Share |

Getting Help from FamilySearch

Article Date: 
24 September, 2010 - 05:00

Over the past several years FamilySearch has been adding to the resources available to answer questions online.  I find that many individuals who use the FamilySearch sites are unaware of the help resources available.  
In the recent past I have written about the FamilySearch Wiki and FamilySearch Forums.  These products are primarily targeted at answering research related questions.  Many questions, however, are about using technology.  For these questions the place to go is the Help Center.
Help Center has a wealth of knowledge about all of the FamilySearch products.  This collection of about 6,000 articles is the resource that the support personnel at FamilySearch use to answer patron questions.  
There are answers to questions in Help Center about PAF, all of the CD products sold through distribution, new FamilySearch, FamilySearch.org (including the IGI, census, and Social Security Death Index), the beta FamilySearch.org website, indexing, and all other FamilySearch products.  Best of all, all of this information is available from home anytime, from anywhere with Internet access.
There are two ways to access the help center.  The first is to click on Help Center in new FamilySearch (only available to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).  Once you click on help center a box will pop up over top of new FamilySearch.  There will be four tabs for everyone except Family History Consultants.  For consultants there will be five.
Use the find answers tab to search for answers to your questions.  On this tab you can also see the commonly asked questions and answers and the most common problems.  There is also a link to the guides and tutorials.
On the second tab, labeled “Feedback” you can ask specific questions of the support organization of FamilySearch.  You can also provide feedback on what you would like to see added or changed in FamilySearch software.  
On the third tab, “Personal Assistance” you can find information about who the family history consultants in your ward are.  You can also find the location of the nearest family history center (not too much help if you live in Morgan since the family history center is prominently located on State Street).  You can contact FamilySearch by telephone or email, and you can choose to interact with other users of FamilySearch products and ask questions of them.  
Lastly, under the “My Cases” tab you will see all the questions you have asked FamilySearch Support and the answers they provided.  This will help you if you have gotten stuck on something about which you have asked a question in the past.
If you are a consultant you will also have access to the Training and Resources Tab where you will find helpful information and training.
For the general public the access is through beta.familysearch.org.  Here you will find a link to help in the upper right hand corner.  When you click on this you will have access to the same search, Personal  Assistance, and Contact FamilySearch options as above.  Some articles relating to LDS ordinance work are only visible when you are logged into new FamilySearch.
With nearly 6,000 articles and the number growing each day as new questions are asked, this is a treasure trove of information.  Feel free to browse it and search it.  You may find the answers to questions you have had.
If you don’t find the answer searching, contact FamilySearch.  You can call them at 1-866-406-1830 or email them at support@FamilySearch.org.  The telephone number is easy to remember as it is 866 and then the date the LDS Church was organized 4-06-1830.  Help via phone is available most hours of the day, although after hours your call may be routed to Europe or Australia to be answered.  Normally the wait is less than 60 seconds.  E-mail questions are normally responded to within 24 hours.
With this wealth of resources you can gain access to help 24 hours a day.  Give them a try the next time you have questions.  This will help you get back to being productive more quickly and have less frustration with the technology and more quality time finding ancestors.