I understand that Family Search has a "grand tree" concept, so everyone in the world is on the same tree, but is there any way of working on a family tree other than my own for a friend within Family Search or do you have to set up a separate account to do this?

I know you can do this easily on Ancestry but I'm just interested in Family Search because I want to work with people who can't afford Ancestry.


1 Answer 1


Because it is a communal project, you (and anyone else) can create and edit any profile page in the FamilySearch family tree. The edit history of that page will list your name with any changes made by you, searchable in the "Contributions" tab. If you have special interest in a person, you add their profile to your watch list, that is "follow" them. If a same person has multiple profile pages, they can be merged. Changes can be reversed. Discussions can attempt to resolve conflicting sources.

I don't see any way to organize the lists of one's contributions to separate different "trees" or to tag individual profiles. Maybe bookmarking key profiles in your browser (equivalent to ancestry's home person) would be an adequate substitute.

Caveat: I haven't done any recent editing in the FamilySearch tree profiles. There was the capability by the admins to block further changes for certain profiles but I don't know if that is still in place or what triggers apply.

  • Can you do this with living people, i.e. can I add a friend to my watch list or bookmark them so I can edit their tree?
    – Charlie
    Nov 4, 2020 at 15:07
  • I don't see a lot of profiles for still living people, but if it exists, it would be treated as any other profile. If the person is only listed as an editor, their personal (contact) page may not be accessible except through messaging.
    – bgwiehle
    Nov 4, 2020 at 16:02
  • 1
    The main workspace for FS Family Tree consists solely of deceased people. You may create living people in your own private area but absolutely no one else can see them, nor can you see other people's private area. I guess that the definition of private area is "Living people that I have created" because if you create someone with death details, it automatically goes out into the big tree - you have no private area for deceased people.
    – AdrianB38
    Nov 5, 2020 at 19:28
  • @AdrianB38 - I knew that living people could be added, and that they weren't visible to all, but if the creator gave someone the id number, would the other person be able to access the profile?
    – bgwiehle
    Nov 6, 2020 at 13:35
  • 3
    The answer to "how can I hand on the research I've done on living people on FS" is "give the other person your login credentials". (Which of course means that if the other person makes edits, they'll be labeled as yours.) And the error message is indeed "does not exist" if you input an ID that's in someone else's private area.
    – JPmiaou
    Nov 6, 2020 at 20:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.