Revisiting Family Search


Contributing Writer
Janet Wahlberg

This month I would like to revisit a well-known resource. I am sure that most of you are somewhat familiar with the Family Search Site. One important thing to remember is that it is FREE, completely free. They do ask you to sign in with your email and a password. This is easily completed and does not obligate you in any way. The site contains Billions of records from all over the world making it easy to get a start on your research without breaking the bank.

They do offer a place to create a family tree on their site. One caution is that anyone can edit what you have in your tree. The good news on the family trees is that it offers a peek at research done by other folks. By looking at this and evaluating their source records, you may be able to grow your tree. I maintain a tree on Family Search, one on Ancestry and one in Family Tree Maker (no one is able to change the last two).

One of the best resources on this site is their research wiki. You can access it when you open the main site and click on the search tab. At the bottom of the drop-down list select, research wiki. When you click on this, a world of choices opens to you. Simply type in the topic, state, or country that you wish to work in, and it will open a page that covers how to articles, resources specific to that topic, links to other research sites, foreign word dictionaries, and on and on.

The Family History Library has been working diligently over the last several years to digitize many of their records and books. This allows anyone to work from home to search the records. In addition, they have been working to index more of the records. This makes searching so much quicker and efficient, no scrolling through hundreds of entries to find the one that you are looking for.

Covid changed how all of us have managed our lives. This was no exception with the Family History Library. While they have always offered on-line webinars and classes, they have really increased their offering over the last 14 months. You can receive a list of the classes offered each month by googling Family History Library Classes and Webinars. Many of their classes are also streamed live to Facebook. Go to your Facebook account and type Family History Library in the search box in the upper left-hand corner. It will open with all the classes as well as other news from the Family History Library.

This spring, the Prendergast Library obtained affiliate status with the Family History Library. What does this mean? The Family History Library works with organizations and countries around the world to microfilm and digitize records. Some of these organizations and countries place access restrictions on these records, only allowing access to them at the main library in Salt Lake City or at affiliate libraries throughout the world. Those of you who have not been able to access these restricted records in the past can now do so at the Prendergast Library and as always, they are free. So, let’s all restart our own personal “Family Search”.

To read Janet Walberg’s previous genealogy columns or to delve deeper into her writings and insights for searching out and recording your own family’s genealogy, please go to and visit Janet’s own web page.