With FamilySearch goals to help everyone take their ancestors to the temple, the golden question is “How do I find someone to take to the temple?” The answer can be as varied as the family trees you are searching. However, there are a few patterns to follow for greatest success.
Tip number 1—Review your tree. Check that the relationships make sense. Not being able to find the next generation is sometimes because the generation you are working from has errors. Take a look at your ancestor and see if the dates and relationships look reasonable. You want to avoid obvious errors such as your grandfather marrying his mother, or a grandmother having children at age 65.
Look for duplicate records. You many find valuable additional information in a duplicate record that hasn’t been merged with the record you have for your ancestor. You can often resolve problems like these by doing a little research. Merging and correcting records can sometimes help you break through to new generations.
Tip number 2—Add sources. Click on the blue Search Records icon on the home page. This will start a search through FamilySearch’s indexed records. In the search results screen, open all records which may pertain to your ancestor. You can quickly add all related sources to your ancestor’s page by clicking on the blue “Attach to Family Tree” button. See if you can find your ancestor in the census records that appear. Find any vital records belonging to your ancestor. You will begin to get a much better understand of your ancestor by seeing the records that you attach to his/her profile. And, you are very likely to find associated family members in some of these records. You will then begin to expand your tree by finding forgotten family members who may be listed with your ancestor in their records.
Tip number 3—Look at the families who descend from your 3rd and 4th great-grandparents. This kind of search is called descendancy research. Begin looking for the children of your ancestors. They may be your aunts and uncles or cousins. They may be the spouses who marry someone in your direct line. These people may not be your direct-line ancestors, but they are the children of your grandparents. Remember to be aware of the 110-year rule. This rule states that if your ancestor was born with in the last 110 years you should not submit their name for temple work unless you have permission from the closest-related family member. Researching descendency lines gives you the opportunity to significantly expand your family tree.
Tip number 4—Look for ancestors with no spouse listed. If your ancestor lived to a marrying age, look for a spouse. Census records are a great place to start looking for spouses. To locate U.S. marriage records, go the FamilySearch Wiki and search for How to Find United States Marriage Records. For other countries, go to the FamilySearch Wiki and look up the county name you are interested in. Search for vital records in that county to see if you can find links and research suggestions. Cemetery records and death records of children may also list spouses.
Tip number 5—Look for ancestors in Family Tree with no death dates. Pay special attention to whole families where only birth information is recorded. This is a clue that this family has not been carefully researched or kept up to date. A family with only birth information is often missing spouses and children in the subsequent generations. These are all people who can be used to expand your tree.
Use the wiki to help you learn the best resources to use to find death records. Click How to Find United States Death Records or look up your county name and vital records for links and research suggestions in the FamilySearch Wiki.
Bonus tip: Some companies are now developing software to help you locate people in your tree who need further research. A company named Puzilla is an example of a program that works well with FamilySearch to find where more research may be needed. It uses these same tips to look at your own tree and it analyses data patterns to determine where additional research needs to be done. Go to the Puzilla website to view instructional videos on how this can help you. You may be surprised to see how easy it is to find ways to expand your family tree.