Seven ways to find sources on FamilySearch

FamilySearch is a vast website with genealogical information, including many sources for research in the Netherlands. FamilySearch is a free genealogy website, and requires a free registration.

Many people are familiar with the website, but don’t realize all the different ways you can find information there. Here are my seven favorite ways to find sources on FamilySearch.

Search records

You can search records by name. This will find records that have been indexed, which includes many records in the Netherlands. This is the easiest way to start. If you’re lucky, the search result will not only have the information from the index, but also has a link to the scan of the original record.

Search by location

You can also click on the world map to see what record sets are available per country. See this overview of record sets for the Netherlands.

Search catalog

The catalog is where you can find all the records on FamilySearch, regardless whether they’re indexed or not. My favorite way to use the catalog is by searching for a place name. This will show you all the different categories of records that FamilySearch has for that place.

Different searches to try in the catalog:

  • Search by place name
  • Search by surname
  • Search by subject or keyword. Try searching for the place name or surname here too, since sometimes the names can be found in the keywords but have not been explicitely tagged as place names or surnames.

Not all records in the catalog are available online because of copyright or licensing restrictions and can only be consulted in the Family History Centers or affiliated libraries. Some may not be digitized yet, and are only available on microfilm in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. You can use the free look-up service to access these sources.

Search images

You can explore historical images, which is a different view of the records in the catalog, presenting the records with more detailed descriptions rather than grouped by category. This can sometimes help you to find records that may be hidden in the regular catalog.

Search books

You can search books in the digital library of FamilySearch. Many of these books are available online. Some are only available in Family History Centers or affiliate libraries because of copyright or licensing restrictions.

Search family tree

You can search the family tree. This is one collaborative tree, where everyone can add or edit information. Often, scans of records have been attached to the tree, either from elsewhere on FamilySearch or because people have uploaded records they found elsewhere. The quality of the research can vary, but it can be a great way to easily discover records.

Search research wiki

The Research wiki has information about doing research, with links to relevant record sets. For example, the Netherlands Genealogy research page has research tips, links to explanations about different types of records in the Netherlands, background information, links to archives, etc.

FamilySearch Research Wiki page for Netherlands genealogy

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CGĀ®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. Great list!! I have already used the look-up service šŸ™‚

  2. I have now added this post to the Tips and Tricks section of the Genealogy page on the library website (the library where I work šŸ™‚ )

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