Senior woman working on a computer with the title: Hints: How to Research FamilySearch Clues

How to Use FamilySearch Record Hints to Easily Do Genealogy

Family Search gives you lots of record hints. Do you ever wonder, how do you use them? Should you save the clues to your family tree? Learn how to use FamilySearch record hints to easily climb your family tree. 

In this video, discover the basics of researching your ancestors by evaluating the suggested hints available in FamilySearch.org. Let FamilySearch.org do the hard work of finding records for your ancestors. 

How to Use FamilySearch.org Hints to Easily Do Genealogy - Beginner Basics
Watch this video on YouTube.

How Accurate are FamilySearch Record Hints?

I love any website that tries to do some of my genealogy research for me. However, we need to be careful when we decide whether we accept the hints from an online genealogy website. 

FamilySearch records hints appear to be reasonably accurate, but they still need human evaluation. 

How to Access FamilySearch Record Hints

From the FamilySearch home page in the browse, in the right column, you’ll see a box with “Recommended Tasks.” 

If you have a full family tree and you’re not sure where to being researching, this is the best place to find a branch where you can contribute to your family tree.

You may find research hints on the page that contains all of the research discoveries for your ancestor. I call this the Personal Profile Page. In the right column, you’ll see blue icons representing record hints. The hints are listed by record names.

Steps to Evaluating a FamilySearch Record Hint

  • Select one Ancestor’s Hint
  • Review Your Relationship to That Relative
  • Review the Personal Profile Page for this Ancestor
    • Make a note of their vital events
    • Familiarize yourself with their parents’ and siblings’ names
    • Notice the spouse(s) and children for the relative
    • Also, explore what sources other researchers have already found for your ancestor.
  • Look at the Record Hints and Select the First One To Investigate
    • Is the record for the right period your ancestor lived?
    • Is the record for the correct location where your ancestors lived? (Be careful, sometimes our ancestors appear where we least expect.)
    • Are the relationships right on the record to what you previously discovered?
    • Are there any additional identifying details that confirm the record applies to your ancestor?
  • If the Record Hint Applies to Your Ancestor, Attach the Record to Your Family Tree 
    • Accept the hint
    • Transfer new details from the record to the family tree
    • Explain why you are attaching the document to the family tree.
  • If the Record Hint Does Not Apply to Your Ancestor, Reject the Hint
    • Click on the “Not a Match” link
    • Explain why the record hint does not apply to your ancestor.

The best way to learn all of these steps is to watch the video. I demonstrate step-by-step how I evaluate a record hint from the front page and from my ancestor’s profile page. 

Screenshot of hints from FamilySearch with title Genealogy Tips: Research FamilySearch Hints
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Continue Learning About FamilySearch

Review the following blogs and videos for more tips about using 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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