Research Assistant

The Find-A-Record Research Assistant helps you discover research opportunities for your ancestors in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

FamilySearch login screen

Sign In with FamilySearch

To use the Research Assistant, you must first sign in with your FamilySearch username and password. This will allow Find-A-Record to know who your ancestors are.

Scanning Your Tree

After signing in with FamilySearch, the Research Assistant will begin scanning your tree, starting with you and branching out to your ancestors in order. The search can be limited to specific areas of your tree.

Ancestors Only searches through your direct ancestors. These are the people that would appear in a pedigree or fan chart. This does not include descendants, collateral lines, nor additional spouses of ancestors that you do not descend from (i.e. your great-grandfather's second wife).
Descendants Only searches through your direct descendants. This does not include spouses.
Ancestors and Descendants Searches through both your direct ancestors and descendants. This does not include collateral lines, additional spouses of ancestors that you do not descend from (i.e. your great-grandfather's second wife), nor the spouses of descendants.
Cousins Searches through your ancestors, descendants, and the descendants of your ancestors (cousins). This does not include spouses.
Everyone Searches through anyone connected to your tree. Gives preference to your direct ancestors and descendants, while still allowing collateral lines to be visited if you don't have many direct ancestors and descendants or if they don't have many research opportunities that we can find.

Opportunities List

Research Assistant opportunities list

Research opportunities will be added to the list as we find them. Each opportunity has a title which is a short description of what needs to be done. The background color represents the opportunities category while the title represents the opportunities type. Click on an opportunity card to see details about what needs to be done.

Each opportunity is associated with a person. We show the person's name and a small photo. If a person doesn't have a photo, the circle will just be gray. Below the name is the person's relationship to you. If you click on the relationship link we will show you details about how you are related to that person. Next to the relationship is the person's ID in the Family Tree. Clicking on the ID will open a new tab in your browser and take you to that person's page in the Family Tree at FamilySearch.org.

Research Assistant opportunity categories

Opportunity Categories and Types

Opportunities are grouped into categories. Each category is assigned a color. Visit the Opportunity Types page to see a complete list of all the opportunities we look for.

The filter controls are on the left side of the page. Click on one of the categories to reveal the list of opportunities in that category. Click on an opportunity type to hide or show all opportunities of that type. For example, if "Find a Death Record" is disabled then no "Find a Death Record" opportunities will be shown in the opportunities list. Click on the checkbox for a category to disable or enable all opportunities in that category.

Opportunity Details

Research Assistant opportunity details page

The details page for an opportunity contains basic profile information for the person, such as the name, birth and death information, your relationship to them, and a photo when available. Below the profile information are details about what the opportunity is and how to complete it. We often provide links to help articles at FamilySearch.org that can teach you how to perform certain tasks in the Family Tree.

For many opportunities, we will provide links to popular genealogy websites. These links jump-start the search experience by filling the person's details and showing, when possible, the first page of search results.

Can I change the starting person?

Yes. There are three ways to change the starting person.

  1. Enter the ancestor's FamilySearch ID in the box under the heading "Change the start person" then click "Go."
  2. Use the Find-A-Record Chrome Extension which makes it easy to access Find-A-Record from your ancestor's profile page in the FamilySearch Family Tree.
  3. Click the "Ancestor's Opportunities" button at the top of any opportunity details page.

Can I hide an opportunity?

Yes. Opportunties can be hidden. When you click the "Hide" button on an opportunity it will immediately disappear and not be shown to you again in the future. The list of hidden opportunities can be reviewed later if you change your mind about hiding one.

Opportunities can also be marked as fixed. This removes an opportunity from your current list but will not hide it again in the future. If it appears again it means the data in FamilySearch has not been corrected. If you think an item has been fixed but continues to appear, use the feedback link to tell us what is occurring.