Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New FamilySearch Add On: Find-a-Record

I recently received an email from Justin York of Genealogy Systems alerting me to their new product, Find-a-Record.

Ancestry Insider,

We recently released a free tool called the Find-A-Record Research Assistant which connects to your tree on FamilySearch and tells you where work can be done. It generates different types of research opportunities such as finding missing information, finding missing people, finding sources, and fixing problems. You can read more about it on our blog, watch the demo video, and try it yourself at www.findarecord.com.

Our goal is to help beginners know where to start and guide them through the research process. We have found that it is also useful for experienced genealogists by telling them what areas of their tree need attention or suggesting something quick to do when they're unsure of where to work next.

We would love to have your feedback on the Research Assistant. How could it be better?

Justin York

I gave their website a try and here’s what I learned.

Login with your free FamilySearch account at the Find-a-Record website and it examines your ancestors in the FamilySearch Family Tree. It then displays a list of opportunities of different types: Person, Relationship, Sources, Problems, and Cleanup.

Find-a-Record research opportunities

The website can filter which types of opportunities it will display. One type is problems that need to be fixed.

Find-a-Record research opportunities: problems

It can filter opportunities to those needing cleanup.

Find-a-Record research opportunities: cleanup

Click on a problem or cleanup opportunity and the website will show a corresponding information page.

Find-a-Record information page about a problem or cleanup opportunity

The website can show opportunities of persons missing information about vital events.

Find-a-Record research opportunities: persons missing information

It can show opportunities of missing information about relationships.

Find-a-Record research opportunities: relationships missing information

Click on a missing information opportunity and the website will show an information page that includes links to genealogy research websites.

Find-a-Record information page about an opportunity to find missing information

Click a link to one of the websites and Find-a-Record will start a search on that website, complete with information about your ancestor. Unfortunately, there is no indication which websites require subscriptions.

Ancestry.com search results

Be prepared to adjust search parameters once you see the search results on these websites. Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org have fundamentally different approaches to searching. Removing parameters will decrease the number of results on Ancestry.com and increase the number of results on FamilySearch.org.

I assume that “Sources” are events and relationships that lack source documentation.

Find-a-Record research opportunities: sources are needed

Click on a Sources opportunity and Find-a-Record goes beyond giving links to general searches. It consults a list of the record collections on genealogy research websites and suggests searching specific collections.

Find-a-Record information page about an opportunity to find missing sources

I’ll write more about another feature of Find-a-Record later.

This is a great website. My chief request is a dismiss or ignore feature. Once I determine that I don’t want to pursue an opportunity, I’d like to hide it from future reports.

The Find-a-Record website has been certified by FamilySearch for read access to Family Tree. Find-a-Record is another rich addition to the growing community of products extending the capabilities of FamilySearch Family Tree.


  1. Thanks for the thorough review and quality feedback. The ability to hide opportunities is a very popular feature request. We expect it to be the next feature we add. Hidden opportunities will never show up again in the main list, but we'll provide a way to see all opportunities you've hidden. Does that sound good? We are concerned about people hiding opportunities because they couldn't find a record and then not knowing later that a new collection was published that they should search.

  2. I'll have to give it a good test run. It sounds to me as if it might provide an incentive to get people to source, and to do it right, which, frankly, is the bane of my life.

  3. Hi,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2014/06/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-june-13-2014.html

    Have a wonderful weekend!


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