Getting Started With Family Search

It was a good learning time about Family Search with Elder & Sister Riley at the Johnson Library in Darlington, WI on Sunday, July 27. You can still take part in the second presentation on Aug 24 as the Rileys will review what was previously covered before teaching us how to use photos and do sourcing in Family Search. But you don’t have to wait until then to get started.

The first step to getting started is to go to and create your account with a username and password. Once you have your account set up I know you will want to get started building your tree online but before getting started check your settings. On the upper right corner you will see your name with a down arrow. See my picture. familysearch_homeWhen you click the down arrow three options appear – Settings, Source Box, and Sign Out. When you click settings a list of the following information appears: Name, Username, Password, Display Name, Birth Date, Gender and Helper Number. Make sure your name, etc. is as you want it to appear on your tree. Because I use my nickname all the time and my accounts are set up with my nickname that’s what appeared in my tree when I started and I didn’t know how to change it to my given name until someone showed me how to change my settings. It was here I was able to set my birth name “Virginia Hanson” (Yes, Ladies, it needs to be your maiden name) and then set my display name with my nickname “Ginny”. Make sure you have your birth date and gender correct. Now everything will appear correctly in your tree – “You are the first entry.”

One more important thing before leaving the Settings is the Helper Number. Record that number with your username and password. If you ever need to contact the help center you will need to have that Helper Number. It will save you time if you have your number recorded in a quickly accessible place and have it ready before you contact them.

Now spend some time exploring. The best place to start is the “Get Help” above your name. It’s under the red arrow on my picture. There you will find a 3 minute video to watch on “Quick Start to Family Search” and if you click “Getting Started” you will find more videos. When you check out the Help Center you’ll find the “Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions”. In the Learning Center you will find more videos and courses. You can also check out FamilySearch Wiki.

Happy exploring and share your discoveries!


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