©2016 by Donald R. Snow
This page was last updated 2016-05-16.  Return to the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page or Don's Class Listings Page .
Abstract: There is a wealth of information on the Internet about genealogy and family history and this class will discuss some of it. The usual Help key for Windows programs is F1 and many programs also have a Help icon at the top.  For FamilySearch there is an entire section in the top right corner labeled Getting Help. This includes instructions, free family history classes, the FamilySearch Wiki, and more. A new and very helpful website is The Family History Guide.  Besides all this there are manuals, handbooks, email lists, blogs, podcasts, and many other websites.  To do family history or be a family history consultant you don't have to know all the answers, just where to look to find the answers.


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. These notes with the active Internet links are posted on .
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for the URL for these notes, or any website, just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser to your desktop.  (2)  To open a link from here in another tab, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem:  Where to find answers to FH questions?  The secret of doing family history and helping others is not knowing all the answers, but knowing where to find the answers.  In this class we will only discuss a few parts of these notes and leave the rest for you to browse later.

  6. Helps available include manuals, handbooks, articles, the Research Wiki, research publications, videos, interactive lessons, PowerPoint presentations, blogs, email lists, websites, notes, phone calls, podcasts, TV shows, and more -- the LDS Church and others have produced good training materials, but they are not well-known and are sometimes hard to find.
  7. Two major places to start are FamilySearch and 
    1. -- click on Get Help (upper right corner) > Help Center -- this opens help menus; to get to the Catalog and Research Wiki, click on Search
    2. -- go to Resources > Family History and you see links to FH callings


  8. The goal, history, and services of FamilySearch are described on the "About" page (link at bottom of most FS pages) or here --
  9. Much of  is available to everyone without signing in
  10. Clicking on the FamilySearch logo (upper left) takes you back to the home page from any subpage.
  11. To get an account to access FamilySearch Family Tree or do FamilySearch Indexing, etc., click on Sign In (upper right corner) > Create New Account, then register -- two types of accounts
    1. LDS Account -- for LDS Church members -- requires your LDS membership number and birth date; recommended that you have an email address, but not required; you select your account name and password; information is checked against the LDS Church records to verify that you are an LDS member; will now show LDS temple data and you have access to FamilySearch and all the partner websites for free at home,, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, etc.
    2. FamilySearch Account -- anyone can set up one of these whether LDS or not; an email address is recommended; you select your account name and password; can be used to see and work on FamilySearch Family Tree, but does not show the LDS temple data and does not have access to the Partner websites, but you can use those for free at FHC's
  12. To recover a forgotten user name and/or password for an account go to Get Help > Help Center > FamilySearch Accounts > FAQ's; can also get to this FAQ  here
  13. With either type of account you have a Source Box to save sources, links, and other documentation -- To see your Source Box click on your name (log in button) or click on the 3-bar icon (upper right corner)


  14. Click on Get Help (upper right corner) for getting started; also many resources on Family Tree Training -- -- to get a list of FH Consultants in your ward click on Get Local Help or else use your LDS account and go to > Find Your Ward and Church > Leaders > Family History
  15. Using The FamilySearch Family Tree: A Reference Guide (18 Oct 2013) (168 pages) -- -- can download the whole pdf and print it, if you want
  16. FS FT program is a work in progress, but already has millions of names, and you can add people, data, sources, links, photos, stories, images of documents, audio clips, and more 
  17. Original data was from "new FamilySearch" and Church membership records and much was added later -- "new FamilySearch" is only viewable now and can't be edited
  18. FS FT is primarily for deceased people due to privacy laws; is a good place to store and share your sourced (proven) genealogy for deceased ancestors; goal is to have a single database that everyone works on together to make it accurate, with good sources and documentation, photos, stories, documents, audio clips, etc.
  19. Private and Public Spaces on FS FT--  and -- Everyone now has a Private Space on FS FT where they can enter living people and only they can see them; you can do this to connect yourself to deceased people in FS FT or to show your own descendants; the same living people can be in many Private Spaces; when a death date is entered they can be transferred to the Public Space and merged so everyone can see them
  20. Highly recommended that you keep a copy of all your data and sources for living and dead in a genealogy record management program on your own computer, using a program like Ancestral Quest, RootsMagic, or Legacy -- then no matter what happens to FS FT you have the correct information
  21. Video lessons about FamilySearch and Family Tree are on  and
  22. FamilySearch Sandbox -- Instructions and trial data to work with so you don't foul up the real file -- -- very helpful to learn on; when the data gets messed up, you just reset it and start over
  23. Start with your closest deceased relatives to verify and correct your ancestors' information; this makes the file more accurate and often leads to additional temple work
  24. Good 4-minute video about descendancy research to find temple work needed -- Teach Yourself and Others: New Online Training (Oct 2014) -- on the FamilySearch Blog 
  25. Video about policies for temple names submission --

