When your research takes you to a “new” locality, get oriented by studying that place in the Research Wiki at FamilySearch.

1. SEARCH AT THE COUNTRY LEVEL – The United States is just one of over 120+ national level FamilySearch Wiki pages.

FamilySearch Wiki landing page

IMAGE: Portion of the FamilySearch Research Wiki landing page.

2. SEARCH AT THE STATE OR PROVINCE LEVEL – Note the navigation categories below the Washington State flag include beginning research help; links to record types; references to the history of the locale, maps, migration routes; info about major ethnic groups; and lists of local libraries, archives and societies.

IMAGE: Part of the Washington State page in the FamilySearch Research Wiki.

3. SEARCH AT THE COUNTY LEVEL – Remember Louisiana has parishes instead of counties. Note in this example from Washington State the extinct and renamed counties are listed.

IMAGE: Clickable map of Washington State counties. From the FamilySearch Research Wiki.

4. SEARCH AT THE TOWNSHIP OR CITY LEVEL – Some states like Virginia have independent cities that aren’t in a county.


The FamilySearch Research Wiki includes suggestions of high priority record sets even when FamilySearch does not have the records in its collection. Study the Wiki’s timeline of significant events in the history of the place, descriptions of the local court system and links to related training videos in the FamilySearch Learning Center. The Wiki indicates libraries, archives and organizations that may have resources for your continuing research.

The Wiki is not the place to search by an ancestor’s name, rather it is the place to learn about the locality where your ancestors once lived and discover surviving record sets that may mention your progenitors.

IMAGE: Beginning dates for various record sets. From the Research Wiki at FamilySearch.

It will literally take you years to work through all the suggestions in the the Research Wiki at FamilySearch. 🤗