"How to" Guides for United States and Canada Research

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Are you searching for your ancestors from the United States or Canada? On this page you will find a variety of “How to” guides created by the research specialists at the Family History Library. Using these guides and their accompanying activities will enhance your research skills and knowledge and increase the likelihood of success in locating records of your ancestors.

How to use the guides
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Select a guide from the list below based on your interests. Please note that some guides need to be completed in sequence to ensure a successful experience. Build your research knowledge and confidence with each activity you complete.

Each guide comes with three parts - Instruction, which includes a guided practice, Activity, to test what you've learned, and an Answer key, to check how you did on the activity. The guides are also rated as either Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. The majority are designed for beginners.

The guides are available in PDF form designed to be downloaded and printed. To view a guide, click on its title. Once the guide has opened, use the PDF tools found in your browser to print and save the document.

PLEASE NOTE: Some guides are designed to be completed using resources found in the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. These are indicated by an * following the title of the guide. If you cannot visit the Family History Library, check your local library or your local FamilySearch Family History Center for availability of the resources described in the guide.

Work in progress
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This is a work in progress. Please check back often for new and/or updated guides.

Countries[edit | edit source]

General Help[edit | edit source]

United States[edit | edit source]

Canada[edit | edit source]