How to Create a Free FamilySearch Account


FamilySearch is the largest provider of free genealogical records in the world. They have almost 4,000 Family History Centers worldwide as well as a website where you can access more than 4 billion names for free and upload a personal family tree or create a FamilySearch family tree.

Some of the collections we list at OnGenealogy are from FamilySearch and while they are a completely FREE website, FamilySearch now requires everyone to register for a free account before searching any records.

If you are signed in to a FamilySearch account BEFORE searching for records at OnGenealogy, when you follow links from OnGenealogy to FamilySearch collections, you’ll immediately be able to search the records.

If you’re NOT signed in to a FamilySearch account before searching records at OnGenealogy, when you follow a link to FamilySearch and try to search a collection you’ll be sent to a window to create a free account and after you’ve created an account, you won’t be sent back to the original collection you were trying to search. You’ll have to look it up again.

If you’re wondering, “Why does FamilySearch require me to create a free account?,” well, I had the same question but I didn’t get a response when I sent them an email, so I asked an insider and included the response in this blog post.

Regardless of why you need a free account to use FamilySearch, we’d encourage you to CREATE a free FamilySearch account and take advantage of this great resource. You can opt out of emails and control privacy settings and we’ll show you how in another post.


1. Go to

If you already have an LDS account, your account is the same as an LDS Account and you can use the same login & password. (You’ll be prompted to provide your LDS Church membership number to create an LDS account if you don’t already have one. If you’re LDS, you should create a free LDS account because you’ll have free access to partnering websites. There’s no sneaky way to opt in to this great deal if you’re not LDS. Sorry.)

2. In the upper right-hand corner of the screen, select the Free Account link

Image of FamilySearch homepage with arrow and text overlay showing where to select Free Account


3.  Provide your First Name, Last Name, Username of choice, and a Password

Image of FamilySearch free account sign up window requesting Name Username Password


4. Provide an email address OR mobile phone number

Image of FamilySearch free account sign up window requesting email and mobile phone number


5. Agree to the terms and conditions and privacy policies

6. Select the Create an Account button

Image of FamilySearch free account sign up window requesting Contact name, gender, country, birth date, member y or no, captcha, agree to terms


7. IF YOU PROVIDED AN EMAIL ADDRESS, check your designated email account for a confirmation letter from FamilySearch asking you to activate your account; Select the Activate Account link, you’ll be taken to FamilySearch; Sign In with your new username and password

8. IF YOU PROVIDED A MOBILE PHONE NUMBER, you’ll receive a text message with a verification code. On the screen, a window appears in which you can enter that code; you’ll be taken to FamilySearch; Sign In with your new username and password

9. You’ll now be signed in and can see your name in the upper right-hand corner.

Image of FamilySearch search window when you're signed in with text overlay showing where your contact name appears in upper right corner

When you sign in to FamilySearch, they give you the option to stay signed in for up to two weeks. If you’re on a personal device and use the collections frequently, this is a great option.

With your new FamilySearch login, you can:

  • search all the collections at FamilySearch

  • build a free family tree

  • upload Memories

  • join an Indexing Project

  • give Apps permission to download your tree and then enjoy the App

  • explore everything

Best in your searches!




January 24, 2018 |

What does LDS mean and why do they care about Genealogy?


If you’ve been involved in genealogy or are new to the hobby, you’ll invariably run into lexicon like LDS and Mormon.  So what does LDS and Mormon mean and why do Mormons care about Genealogy?

On FamilySearch, LDS and Mormon are just shortened names that refer to either

  • members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • the church as an institution, or

  • genealogy collections that involve these people in some way.

You can visit:

Caring for ancestors is a core LDS belief and is why Mormons have invested time and resources into preserving genealogy records worldwide. Mormons believe they have a specific charge to care for their own ancestors and by extension, do their best to help others connect with their ancestors to whatever degree they desire. With this as a fundamental creed of the religion, the church has become a dominant player and resource in the genealogy industry.

FamilySearch is a free site for accessing many genealogy collections and participating in family history projects. You’ll run across references to LDS and Mormon if you visit FamilySearch and you’ll often run across these same references at other genealogy sites.

As I blog about family history at OnGenealogy, I’ll use the terms LDS and Mormon as if these terms are understood, but I’ll try to remember to link to this post in case someone is new to the jargon.

That said, OnGenealogy is not intended to be a religious site and is not affiliated with or sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Half my family are Mormon and half are not–we all love genealogy.

Here’s a brief explanation of why Mormons care about genealogy, taken from, where anyone can explore any religious topic if they want to know more about what Mormons believe.

“Mormons make a dedicated practice of doing genealogy and creating family histories, thereby connecting together generations that would otherwise not know each other.”

“In over 4,600 family history centers operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world, the fabric of humanity is being woven together through formal record keeping. The Church records important dates and other information about those who have died, stores it, and makes it accessible to the public. This practice allows Mormons to identify their deceased ancestors so they can perform ordinances for them in the temple, a holy place where worthy Church members make sacred commitments to God and perform sacred acts, such as baptism by proxy for the dead. These ordinances on behalf of the deceased allow those who were unable to perform saving earthly rites for themselves to receive them in the afterlife.”