  27. The Family History Guide -- -- comprehensive instructions about family history and FamilySearch
  28. Site Map of FamilySearch website -- -- can also get to it by link at the bottom of many FS pages; very helpful diagram of all pages on FamilySearch
  29. YouTube videos by FamilySearch -- -- 111 videos by FamilySearch as of Oct 2014
  30. FamilySearch Catalog (FSC) -- old name was Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) -- go to Search > Catalog
    1. Lists all the resources, films, and books in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City -- several million entries all searchable by title, author, keywords -- keyword searches usually give more hits
    2. Now contains links to more than 160,000 genealogy books in pdf (as of Oct 2014) that you can read, search, and download
    3. Example -- -- Click on the word here in the red note "To view a digital version of this item click here" to see a pdf of the book that the Snow family gave permission to the Family History Library to digitize and post online
    4. The digitized books are also listed on Search > Books
    5. The Catalog now has links to digitized versions of microfilmed records; for example, Monroe County, Indiana Marriages -- -- clicking takes you to the Search Records page for the digital collections
  31. Research Wiki -- Search > Wiki -- takes you to
    1. A "wiki" is a collaborative webpage, so anyone can view it and those with permission can edit it   
    2. Has over 80,000 articles (Oct 2014) and is a major source of FH research help, includes the updated FH Library Research Outlines, guides, and genealogy word lists
    3. Does not include genealogy data, only information about how to find it
    4. Example -- Search > Wiki > St. George, Utah - takes you to  which shows more than 600 articles with information about St. George, Utah 
    5. The Wiki includes many websites for FH research, including all the old FH Library Favorites websites
    6. To answer a FH research question, ask yourself, "Let's see what the Wiki says."
  32. Search Records-- a major source of records from all over the world; billions of names in the databases; many filters for searching; can save info to "Your Source Box" and/or link to your ancestors; volunteers world-wide are indexing about 1 million records per day -- searching this collection requires an entire class by itself and won't be discussed here -- see more details in other notes on my Class Notes webpage --
  33. Research Assistance on Get Help or -- -- has a box to enter a question and get a list of documents that may answer that question
  34. The Knowledge Base Document ID 107551 on FamilySearch has information about Helps -- -- You can find all the Knowledge Base Documents on FS by searching for "Document ID" (without the quotes); for some you need to be signed in with an LDS account 
  35. FamilySearch Blog -- -- good way to keep updated on what's new in FS; click on the Blog link at the bottom of many FS pages
  36. FamilySearch What's New --
  37. FamilySearch's Facebook page --
  38. Various newsletters you can sign up to receive on FamilySearch, FH in the Church, etc. -- go to Settings (by your name) to subscribe 
  39. Anyone with an LDS Church FH calling can find information about it on > Resources > Family History -- takes you to -- Note the instructions, videos, information, and Additional Resources (bottom left) for each consultant and leader calling and for temple work 
  40. FH Consultant Training -- -- Consultants should register here to receive information and so their name will be on the list of consultants for their area; has the FH Newsletters, FH Consultant Training, and 100s of FH courses in the FS Learning Center --
  41. Community discussion about FamilySearch --
  42. FamilySearch Family Tree User Group -- -- You may have to join to see some of the information
  43. FamilySearch Labs -- -- new products for public to try out and comment on including the England Jurisdiction Map of 1851 and Pedigree Viewer (Retired) which allows you to upload a large GEDCOM file and view the pedigree in various ways
  44. The LDS Church's Internet Training for FamilySearch employees and others -- -- Requires sign in with an employee account

  46. Email lists for FH
    1. [FHCNET] -- -- FHCs and helps 
    2. [LDS-WC] -- -- helpful info for anyone interested in FH
    3. [fhctech] -- -- FHCs and technical stuff
    4. Subject, locality and surname lists --  and 
  47. Blogs about FamilySearch, Family Tree, and related topics
    1. Genealogy's Star Blog by James Tanner --
    2. Renee's Genealogy Blog by Renee Zamora --
    3. The Ancestry Insider Blog -- -- discusses FamilySearch and Ancestry
  48. RootsTech videos 2012-2014 -- -- many helpful videos
  49. Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) -- > Meetings > Class Outlines -- has many classes notes, and other helps, including my class notes --
  50. Brigham Young University resources 
    1. BYU Genealogy and Family History Conference -- 28-31 Jul 2015 --
    2. BYU Independent Study --
    3. Center for Family History and Genealogy at BYU --  
    4. Introduction to Family History --
    5. BYU FH Library (HBLL) -- Resources and 2nd and 4th Sunday classes --
    6. byutv -- -- do a search for genealogy shows
  51. Riverton FamilySearch Library -- -- 3rd Saturday morning FH seminars -- notes for talks are posted for two weeks after the seminar; Riverton also has many other resources
  52. TV and radio shows from websites and places like Mormon Channel -- -- and Hulu -- -- FindMyPast, PBS, and commercial stations -- search for genealogy or family history
  53. Ancestry's webpage -- -- Learning Center is free to all and has many FH articles and links
  54. Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) -- -- lots of helpful resources
  55. George W. Scott's manual "How to Use Family Tree Wisely" -- -- can the 100-page pdf free
  56. Cyndi Howell's list of LDS FH links --
  57. History At Home: A Guide To Genealogy --
  58. Podcasts --many online and free -- do a Google search for "genealogy podcasts" (without the quotes)
  59. You can find more helps by Googling "familysearch information" or "familysearch helps" (without the quotes) or do a site search by searching for " helps" (without the quotes) on Google. 

  61. The amount of help that is available is overwhelming, but just start small and don't try to look at everything.
  62. To do family history or be a family history consultant you don't have to know everything, just know where to look for the answers.

  63. Return to the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page or Don's Class Listings Page .