Church News and Events

New FamilySearch Tools Help Preserve and Share Photos, Memories

  • 16 April 2013

Making it easier to record and preserve family histories helps us connect with our past and create a legacy for the future.  Photo by Christina Smith, (c) IRI has added features to attract novice family historians of all ages who are interested in their family’s stories but who don’t consider themselves genealogists or researchers. For example, you can now collaboratively build your family tree online and preserve and share family photos and stories—all free of charge.

“We all treasure memorable family photos and ancestral stories that inspire, amuse, or connect us. Families can now share and preserve for posterity those social heirlooms that help vitalize their family history,” said Dennis C. Brimhall, CEO for FamilySearch.

Julie Lowe from Missouri is the photo archivist of her family. She has albums of ancestral photos. She and her siblings are also walking libraries of countless stories and memories of their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, some great-grandparents, and other ancestors. They will be using the Photos and Stories features to begin preserving their favorite photos and stories for future generations. Each person can save and share up to 5,000 ancestral photos in Family Tree.

Making it easier to record and preserve family histories helps us connect with our past, share memories with others now, and create a legacy for the future. “When a parent or grandparent takes the time to tell you a story, there’s a bonding that occurs there,” Brimhall said. “Likewise, a family photo and story preserved and shared in the context of one’s family tree, in an instant, can personally touch us and teach us time-honored principles by those who have gone on before us, like the value of hard work, dealing with life’s ups and downs, and the impact of choices.”

New Features at

FamilySearch Family Tree. For the first time on, you can start collaboratively building your shared family tree entirely online, starting with yourself and then expanding to past generations. Free of charge, the tree is prepopulated with over 900 million individuals contributed by patrons and helps you discover what others may have already found about your family history. You can also attach photos and stories and link sources and then permanently preserve your shared family tree for future generations.

Photos. Preserve favorite photos of ancestors, attach them to their profiles in the FamilySearch Family Tree, and share them through social media. Over 200,000 photos have already been contributed, preserved, and shared.

Stories. Write favorite stories about a specific ancestor in the FamilySearch Family Tree. This feature enables families to gather, share, and perpetually preserve their family stories.

Interactive Fan Chart. See yourself and your ancestry in the context of a colorful fan chart, a feature that has been available since 2012 but has recently been enhanced.

Family Tree Wizard.  This tool asks questions about your living and deceased ancestors, then builds those connections into the family tree to get you started.

Live Help. Access a global online community that provides free product help and personal research assistance by phone and web chat 24 hours a day—now in 10 languages.

Languages. Access all of the new features and services in 10 languages. A collection of free how-to videos and other online resources are available for all features. Just click on the Help button for more details.

Although the new features will attract a much broader swath of visitors, the site will continue to be a great destination for genealogists and researchers.