“The Apostle Paul spoke about performing ordinances for the dead when he asked, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:29). Today the restored Church of Jesus Christ is engaged in “turn[ing] the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6) by performing saving ordinances for the dead. These acts of service permanently bind the generations of humanity to each other and ultimately create oneness in the family tree of humankind. It is a beautiful, massive tree—seemingly without limits—and one that has room enough for every root, branch, limb, and leaf. Our universal desire to belong exists for good reason; it exists because we do belong.”

From article “What is the purpose of Family?” expanded menu for full article

January 1, 2018 |

#FamilyHistoryMonth – check out FamilySearch!


Family History Month Day 1

October is Family History Month in the U.S. and OnGenealogy will celebrate the month by spotlighting a different genealogy website each day!


On Day 1 take a look at and all it has to offer.









FamilySearch is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is free for everyone to use.

Things to do at FamilySearch:
































































Enjoy #FamilyHistoryMonth and best in your research, whether it’s fee or free!

October 1, 2017 |

Free Genealogy Stuff – July 31st to August 6th



Follow the OnGenealogy blog this summer for free genealogy deals.

Some free genealogy stuff this week includes:


23andMe World travel sweepstakes at OnGenealogy











Books:Blaine Bettinger Intro to DNA Crash Course free download book














Free Heirloom Searches:

British Family Tree Research free heirloom searches online

  • British Family Tree Research has an online shop with postcards and other historical documents listed by surname. British Surname searches for family memorabilia are free and you can see if they have any materials for sale related to your ancestry/ancestors.







JustaJoy free heirloom searches online

  • JustaJoy is a US based company with free searchable surname searches for family heirlooms as well as free description searches for words or phrases in the description of heirlooms. All heirlooms are available for purchase.




Online Records and Databases:FamilySearch New Historic Records July 17 2017








Castle Garden free US Immigration records

  • Castle Garden is a free online database from records at NARA including records of 10 million immigrants from 1830 to 1892 (Ellis Island opened in 1892). These searchable records are always free.











Ellis Island Passenger Search immigration records free

  • Ellis Island has a free, searchable database of 22.5 million immigrants to New York from 1892 to 1924







NARA passenger lists free online

  • NARA Passenger lists are always free and include “immigrants to America from Germany (1850-1897), Russia (1834-1897), Ireland (1846-1851), and Italy (1855-1900).”









NARA US Military Databases free






















GenealogyInTime free genealogy search engine

  • GenealogyInTime free search engine will search 4 billion records, some returns will link to fee sites, others will link to free sites

















Free Genealogy Webinars:


SCGS atDNA Webinar free


















LegacyFamilyTree Webinars free England research









Best in your research, whether it’s fee or free!

July 31, 2017 |

Free Genealogy Stuff the week of July 10th



Keep following the OnGenealogy blog this summer for free genealogy deals.

Some free genealogy stuff this week includes:


Free Revolutionary War records access at Fold3Fold3 Free Revolutionary War Collection records access through July 15th (don’t provide a credit card number for free access)

“Explore millions of American Revolutionary War documents that are found nowhere else on the Internet. Discover details about individual soldiers, read letters penned by the Founding Fathers, view documents from The Continental Congress and more.”








Free Ukrainian birth records database

Free Ukrainian birth records database, 1650-1920 This site is new and has plans to remain free to the public. It’s in Ukrainian with some Google Translate options. The Euromaidan Press has a great article about this new offering.











Free Genealogy Webinars

Free Legacy Family Tree Webinars at







Best in your research, whether it’s fee or free!

July 10, 2017 | for Free Family Tree Checks

0 for free family tree checks is a new website that offers free family tree analysis of FamilySearch family trees.

Kinpoint has free services as well as premium services. Free services include checks to verify vital information is properly recorded for each person in your tree. Kinpoint puts a yellow circle by a person’s name if there is any vital information that needs to be properly sourced: a death location is missing, a birthdate, etc. For LDS users Kinpoint also looks for any ordinance work that still needs to be done for ancestors in your tree.

Kinpoint’s premium services include looking for possible problems in your tree, like a parent born after the birth of a child, and they have source hints and matches that can help you find more documentation for people in your tree. Work done in Kinpoint updates into your FamilySearch tree reducing the need for duplicate work.

I have several trees on different sites and one on my home computer but was surprised to see that my free FamilySearch tree has so much vital information missing. This will be a fun clean-up chore I’ll let my kids help with because the information will be so simple to document. It’s rare to find such low-hanging fruit on a family tree and I’m excited to use Kinpoint to introduce my kids to family history work in a way that’s visual and will give them instant success. Happy hunting during #FamilyHistoryMonth!


October 6, 2016 |

Help Creating Your Free Family Tree


Find a Family History Center near you



If you’re at all intimidated about creating a free FamilySearch family tree, there’s free help available. Login to and select the “Get Help” button in the upper right-hand corner of your screen (see above)


you can go to the Family History Center Location Finder and type in your city or postal code (almost anywhere in the world) and find a Family History Center near you.

