Monday, September 1, 2014

Getting the most out of FamilySearch–The Search menu (Genealogies)

Screenshot taken from the FamilySearch website

Genealogies is the last section of the Search menu that we are going to discuss.  Genealogies is a collection of uploaded GEDCOM files.  This is very similar in format to the trees on sites like  It is VERY different than the Family Tree section of FamilySearch.  You will see two options, Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File.  Basically, the Ancestral File are all of the old GEDCOMs that FamilySearch has been collecting from day one (and these are LDS submitted genealogies only) and the Pedigree Resource File which is all of the old genealogies submitted by non-LDS researchers as well as all of the new GEDCOMs coming in.

When you do a search in this section you will get a list people that match your search criteria.  You can click them one at a time to see the details of what was included in the submission.

Again, this section is very different than Family Tree.  You can’t do anything but view the information in this section.  You can’t manipulate the data in any way.  FamilySearch does generate a nice source citation for you if you choose to use this information as a source (I wouldn’t).

The bad news about this section is once you upload a GEDCOM it is there forever.  You can’t take it back.  About 18 years ago I submitted a GEDCOM to the Family History Library.  I was so excited! I was a novice researcher and the GEDCOM I submitted was full of errors and had very few sources.  It is still there and I can’t remove it.  People that search this section will have my bad info in their search results and if they are newbies they just might add that bad info to their file not knowing any better.  Be careful using this section and don’t take anything you find as gospel.  Many people have uploaded bad GEDCOMs over the years.

NOTE:  I have added an addendum to this post.  I wanted to leave this post intact and submit an addendum instead of changing the original.  Here is the ADDENDUM.


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. I'm surprised there are no comments. Why? Because this post has things in it that I bet many people did not know. Because people who are new to genealogy don't THINK about the source, bad data gets blasted over and over. And there is one point in this article that I thought was just "bad news" and a poor decision on the part of FamilySearch. So much so, I blogged about it myself ..."Think Twice Before Uploading a GEDCOM to FamilySearch", link:

    Thank you Melissa for this valuable info.

    1. I have written an addendum to this post that give a bit more information about what you can and cannot remove from FamilySearch. I didn't want to give the impression that I don't like FamilySearch or FamilyTree because I think these are GREAT resources BUT I think that users should have more control over what they submit.