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  1. Findmypast Help
  2. Your Findmypast family tree
  3. Tree Search

How do I use Tree Search?

There are two ways to search for deceased ancestors in other members’ family trees.

On your family tree, select an ancestor. In their profile, choose Search trees. This will bring you to Tree Search with your ancestor’s details pre-populated, along with those of their immediate relatives. This intuitive feature increases the chances of your search delivering relevant results.


You can edit details such as gender, year of birth, and place of birth. You can also add in your ancestor’s relations, such as parents, siblings, and children to increase the chances of a relevant search result.

The second way is to select Search in the site navigation menu and choose Tree Search, or Family Tree, and then Tree Search. This brings you to a search screen, where you can add first name, last name, gender, year and place of birth, and other relations.


The minimum detail you need to add is a first name and a surname. However, the more detail you add to your search, the better your results will be. Try adding in years, places of birth, and any known relatives to build more relevant search results. Even adding one additional person could lead you straight to what you're looking for. 


If you don’t know the first name or surname of the person you’re searching for, head back to your family tree and find the closest relative to search for instead.

Search results

You’ll see your results ordered by relevance by default, however, you can choose to sort by first name or last name. You can also choose to collapse the relationships in each result for a broader overview.  

Each result will show you what information this tree has for your ancestor, listing the birth and death year, birthplace, parents, spouses, siblings, and children where available. You will also see how many people in total are in this family tree, and the number of relations attached to them.

There are two options when viewing a search result: View person or View in tree.

When you select View person to open a result, you can see a list of life facts available for this ancestor on the tree, plus any relationships. Each connected person on this family tree is linked, so you can choose someone else to explore if you’d like. You can easily print this page for offline reference by selecting print.

We limit the number of relatives shown in Tree Search to two parents, three spouses, 10 siblings, and 10 children. You might not see all of the information you expect reflected in the search results, but don’t worry, we’re confident we have all we need for a useful match.

When you select View in tree, you will see your chosen search result represented within its family tree. By default, you will land in the tree on the person you searched for, but you can explore the rest of the tree as you like, including searching for other people using Find someone on this tree. Any available key facts for a person, such as birth date, birthplace, and date and place of death are also available to see.

You cannot edit or adjust it in any way, but you can view any publicly available information on deceased relatives.

Where a relative is still alive in a family tree (or, where their living status hasn’t been specified by the tree owner), we will hide all information for that person, and instead show an empty box in its place. Should you find a person whose personal information is visible and marked as deceased, but you know them to be alive, please contact us so we can ask the tree owner to update it.

You may see that adding more detail to your search increases your results. This is normal. Tree Search results are based on the closest likely matches and are not designed to filter out small differences. Unlike record searches (which have defined filters), more detail added to a Tree Search may result in more results being presented. Details from your own family tree are excluded from the results.

If you see a search result marked as ‘private’, this means the owner of that family tree has not made their tree public, so you are unable to access this detail.

Contacting family tree owners 

If you’d like to contact the owner of a family tree, you can select Message Tree Owner. Add your message in under 2,500 words giving any detail you like, and send the message. When you receive a reply, a notification will appear in your inbox on Findmypast in the form of a red dot, and you’ll receive an email. If you’ve already contacted a tree owner, you will see ‘already contacted’, and you’ll find the correspondence in your inbox.

Adding Tree Search information to your family tree

Once you’ve checked the facts, you can add any extra detail you find to your own family tree. Select Add to tree, and then choose a person and a family tree. Then, choose Attach & Review to choose which details to merge with your own family tree.





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