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Tuesday’s Tip: FamilySearch Record Hints & Ordering Sources

Tuesday's Tip

I’m starting something new around here – Tuesday’s Tip.


Many of you know that I volunteer once a week at my local Family History Center.  I’ve been doing that for about 5 years.  During that time I have been able to help people of varying experience and ability.  All of that one-on-one time helping different people has been very enlightening.  We all do things differently.  All of these differences have highlighted some best practices and shortcuts that I will share in short videos.

I don’t promise to post one every week.  But, probably for a while, I will.

Here are a few things you can expect from me:

  • I will try to make the title as descriptive as I can.
  • I will include video notes in each post to help you know some of the main points covered in the video.
  • I will add a few additional pieces of information relevant to the general topic.

Hopefully, this will help you know if the video is something you are interested in watching.


So, here is my first Tuesday’s Tip:


Be sure to click ‘HD’ at the bottom right of the video screen.



Video Notes:

  • Family Tree on FamilySearch has a ‘Record Hints’ section.  Only 3 hints can show in the box on a person page – there can be more in the background.  Watch to learn how to find those additional hints.
  • Learn how to review the data in a hint and determine if the hint should be attached.
  • Trying to save time?  Page load time matters, I’ll show you how to save a bit of it.
  • Sometimes hints are records about another person, like a death record for a child.  Learn how to understand these types of hints.
  • After you review and attach a record, learn how to put the sources in chronological order.


And a few last notes.  When dealing with record hints it is important to remember:

  • Not all record hints are accurate!
  • If there is a record image linked to the index, ALWAYS view the image before attaching the record.  Remember, the image often has more information than the index and you can usually learn new information about the person and their family.
  • If you don’t know that the record is about your person, don’t attach it.  Learn more about the person and the record and then make a decision.  If you still don’t know for sure that the record belongs to the person, leave it alone.
  • Many records in FamilySearch have been indexed more than once.  If a record is about your person, attach it!  Even if that means there will be two or three of the same record attached.  The algorithm that generates those hints is a learning algorithm.  If you tell it that it was wrong when it wasn’t, you’ve just given it bad information.  If it bothers you to have multiple versions of the same record attached, just move the duplicates to the bottom of the source list.




15 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Tip: FamilySearch Record Hints & Ordering Sources”

    1. Thank you, Katie. It IS very interesting! How busy we are really depends on the weather and what is going on in the genealogy world. I live in Utah and the weather is pretty unpredictable, so if it’s nice outside and it’s Spring-Fall, people work in their yards. If it’s raining/snowing/really cold, we see more of them. After a good class with good attendance, we see them. Around RootsTech, we see them. Every now and again we have a night that is super busy, but mostly I have 1-3 patrons who come specifically to work with me and then we may have a few others who come in for general help. I love quiet nights when I can just scan away. But those are rare.

  1. Great idea having a weekly tip post! I look forward to more. I haven’t used FamilySearch hints since my tree isn’t there. But now I see with Family Tree Maker I can link my tree to FamilySearch also, so I need to watch this video carefully and see if it applies to me. Thanks!

      1. I use FS for research all the time; I just don’t keep my tree there. (I am not into trees where others can edit and make changes.)

  2. This is great Amberly. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. My use of FamilySearch is pretty hit and miss, so I think I’ll get a lot out of these. Plus it’s great to hear your voice.

    1. Thank you Linda! That is a challenge for sure. I have found that if you attach sources and leave explanations on things, it goes a little better. But some people are just difficult. 😉

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