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Family Search is a LDS-led initiative for documenting and sharing family histories. You can build a family tree, add photos, video and audio, perform extensive research and ask family members to get involved. Whilst it doesn’t have quite as much data as some of our top sites, if you find what you’re looking for then it’s a great free resource for uploading and sharing genealogy research.
FamilySearch has made improvements of late, and is now easier to use. The homepage allows you to navigate away so you can easily access your family tree, photos, to perform a search and more. This all works fairly well, although we do still feel that the search features and filtering options could be improved upon. That said, they aren’t bad and you can look for results based on names, life events, relationships and a few other options.
The site now allows you to hunt through more than 4 billion names, which is pretty impressive for any site, especially a free one. It feels a little more family-orientated than many sites, and the set up essentially invites you to produce a multi-media family tree which you are encouraged to work on with friends and family.
Consequently, FamilySearch.org has some decent collaborative elements, allowing you to work with others in order to build a more complete picture of each family member. There are also a range of apps available to support this, which are accessible from the app gallery.
The app gallery offers several family tree software apps, photos and stories apps, charting apps and more beyond. We also like the fact that the apps are rated by users, so you can see which ones are preferred by people who really know what they’re doing.
Special collections are harder to locate, which is another reason why we felt this website was now more family focused. On the surface, at least, it seems to be steering away from hardcore genealogy and history research and more towards providing a space for living relatives to meet. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but we feel it’s worth pointing out that research-focused individuals might not appreciate this new perspective.
Family Booklet is a fairly unique feature, allowing you to design a short booklet about your family. This can then be printed and delivered to you, and you can choose to share it as you see fit. The booklet itself looks quite professional, and a page can be given to each key family member, with additional information and photographs. It’s a nice keepsake, particularly if someone in the family lives elsewhere or is moving away.
As well as collaborating on projects, members can also ask for help from other users. Helping others and also helping to index data, is one way in which Family Search helps to keep going as a free resource.
Whilst FamilySearch might not be as research focused as some other genealogy websites, it still has plenty of information to offer. Its family-orientated approach is also going to appeal to people who want to know more about their ancestors, and people who wish to share that information with their living relatives.
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