Monday, August 19, 2013

Attaching Records to FamilySearch Family Tree

From the tree side of FamilySearch, it is possible to launch a search on the records side. Click on “Search Records” in the Research Help box. It is located on the right hand side below the Print box and above the change history. The feature apparently fills in first name, last name, birth year, and birth place, and launches the search.

FamilySearch Family Tree link to search records

Conversely, from the record side it is possible to add a source on the tree side.

At the 2013 BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy, Robert Kehrer of FamilySearch talked about attaching records to FamilySearch Family Tree. If you are logged in when viewing a record detail page there is a button on the right labeled “Attach to Family Tree.”

The Attach to Family Tree button

When selected, searches Family Tree for possible matches. If correct, select one of the possible matches.

Popup showing matches from tree

If the correct person is not listed, there are several options for finding them. You can click “Search Family Tree” and specify your own search parameters. Or you can click History List and select the person from among recently viewed persons. Or you can enter the person’s ID.

Once a person is selected, displays the information from the tree for comparison with the record:

Popup showing information from the tree

This popup also allows you to specify the reason for attaching the source.

Once the record is attached to the tree, the attach button is replaced with a link which takes you directly to the person in the tree.

Link to view person in family tree to which the record is attached

The Attach to Family Tree button is not available for images. However, images can be saved to the source box and subsequently attached to a person.

External Sources

Kehrer also demonstrated attaching a source from another website, He used a record from What I found most interesting was the concept of copying and pasting the four fields directly from the page.

The four fields of a FamilySearch Family Tree source could be copied directly from an record

The four fields of a FamilySearch Family Tree source

I’m not certain I’ve presented number 4 the way he did. Another approach would be to divide what I’ve marked as number 3 on the, placing the original data source into number 3 and the first part of the citation into number 4.

The URL (number 2) can be pretty hairy. To simplify it, save the record to your shoebox, then click on the record in the shoebox. The resulting URL is much, much simpler.

A severe limitation of FamilySearch sources is the lack of italics. When the citation is copied and pasted from, the italics are lost.

As a class member pointed out, only those with an subscription will be able to see the source on You may wish to make a note to that effect in either section 3 or 4. Kehrer pointed out that is available in family history centers, the Family History Library, and some local libraries. Be prepared to edit the URL to adapt it from one to another. Here’s the way the first part of the URL will look.

  • – Use this form for personal subscriptions. I don’t know if still the case, but I think it is also used on the BYU campus wireless.
  • – Use at participating libraries and institutions.
  • – Use at the Family History Library. I think this is also the address used at a Family History Center.

FamilySearch is working on several features that will make saving source citations easier, according to Kehrer. Soon it will be possible to link an uploaded image of a source to the citation. FamilySearch is working on a bookmarklet that would simplify creating a source citation for another website page. FamilySearch is working on a way to easily create sources for all the members of a census household.

Having sources and citing them is fundamental to genealogy. In a shared tree like FamilySearch Family Tree, it is absolutely essential. FamilySearch has made it much easier with the latest features on

1 comment:

  1. I find it much easier to create sources from or any other website using the Tree Connect button from

    If you are on the created source contains the same URL as using the procedure described by Robert Kehrer. And you can paste the indexed information into Notes in the same step as creating the source.

    In addition, if you highlight the information you want from any website, including Tree Connect copies that into the Notes.

    The new Attach to Family Tree button is a nice idea but I cannot get away from not being able to paste onto notes in the same step. I find it better for me to save a bunch of sources for a family using Tree Connect then attach them in batches to the people in the family.

    Works for me. Thought that might work for others too.


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