The Power of the Search Gateway on FamilySearch

For several months, FamilySearch has teased me with search possibilities on the the page where I view all the details of a particular ancestor. I watched as the link to search records, on the FamilySearch Records pages, evolve from a simple “search records” link to one that said “FamilySearch”. The links functionality had not changed, but the terminology had. My super-sense told me that something would be coming soon that might provide the opportunity to search more than just Recently, my hypothesis was proven correct, though little fanfare celebrated the change. I just logged in one day and noticed a difference.

When you look at the details for a particular ancestor and you look at the right hand side of the web page, you’ll see a number of options grouped in boxes. The first boxed section will populate if FamilySearch has some hints to offer you. Do not be discouraged if you do not have receive hints. That doesn’t mean there are no records available. It just means you might have to do some digging. And, a little hard work rarely hurts anyone.

This box also will have some other suggestions of potential problems and may suggest a person has a spouse or other children based on pattern assumptions. I won’t get into those boxes, just know they could be there. If you haven’t noticed this change, then you really need to log in to your account today! There could be some hints, or problems, waiting for you.

The next box is the recently enhanced feature box known as “Search Records.” In the Search Records box, you can click on four partner websites. Now, keep in mind that if you don’t have an account with these websites, you will not have access to it from FamilySearch. You will see some possible hints and then be invited to subscribe to thosee paid websites (except That’s free.)

I think this feature is not earth shattering but pretty cool. With a few clicks, I can visit these websites and the information from the FamilySearch tree will fill in the search forms on the different sites. Now, each site handles the information differently, but that’s what makes each site so unique. Each site has a different method of searching records. What you can’t find on one site is speedily uncovered on another. Keep in mind also, that the sites have a lot of similar record sets, but there is often enough differences to support investigating each.

Have fun with this new FamilySearch feature. And thank you for making it available.

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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