For anyone who is not familiar, FamilySearch.org is a site where you can access free Family History records. I use my Family Search account regularly, It is one of the two sites I use most when researching my family history online, the other is Ancestry.co.uk. I always mention them together because I use them side by side. A FamilySearch account is free, and Ancestry.co.uk is paid although they do offer a free trial if you wanted to check it out.
Ancestry.co.uk I find useful because I can keep my tree private, and then any errors I make remain my own. With FamilySearch.org everyone essentially works on one big worldwide family tree which I also find useful because if I get stuck then I can use this tree for guidance. If I can’t find records on one site, then I might find them on the other. For me they work in unison, but I know that not everyone will research in the same way.
Using the Family Tree App
I spent Tuesday evening at our local Family History Library where I showed the patrons some cool features I found on the Family Tree App (by FamilySearch.org), and affiliated websites. These are some of the fun ways you can use your FamilySearch account:
1. Relatives Around Me
The Family Tree App has this cool feature that you can use to find out if you are related to the people near you. All you (and your friend) have to do is download the app, sign in to your FamilySearch account and click “Scan for Friends”. The app will then tell you if you have a relative in common. I wasn’t related to anyone in the Family History Centre on Tuesday night, but it did find the relationship for the Father/Son that were in there, as you would expect. If anyone wants to scan me ever I’d be up for that. One of my family history goals is to link my and my husband’s families together somehow. The scan showed that we were not related.
2. Map My Ancestors
This all started because I was looking for a site that would be able to show me where my ancestors lived, I was hoping for hotspots on a map, where you can move a timeline or similar. If anyone knows anything like that then please leave me a comment, I’d love to check it out.
Family Tree App has a feature where you can see where your ancestors lived. You can choose either direct line ancestors (eg grandparents, great grandparents and so on), or you can switch that off and see everyone in your tree within 15 generations. Here is my map:
When you click on a name you can see your relationship, and it shows their life’s migration. It doesn’t surprise me that most of my tree is gathered there in South East England, where I am originally from.
3. Baby Ancestry
Babyancestry.com is a fun little site where you can scan your FamilySearch tree to create a list of suggested names for your baby. I signed in with my Family Search account and these are some of my results:
I think the name Lettice should come back into fashion. I’ll suggest it to my children when the time comes…
4. Relative Finder
RelativeFinder.org uses your family search account to find famous people that you are related to. In my experience they are distant, distant relatives but it shows you the relative you have in common and how you are both related to that person. The site was made by an American University, so it includes categories that you might want to switch off, for example: Constitution signers, famous Americans, declaration signers, that might not mean a great deal to you (unless you are American). Here are some of my 12th cousins:
5. One Page Genealogy
One Page Genealogy shows “all your genealogy on one page”. If you were looking for a cool way to chart your ancestry, then this is a great little tool. You can filter it to add the information you want to show. I chose a 13 generation pedigree so I could see where my gaps are. More gaps than I thought! Plus when you see it on screen you can easily zoom in to read what is written on the itty-bitty branches on the right. I have blanked out some personal information for the illustration, but what it would show is the persons full name, date and place of birth.
So that’s 5 ways you can use your Family Search account (other than actually using it to research and document your family history!) I hope you enjoy checking out these fun tools. Please let me know if you can think of any more.
Disclaimer: This site uses affiliate links with Ancestry.co.uk which means if you click any of the Ancestry links then I may earn a small commission. We are not affiliated with FamilySearch.org, babyancestry.com, or relativefinder.org, which are free sites. I was not motivated to share this post for the commission, I do it for the love of it.