Family History Conference

Family Search keeps getting better and easier to use

By Valerie Ipson

Family Search keeps getting better and easier to use has transformed genealogy research, recordkeeping, and the sharing of family memories. The site publishes 1.1 million searchable names per day. This means information that wasn’t available last week, might be found today.

Yet, “in the worldwide membership of the Church, 51 percent of adults currently do not have both parents in the Family Tree section of the Church’s FamilySearch Internet site. Sixty-five percent of adults do not have all four grandparents listed,” said Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in April General Conference.

Family History Conference

At the Family History Conference held at ASU Institute in October, participants attended various workshops and learned from keynote speaker, FamilySearch CEO, Dennis Brimhall, who shared details and tips about the latest improvements to the FamiltySearch site. Photo by Wayne Van Kirk

FamilySearch CEO, Dennis Brimhall, presenting the keynote address at the 3rd Annual Family History Conference, held at the Arizona State University Institute in October, wondered aloud why members of the Church are not using a product that they are paying for with their tithing funds.

The technology (FamilySearch FamilyTree) is readily available and becoming more user-friendly all the time.

Family Tree patrons will notice new features as FamilySearch continues its quest to improve its product, so users can find their ancestors faster and easier.

For example, in Family Tree, when you click on a person’s name and their detail page comes up, on the right sidebar you can find “Record Hints.” Clicking on the census or other record links, a user is led to even more family members’ names that can be added to the tree and submitted for temple work.

When FamilySearch users view their family, they now have multiple ways to do so beyond the traditional pedigree or fan chart view. A “Portrait” view, as its name implies; shows a pedigree in photos.

The “Descendancy” view provides a look at family lines from the top down, so an ancestor’s descendants can be seen in one glance. These different views can be accessed in Family Tree on the upper left side of the page.

Now, in addition to using FamilySearch on home computers, free mobile apps allow Smartphone users to access FamilySearch on the go, meaning they can learn something new about their family while in line at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, or during half-time at a child’s soccer game. Imagine taking the Family Tree app on a cemetery visit and looking up photos of the ancestors whose graves you find.

There’s also a link to download the new “Memories” mobile app that makes adding photos, stories, and even audio recordings, simple and quick.

Recently the Church announced FamilySearch partnerships with worldwide genealogy leaders, Find My Past and My Heritage. Latter-day Saints can create free personal accounts with each of these sites.

For years, Lance Ipson of Mesa had hit a roadblock on one of his mother’s lines. After making systematic searches on these partner sites, checking back often because the databases are updated continually, he was able to find several family trees on My Heritage that contained his Danish ancestors. “I was able to trace my great-grandmother’s line back two generations in Copenhagen, Denmark,” he says.

Log in to to connect with your family today. In his October General Conference talk, Elder Allan Packer of the Seventy urged everyone to get involved. “Whatever your past perception, [family history] is different now.”

So what’s new in family history?


Doing it.

Further family history help is available at any FamilySearch library (for Mesa: or through ward family history specialists.

Try some of the free affiliate programs that interface with Family Tree and enhance the family history experience:

Record Seek: Tree Connect—

Find A Record: Research Assistant—

Tree Seek—



Relative Finder—




Ten Generation Chart—

File Grove— (free to start)

The Beehive

The Arizona Beehive is a complementary East Phoenix Valley LDS lifestyle and living publication, published six times a year, featuring content on people to meet, places to explore, events to attend and businesses to patronize.

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