Genealogy at a Glance: FamilySearch.org Research
By George G. Morgan
FamilySearch is the family history arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest genealogy organization in the world. The Church began microfilming genealogical records as far back as 1938, with digitization following in 1998. Since then one of its chief goals has been to digitize as many records as possible and place them online.
FamilySearch.org is available to the public free of charge and offers search and browse access to all of its materials. At the present time the site contains more than 3.5 billion records, tens of thousands of genealogies and family trees, and thousands of digitized books. Among other things
- You can use the site to upload your family tree, family photos, stories, and document images.
- You can produce a pedigree chart or fan chart of your family tree.
- You can search or browse the contents of FamilySearch’s enormous collection of genealogical records and user-submitted genealogies.
- You can use the FamilySearch Wiki to help you research more than 75,000 articles.
- You can use the Learning Center’s online courses and video tutorials free of charge.
The website has many sophisticated tools, and the purpose of this Genealogy at a Glance (GAAG) piece is to provide an outline of its most useful features. At the heart of this effort, George G. Morgan, also the author of GAAG Ancestry.com Research, describes the functions available through the primary navigation tools--Family Tree, Memories, and Search. Incredibly, the key to understanding and using these tools is provided here in a mere four pages, in a laminated folder designed for heavy use in the traditional GAAG manner. Without fuss or confusion it cuts through a formidable body of genealogical materials to guide you straight to your goal, helping you to set research strategies at a glance. Given the breathtaking scope of FamilySearch.org and its many pathways, the experience should be rewarding.