We have learned how to explore and navigate through FamilySearch.org. Now, we will learn about Record Hints: why they are important, how to find them, and how to attach them.
Why Sources Matter
Here is a quick video that explains the importance of adding sources:
Family History becomes more interesting and exciting when you are finding your own relatives. Attaching Record Hints to people on your family tree helps prove that they were real people. If they lived so long ago that you never got the chance to meet them, you can learn about them through these records.
Birth, Marriage, Military, and Death Records as well as Immigration and Census Records help us to connect the dots and form a story as to the lives our ancestors led. These records are obtained through the efforts of Indexers who record the information seen on the documents so they are more easily searchable online. I will talk more about Indexing at the very end of the course. It is the easiest way to get started with Family History!
Sources Verify the Information
Finding a record can prove invaluable to getting information on one of your ancestors. Here is an example of a Marriage Document that is connected to one of my ancestors. Through this document, I can find the names of the couple who got married and the date and place that their marriage took place. Often times you can also find the names of each of their parents which can further extend your family tree!
Why Attach Records from Record Hints ?
Whenever you find a Record Hint (the little blue icon), you want attach it to the person it is about. Why?
- It verifies that a person is real
- It gives additional information: dates, places, etc.
- You can find missing children, spouses, or parents through these records
Things to Look Out for When Attaching Records:
- Give a margin of error: possibility of a 2 year difference on Census Records. This can depend on the Census taker. Did they come before or after the person had their birthday for the year? Were the people home, or did the Census taker ask a neighbor? What if the Census taker had bad handwriting or misheard what was said? The day and month should be the same, but give room for some error on the year.
- If you find a record with more correct information than what you previously had, update the information on the Profile page and give a reason why. This reason can be as a simple as: “As stated on the US 1920 Census”.
- Have 2-3 points on the record that prove it is the same person BEFORE attaching the record.
- If you do attach a record on accident, simply detach and put a reason such as “attached to wrong person”.
Finding a Record Hint
The little blue icon indicates that there is a record hint for each of these people!
In Landscape View
- Find a Record Hint
- Click on the person’s name
Open the Person’s Profile Page
Click on the person’s name again to open their profile page.
View the Record Hints
See the Record Hints on the right hand side of the page under “Research Help”
Right click each Record Hint (right click on the blue text) and select Open Link in New Tab
You can open the Record Hint in a shortened form right on that page, but I think it is confusing to look at it that way. I like to open the full thing up to view the table-form comparison.
Attaching a Record
What it Does:
- Proves or verifies Vital Information (birth, death, etc.)
- Shows or backs up why you added or changed information
- Can alert you of a Possible Duplicate person (a message that says “This source is attached to _______” will pop up.
What it Does NOT Do:
- Change information for you on the person’s main Profile Page (unless you select Add)
- Does not delete information on the person’s main Profile Page
- You do not always have to give a reason to attach the source. There should be so much information that is the same that anyone could see why you would attach the record.
- If there is more information on the record hint, but it doesn’t give you the option to Add it over, go back to the person’s main profile page, click on the information that you need to add in (name, birth, death, etc.) and select Edit. Make sure to give a reason why you are editing the vital information. (“As stated in the 1920 Census” would be sufficient.
Adding /Editing Vital Information
Sometimes, there are situations where there is more information on the record (left hand side) than on our own personal information page for the person (right hand side), but without the option to simply add it over.
In this picture, we can see that there is a Birth day, month and place on the record, but no way to add it to the Birth year that we had listed. In this case, you would Add the Residence over, and then edit the information on their main profile page to be as complete as possible. (This is why opening the record in a new tab is so helpful. You are able to toggle back and forth between windows to ensure the information is completely accurate.)
Go to Details on their Main Profile Page, and find the section you want to edit.
In this case, we want to update the Birth information. Click on the blue information under Birth and then click Edit.
Add Additional Information
Add the information you found. Make sure to give a reason why the information is correct. To be safe, I usually refer back to the source so people can verify for themselves. Don’t forget to Save!
Add People From a Record
Sometimes you will find a child, spouse, or parent listed on a record hint that wasn’t previously listed on your family tree. In this case, you will be given the option to Add.
By clicking Add, FamilySearch will walk you through how to Add that person, or pull up possibilities of existing matches to the person you are wanting to add. Make sure to only click “Deceased” if you are positive they have passed away, or it has been 110 years since their birth.
If the Record Does not Match the Person
- Compare the information and simply click Not a Match.
- Give your reason why: “Different Birth years.”
- If you don’t have enough information to prove the source matches the person, but it isn’t necessarily inaccurate info, just click Cancel.
A few other helpful hints:
- The Record Hints display box will only show 3 Record Hints at a time. Once you have finished attaching all of those Record Hints, be sure to refresh your screen in case more hints have been generated.
It’s a lot of information to take in all at once. The best way to learn how to do this is practice! Refer back to these scenarios, or check out these different tutorials: (some are a little older, so the icons look different, but the concepts are still the same!)
Ready to Attach Record Hints?
Using your Landscape View, go and find records to attach! Good Luck!