 2020-01-05.  Return to the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page  or  Don Snow's Class Listings Page .
ABSTRACT: The secret to working with family history and computers is not knowing all the answers, but knowing where to find all the answers.  (And, about computers, sometimes that's to ask a grandkid!)  This class will discuss places where you can find how to do what you need to in family history and computers.  Among other things, we will discuss the FamilySearch Helps, the FamilySearch Wiki,
the Family History Guide, online videos from several sources, and search engines such as Google.  There will be time for you to ask questions and tell us what you are interested in.  The notes and related articles for this class, all with active Internet links, are on Don's website .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow of St. George and Provo, Utah ( ).
  2. These notes, with active Internet links and other related articles, are posted on Don's website .
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for the URL for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon that is in front of the address in your browser to your desktop.  (2)  To open a link while keeping your place on this page, hold down the Control key while clicking the link, so it opens in a new tab.
  4. This class will discuss where you can find answers online for your family history and computer questions.

  6. FamilySearch Helps --
  7. FamilySearch Wiki --
  8. The Family History Guide --
  9. UVTAGG (Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group) --
  10. YouTube videos --
  11. Google and other search engines --
  12. Not online, but an excellent place for help, is your local Family History Center -- in St. George that's the FamilySearch Center on the block south of the Temple --
  13. Any of these, and many others, could be an entire class -- see other notes on my webpage

  15. On the FamilySearch website the Help Menu icon is in the upper right -- click on the pick arrow (downward pointing trriangle) by the word Help and you see:  What can we help you with?, Help Center, Getting Started, Contact Us, Learning Center, Community, My Cases, Research Wiki, What's New, and Helper Resources. 
  16. The Help Center menu has 16 topic icons for FamilySearch, so there is lots to explore here  
  17. Te FamilySearch What's New on the Help Menu has 44 pages going back to 2010 -- -- click Next at the bottom to go to other pages 
  18. How to use FamilySearch -- On the Church website, but not on FamilySearch
  19. The FamilySearch Blog link is at the bottom of most pages and now has 195 pages with notes starting in 2009 -- -- click Next at the bottom to go to other pages
  20. The FamilySearch Community has 100s of FamilySearch groups which you can read and join for specific questions -- you have to be logged in with your LDS or FamilySearch account --
  21. FamilySearch Facebook Groups exist for many interests -- go to  and search for things like FamilySearch
  22. To get back to the FamilySearch Home Page from anywhere in FamilySearch click on the FamilySearch icon in upper left corner
  23. There is so much that it's hard to keep up with it all, but one of these locations may be just what you need

  25. You can get to the Wiki from the Helps Menu or from the Search Menu on the FamilySearch Home Page or directly from --
  26. The Wiki now contains more than 90,000 articles about family history, computers, and related topics
  27. Read "New to the Wiki" to get started --
  28. "Wiki" means it can be edited by anyone who is authorized, so it is updated constantly by hundreds of people and has much information
  29. The articles are about research, history, geography, time periods, events, computers, software, libraries, locations, and more.
  30. Try searching in the Wiki for some country, e.g. "Ecuador" and see its history, civil registration, where to write for records, church records available, links to further information, and more 
  31. If someone asks you "How do you ... in family history?", before you say you don't know, try the FamilySearch Wiki for answers.

  33. The FH Guide is a free website at  sponsored by  The Family History Guide Association , a group of volunteers who can always use contributions of money or expertise, but neither are required to use it  
  34. The URL extension is .com, but it is free -- the first page says, "Your free learning, research, training, and activities center for family history."
  35. Can be read in many languages, so it's helpful world-wide; contains a broad collection of introductory and advanced lessons, videos, projects, and training for family history and computers; goal is to teach you what you want, so skip what you already know or are not interested in
  36. Home page  has a good 2-minute introductory Overview Video and Get Started icon gives you lots of good starting info
  37. 16-minute BYU video on YouTube by Ann Tanner about The FH Guide -- 
  38. Use the  SEARCH  button, to find info about specific topics, e.g. there are over 900 articles on Utah on the site   
  39. Scroll down on the Home Page to see many icons, e.g., Topics lists all their topics alphabetically and the list goes on for pages  
  40. Click on The Family History Guide icon (upper left corner) to go back to the Home page from any other page  
  41. Examples of content and lessons
    1. COMPUTER BASICS -- if you want a better understanding of how the computer works
    2. FAMILY HISTORY BASICS -- how to get started in genealogy, things to look for, what to do first, how to keep track of what you have found 
    3. FAMILYSEARCH FAMILY TREE -- how to sign in and use FamilySearch Family Tree
    4. COUNTRIES AND ETHNIC -- QUIKLinks for states and countries with data from several sources
    5. TRAINER RESOURCES -- helpful for self-training and for helping others, includes Tracker sheets to keep track of what a person is learning and what to do next  
    6. CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS -- special information for Church members doing family history
  42. There is a free newsletter you can subscribe to keep up to date

  44. Home Page is -- -- Goal is to help people use technology to help with their family history; organization is 30 years old now; started in Jan 1991 at BYU 
  45. Don's webpage is under Resources on here --    
  46. Meetings are on second Saturdays in Provo and are broadcast live and posted on Facebook -- the link to watch live or later is on UVTAGG Home Page or go to and search for UVTAGG
  47. Main presentations and a class are done each time and live and recent videos are free to everyone, but older ones (over 400 now) are limited to UVTAGG members ($15/year)
  48. Monthly email newsletter is TAGGology with 20 or more pages and lots of helpful articles; I write Don's Freeware Corner article every month
  49. Good place to keep up with new things in technology and family history

  51. Google and other search engines are a major help -- try Googling "windows 10 helps" or "genealogy research Minnesota" (without the quotes
  52. Google's YouTube has loads of helpful videos --  and -- search for things like "familysearch" or "BYU family history" of "california genealogy resources"
     (without the quotes)
  53. To get the best results you need to know basic search techniques, e.g. for Google, using quote marks around a name, e.g. "Joseph Smith", means you want that exact expression, not all pages with both Joseph and Smith on them; see more Google info on class notes on my webpage
  54. There are 100s of search engines, e.g. DuckDuckGo and Dogpile -- each has its own characteristics and some are metasearch engines, that is, they show you results from several search engines, Dogpile is an example  


  55. FamilySearch Catalog --
  56. Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter - EOGN -- -- Has a free version and a paid version
  57. The Family History Daily  
  58. Family Tree Magazine Free Genealogy Cheatsheets  

  60. There is a wealth of helpful information online about family history and computers and these notes just get you started and there is much more. 
  61. If you need to, phone the Church Family History Dept, 1-866-406-1830 (Note that the number is the day the Church was organized!) 
  62. Remember:  "Small deeds done are better than big deeds planned."  Good luck.

  63. Return to  Don's Family History Class Notes Page .