How do I attach the sources I found to the Family Search Tree?

Once you find a cool record that relates to your relative, you will loose track of it in a heart beat if you do not save the discovery somewhere. Gone are the days of making photo copies of records and stuffing them in a binder (or at least, they should be). Instead, link your discoveries on Family Search to the tree! It's fast, easy, cheaper, and saves a lot of oxygen producing trees!!!





Let's say you searched for:

Zula J Offord
Female
born 1869
died 1929, in Ohio, United States

You entered the terms into the FamilySearch.org search fields and the program returned these results (to see the steps, see the post "How do I research someone I know little about?")

Basic FamilySearch Search Tips



You analyze these records and decide they do document the Zula you were searching for. You also discovered that Zula's maiden name is Devore and she has a profile in the family tree with one source. (Read this post to review how to see if your ancestor is in the family tree).

Select one of the records to attach to Zula's profile by clicking in the table row for the record. The row will change colors and expand.

Attach a record to FamilySearch family tree


You should then see the expanded index and possibly a thumbnail for the record available through FamilySearch. As you may have discovered, not all entries have the thumbnail image as some sources are indexes only. Some sources link to record collections that are available through another genealogical website. Ideally, you want to look at the original image for the source rather than an index. If that's unavailable, you can and should attach an index to your family tree if you determine the entry relates to your relative.

To attach a source to profile on FamilySearch, click on the blue button that says Attach to Family Tree.

Attach record to Family Tree

FamilySearch will the search the tree for possible matches. It will also show you a list of people whose profiles you have recently visited. Sometimes FamilySearch does not return individuals for you to select. In that case, you will need to visit the profile for the relative whose profile you found on the tree. On the profile page, you'll see the Personal ID number right under the relative's name.

Finding a Personal ID number on FamilySearch
The Red Box has the Personal  ID number
You can highlight the letters and numbers then copy and paste this into the Source Linker page or write it down and key it in. Whichever is easiest for you.

Add Sources to Family Tree


After you press select from the Personal ID entry field (or select someone from the suggested list), you will then have the opportunity to attach your source in a screen that looks like this.

Attaching a record in FamilySearch
Source Linker Screen in Family Search

This post was focused on getting you to this point. Notice that the left column has information from the record you want to attach to a relative. The right column is the information that FamilySearch has on the person profile page (the tree entry for your relative).

Simply press the blue word between the two boxes "Attach" that has a paper clip beside it.

You will be able to do a few things:
  • transfer residence fields from the record to the tree
  • transfer birth, marriage, or death information if there is not a previous entry on the tree
  • attach the source to events the record provides information for
  • leave a Reason Statement as to why you feel this record should be attached to this person
You will not be able to do the following:
  • alter names in the Family Tree
  • alter birth, marriage, death, dates if there is already an entry on the tree
  • simplify or alter the location description from the record to the tree
These are just a few of the major things you will not be able to do. If for instance you discover a middle name for your ancestor in a record that is not in the Family Tree profile. You will need to go to the profile page and add the middle name on that screen. If you find a more complete birth date (or a different one), you will make your changes on the person profile page if the family tree already has an entry. You get the idea. If you can not make the change in the Source Linker page, you will have to go back to the profile page to make the changes.

Further Reading:

Those are some of the highlights to attaching sources to the FamilySearch family tree. Give it a try. If you have more questions, leave them here.  I'm happy to help.

Adding sources to the FamilySearch Family Tree is critically important. Without supporting details, you might as well be related to Mickey Mouse. He's cute an all but he's not my great-grandfather. Is he yours?


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