Navigating the "Explore Historical Images" Feature on FamilySearch


FamilySearch historical image with title new image search

FamilySearch has released a new way for us to research and discover the Historical Images they have for our family. They call this the FamilySearch Historical Image collection. Are you using it?

How to Access the Historical Images on FamilySearch

Accessing the digitized images from around the world from any page on this free genealogy website is easy.

From any page on this family history website,

  • Ensure that you are signed in with a free account.

  • Click Search in the Top Menu.

  • Click on Images.

You will then see a number counter that keeps growing higher and higher and higher. That's because FamilySearch is providing new images in their database every moment of every day.

In fact, images in the Explore Historical Image Collection will appear on this web page before formally added to the Wiki, Card Catalog, or searchable collections through indexing.

View the Record Newest Collections

Above the counting number, you'll see the clickable link on the phrase "View the most recently added images."

Now you can explore the newest collections.

After the page loads, you will find a filterable list of the news images released on FamilySearch. In the video linked below, I noticed new images from Virginia.

How to Search the Newest Historical Images

After clicking "View the most recently added images," you can use the search bar in the page's left column. This form will feature a listing of the latest historical records add to the website in order of the latest upload.


You will see new online images from countries like Russia to Peru, from Australia to Finland. The location and the newest categories of record types are astonishing.

From this website, you can begin searching for your ancestors. However, you won't be looking for a specific name. You'll first look for a location and then a time frame. Then you can browse for your relatives.

Filter By Life Event

Click the dropdown arrow beside "All" under "Life Event." Explore different options such as:

  • Marriage

  • Birth

  • Death

  • Religious

  • Residence

  • Legal

  • Biography

  • Education

  • Employment

  • Military Service

  • Migration


On the day I searched, I noticed religious records for Venezuela and divorce records from Africa.

Search For Records in Specific Place


Perhaps you want to search for records in a specific location. From the front page of the Historical Image collection, type in a city, county, or country in the Place search box.

Let's say we wanted to look in Ontario, Canada. As you type in that location, you'll also see several historically accurate location names.

  • Ontario, Canada

  • Canada West, British Colonial America

  • Upper Canada, British Colonia America

Select the appropriate place name and then click the "Search Record Groups." button.

Notice the variety of record collections on the right. On the left, you can see a filter that says, "Places Within" to refine your search further.


You can still filter by life event and date.


To see how to navigate the historical image card catalog, watch this video.

Video: FamilySearch.org: FamilySearch.org Exploring New Historical Images Tool

What to Do After You Find a Record For Your Ancestor?

While browsing this visual card catalog collection, you may discover a document about your ancestor.


Click the button that says "Attach to Family Tree."

FamilySearch will guide you through a series of forms that will help you collect relevant information before linking the document to a specific person on your family tree.

Have you tried the Historical Imager Record collection?


Admittedly, I forget to navigate this new way to search for historical documents about my ancestors. My first stop is usually record hints and then the FamilySearch Wiki.


Still, I keep striving to make it a part of my genealogy research plan and process.


What are you finding? Are you finding it easier to use than the Card Catalog?

For more tips on using FamilySearch, check out these blog posts:

  • How to Evaluate FamilySearch Hints

  • How to Use FamilySearch.org Hints to Easily Do Genealogy

  • How to Use Puzzilla.org with FamilySearch for Genealogy Research

  • Why Are There Multiple Records for the Same Event on FamilySearch!?!

  • 5 Step Method for Doing Genealogy Research on FamilySearch.org


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