Local Family History Centers are run by volunteers and they’ll be able to help you create free FamilySearch accounts, create your family tree, research and attach records to your tree, and some Family History Centers will even be able to print a fan chart of your tree.

Family History Centers have access to all of the FamilySearch online records (billions) including some books and manuscripts that can only be accessed at these centers or at approved libraries (sometimes I drive 5 minutes to my local Family History Center to access a book I can’t access from my home computer).

Local Family History Centers also have on-site access to free MyHeritage accounts, free Ancestry accounts, free AmericanAncestors, and free FindMyPast accounts to broaden your research attempts.

Most Family History Centers will have microfilm readers, microfiche readers, and some will have scanners. (Mine has a high-speed photo scanner that digitizes stacks of photos in seconds.) You can order microfilms/fiche from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and have them sent to your local Family History Center for a small fee (around $5/film) and you’ll usually  have a month to view the film before it needs to be sent back.

So, if you need help creating a free FamilySearch account, you don’t have to do it alone. Everything offered by FamilySearch is done with volunteers who are there to assist you for free. If you enjoy the Family History Centers you can go as often as you’d like and you can even volunteer to help out. The point is, there’s really no excuse for not having a FamilySearch account and all the opportunities it will open up for a family history researcher.

October 5, 2016 |

#FamilyHistoryMonth Idea 3 – Create a free FamilySearch family tree


#familyhistorymonth free family tree


You may have a family tree on another website or home computer so why make a tree on FamilySearch?

There are a lot of great websites and apps that pull their data from FamilySearch (as needed, only with your permission) so without a free FamilySearch tree, you’ll miss out on a lot of family history leads.

For most people, the FamilySearch tree will practically build itself. You’ll add your name and any living ancestors, then when you add your first deceased ancestor, you’ll ask FamilySearch to try to find them and there’s a good chance they will. It will probably take 2 -3 generations to link up to family that are already in the system and Voila! you’ll have a free tree at FamilySearch.

And at FamilySearch, free means free. There’s truly no subscription fee ever. Why? FamilySearch is owned the by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and they believe it’s their duty to help connect people to their ancestors so they always offer this as a free service. They do their religious duty, you get a free tree, win-win!

Here’s a Quick Start Guide for FamilySearch Family Trees. If you’re at all familiar with family trees, scroll down to page 4 and start reading where it says “Add a Person.”

#FamilyHistoryMonth will be so much more fun when you have your FamilySearch tree!


October 4, 2016 |

Family Tree Photos


I really loved this article: Among Koreans, Giving Death Your Best Face by Rena Silverman, about the Korean tradition of having a nice portrait photograph taken as part of the normal funeral preparations we all make.

My husband has very strong feelings about remembering people in their prime, especially when it comes to family tree photos.  We don’t concern ourselves with community family tree lineage arguments, but my husband WILL fight for control of the photos that are displayed. He feels strongly that a person should be remembered as they would likely think of themselves-in their prime.

His dad passed a few years ago and he hates seeing a “grandfatherly” photo appear on the tree. We swapped it for one of his father’s college photos. You go back two or three generations and you probably have no choice but to use a photo of someone in their later years-their age at the advent of good photography and the means to have nice photos taken. Not anymore.

Never has a generation had greater means, access, and skill for taking photos. Millennials will not lack for good funeral photographs. I love that Ms. Sohn, from Ms. Silverman’s article, visited seniors in churches, senior centers, and community centers and gave them the gift of a nice photo, even photoshopping a few to let them remember how they felt in their prime.

I remember in my youth hearing a retired gentleman speak to an audience and he addressed the young people saying, “I see you running right past me and I know all you see is an old man, but in my mind I still feel like I’m 16, like I’m one of you.” That’s always stayed with me. At first it was such a foreign idea, that he thought he was like us in any way, then it became my underlying assumption about aging, that we still think as a younger version of ourselves.

So in honor of the Korean tradition of giving death its best face, I found a photo of my mom from her high school graduation that I’m uploading to my FamilySearch and MyHeritage family trees. She died at forty-two, so all her photos are youthful, but this one seems appropriate because she had the heart of a teenager. Whether its with online family trees for the deceased or our living elders, let’s pass this tradition down-enabling youth to relate to their elders by seeing them the way they see themselves.

Juliet Vernon high school graduation photo

Juliet Vernon high school graduation photo




May 19, 2016 |

Free family tree art at


If you have a family tree at, check out the free family tree art downloads/printables they’ve created.

Free family tree art at

Free printable family tree art at


Just select the family tree art of your choice, FamilySearch automatically pre-fills the tree, and you can print at home or download and print at a copy shop.

My family tree

My family tree

I usually don’t create family tree art, books, etc, because I feel like my tree needs to be edited and if I’m investing money in a finished product I will be furious if I see any errors. Uh, at almost zero cost and effort, this is no longer an issue. And these trees have four generations at most, which, let’s face it, is easy to clean up. Darling and frameable family trees with zero effort. Easter gifts, anyone?

March 18, 2016 |
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