2015 Recap: The Ever Evolving FamilySearch.org

FamilySearch.org is constantly changing and improving. Before 2016 gets too far underway, let’s take a look back at six significant changes that were made to the FamilySearch.org website in 2015.

Index appears with historical record image. After you search historical records and click on a record image to view, you’ll now see a split screen that shows a list of the names of people (the index) on that record image.

record image

Index shows with historical record image

Genealogies section now searches four collections. When you click on the Search tab and then Genealogies, it used to search only the Pedigree Resource File and Ancestral File. Now, this search form also searches Community Trees and the International Genealogical Index.

New option for finding individual historical records collections. In the past, if you wanted to search a particular collection, you had to click on the Browse All Published Collections link on the main Record Search page, and then filter a list of collections to find the one you wanted to search or browse. Now, there’s a Find a Collection search box directly on the main Record Search page. Just type in a word or words you think will be in the collection name, such as the state or country name or record type, and a list of links to possible collection matches pops up.

Find a Collection

The new Find a Collection search box on the Historical Records main search page

Internal messaging introduced. You don’t need to give out your email address to connect with other researchers on FamilySearch.org. The site now has a user-to-user messaging system, FamilySearch Messaging, that allows you to communicate with others while maintaining privacy. See more about how FamilySearch Messaging works (from the FamilySearch.org blog).

Ability to add children in Family Tree Landscape view is available. When using the FamilySearch Family Tree, you can now add children while in the Landscape view of your tree.

add children

New Add Children option in FamilySearch Family Tree

Changes made to who can delete a person in FamilySearch Family Tree. According to FamilySearch, “To delete a person, you must now be the only contributor to that person.” If you are not the only contributor and you try to delete a person, you’ll be given some alternatives, such as removing a person from a family.

To see what’s in store in 2016, check out FamilySearch’s “12 Things You Will See From FamilySearch in 2016” blog post.


Dana McCullough is a freelance writer and editor who frequently writes, edits, copy-edits, and proofreads content for magazines, blogs, websites, books, and more. She is the owner of Dana’s Creative Services and author of the Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org. Twitter:@DanasCreative

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