FamilySearch Hints with the title Mobile genealogy research

How To Do Free Genealogy Research With the FamilySearch App

The mobile app from FamilySearch helps you do genealogy when you’re short on time or away from your computer. Use this free genealogy app to research your family tree quickly. 

Life is busy, and many of us want to climb our family tree on the go. In this video, I show you how to use the FamilySearch mobile app to research your family tree when you’re not at a computer to do it. 

FamilySearch App: How To Do Genealogy Research With a Smart Phone or Tablet
Watch this video on YouTube.

FYI: This video from RootsTech About the FamilySearch Mobile App Updates is long but shows you the Mac mobile screen views. Our video showcases the Android experience.

FamilySearch Mobile App

FamilySearch has a free mobile app that allows you to modify the family trees and explore records. According to the app’s product description the FamilySearch App

“The FamilySearch Tree app makes it easy to add to, edit, or share your own family’s history anywhere you can take a phone or tablet. Since the app syncs with the FamilySearch website, changes or additions you make are available on any device.”

Google Play Store

In short, FamilySearch is the best genealogy website for frugal genealogists. 

Steps for Researching With the FamilySearch Mobile App

For me, mobile genealogy happens when I have WiFi access. I’m either waiting for my children at their activities or in doctor’s offices. As such, I’m looking for “Quick Wins.”

Access the Mobile Menu and click on “Ancestors With Tasks.” 

This screen returns hints from FamilySearch that you can begin to evaluate. 

Warning: Depending on the WiFi connection you have, this list may take a long, long time to populate.

Select a Person With Tasks to Evaluate 

Again, I’m on the go, so I typically look for names I recognize. (In this tutorial, I selected my grandmother’s birth father -- Delbert Arthur Hankinson). 

Familiarize Yourself With the Selected Ancestor

Review the previously discovered details about your “Ancestors With Tasks.” 

Pay attention to

  • Their name
  • Their birth date and place
  • Their death date and place
  • Their parents’ and sibling(s)’ names and ages
  • Their spouse(s)’ and children’s names and ages
  • Look for other identifying details.

Explore previously attached sources.

Evaluate Research Hints from the FamilySearch Mobile App

The FamilySearch mobile app brings the power of genealogy research into a tiny device. You still need to determine if the hint is valid.

  1. Click on the blue hint icon near your ancestor’s profile picture (or blank graphic circle). 
  2. Select a record hint. Typically I chose census, vital, or burial records when I’m on the go. I save more complicated documents for when I”m at my computer.
  3. Evaluate the accuracy of the record. For more tips, check out this post about evaluating a death record or a Find A Grave page. 
  4. Always look at the original image! In this video, I show one of the reasons why. You have to watch to find out. 

Save Record Hints to FamilySearch Family Tree

If you decide the record hint should be attached to your ancestor, then click “Attach Record.” 

The FamilySearch Mobile App is MUCH easier to use when transferring information from the records to the family tree. HOWEVER, you must not skip a crucial step when you’re attaching documents to the tree. I’ll talk about that in a moment.

The record information is on the left, and the FamilySearch family tree profile for your ancestor is on the right. 

Select which information you want to migrate from the left to the right using the “Attach” prompts. 

If you want to overwrite information in your tree from information on the record, click the pencil icon beside the relevant facts.

You can then edit the appropriate fields you wish to update and explain why you made the change in the “Reason to Change” box before you press save.

Once you have completed your edits and migrated new information to the right side of the source linker screen, you’re ready to complete the attachment process.

EXCEPT!

Except there is a “Reason to Attach” box that you should really take advantage of. Write a brief note as to what information you found in the record and why you think the information belongs to your ancestor. 

(By the way, in the video, I show you how you can voice type your reason statements. Isn’t mobile technology the best?)

THEN, you can click “Attach to Tree.

Use the Mobile App to Update Multiple Persons from the FamilySearch Family Tree

When you find a record that names multiple persons, you can quickly update the FamilySearch family tree using the mobile app. (I really like the interface FamilySearch uses to make this possible.)

After you’ve updated the person you started with, FamilySearch will prompt you with whether you want to add details for additional people named in the record. 

FamilySearch will open the profiles for family members that might match your records. 

If the record matches these individuals, you can repeat the source linking process to attach this record to additional relatives. 

Take Your Genealogy Research On The Go with FamilySearch

The free FamilySearch App is the perfect tool for busy people who love family history. There are many other things that you can do with the FamilySearch mobile app.

I typically like to exhaust these record hints when I’m around towns and away from the house. 

Go ahead and try out the FamilySearch Mobile App. You can access it from Google Play or the Apple Store

If you have more questions, let me know below.   

FamilySearch Hints with the title Mobile genealogy research

Continue Learning About FamilySearch

Review the following blogs and videos for more tips about FamilySearch

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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