Family Search History

Are you interested in Family Search history? Are you currently searching for your ancestors? Are you just getting started in the pursuit of your genealogy? Whatever your level of experience, the Family Search history website at is one of the best resources available on the internet today.

Original FamilySearch

To give a brief summary of Family Search history, is the genealogy website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it was opened to the public in May of 1999. Immediately, it was immensely popular and by October of that same year it had more than 1.5 billion hits (an impressive number for a time when only half of American households had computers). By November of 1999 there were 640 million names in the FamilySearch database.

New FamilySearch

Since 2003, the LDS church has been working on a replacement site known as New FamilySearch. In November of 2005, it entered Beta testing. In June of 2007, the program began to be made available to some LDS church members; by the end of 2009, New FamilySearch will be available to all LDS church members.

On New FamilySearch, all the databases from the original FamilySearch are being linked together in pedigrees. Researchers can add more information and edit family trees in wiki-genealogy fashion.

Eventually, images of original documents will be linked to pedigrees as source citations. To help this work go forward, FamilySearch is currently orchestrating FamilySearch Indexing, in which volunteers index, or extract, census records and other documents that can be used for genealogical research. These will eventually be made available free online.

Some of the other exciting things projects underway at New FamilySearch include:

  • FamilySearch Pilot: at, you can see all the records that have already been indexed. More continue to be uploaded as FamilySearch Indexing goes forward.
  • FamilySearch Research Wiki: at, you can read free articles, advice, and research guidance written by others who are searching for ancestors in the same areas that you are.
  • FamilySearch Labs: at, you can access FamilySearch Record Search and search original documents. You can also access the FamilySearch Forums project.


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