FamilySearch is one of the largest family history databases in the world. With more than 2 billion records in its database, you might think that surely your ancestors must be there somewhere.
Many people begin their search using the basic search fields on the home page. This is a good way to start your search. It performs a global search of the entire FamilySearch database. For example, if you are searching for Anna Nelson, you would get all the records for Anna Nelson that fit the place and time criteria you entered into the search fields. However, if you search through a database of more than 2 billion names for a name as common as Anna Nelson, you could get thousands of records in your return. If you focus your search to a few dozen collections, the number of names you get back will likely be much more manageable and more likely to be useful records.
Focus Your Search to a Specific Name, Place, Time or Record Collection by Using Filters
If you know that your ancestor lived in a specific place, you can use locality, date, and record collection filters to focus your search. This avoids the problem of searching through thousands of names from parts of the world where you know for sure that your ancestor did not live. To see a detailed explanation of what search filters can do for you and how to use them, visit the following link: The New FamilySearch Filters in FamilySearch.org.