Thursday, August 22, 2013

Family History: Some Ideas to Get You Started

I love doing family history work!  I was very blessed to have my mom be "that aunt that does our family history work."  I grew up entering information into the computer, typing family histories and hearing stories of my ancestors.  It certainly created a love for my ancestors.

Not everyone has that experience.  For many, thinking about doing family history work is either scary or one more thing I have to do!  It doesn't have to be that way though.  I thought I would share four easy ways that might help you make family history work an easy and fulfilling part of your life.

1. INDEXING.  Have you ever tried to index?  Indexing is becoming very popular.  Probably because it's so easy to do and so rewarding.  Take time to watch this short video explaining what indexing is.

Here is another video, just out!, showcasing the blessings and happiness that indexing provides us.

Once you have done indexing you realize how easy it is.  Indexing is a great way to serve if you home bound because of young children or home bound because of illness or age.  It's a great activity to do on Sundays. You can index some records in as quickly as five minutes.  I marvel that how simple it all is and what a blessing it is. 

If you haven't tried indexing I'd invite you to try it out and realize what a blessing it will be.  Even just one hour a week is fantastic.  

2. Family Tree. Go to Family Search and set up an account.  Click the Family Tree tag.  At this point you need to enter your self, your parents, and your grandparents.  You just need to add your living family members of your direct line.  Then 'find' your first generation of deceased family members and link them to your living family members.  From there you should be linked up.  You should be able to view all the work that your aunt as done.  You will be amazed and excited!  Start playing around with family tree and understand how it works.  Notice where you are from. Read the names of your ancestors and think about them. Let their names and dates and places become part of you.  Easy and very fun.  

3. Pick A Name.  After you have played around for a while and are familiar with Family Tree pick an ancestor that stands out. (Even if she has her temple work done). Does that ancestor have all of their information? Is there a death date? Marriage date? Is there a birth place?  If not on the same website (I always open up a couple of Family Search pages) go to the search page and start searching.  New records are constantly being added.  Information may be available now that wasn't when her name was originally done.  Along the way you may find that you learn about some children that died that have not been recorded or about a first marriage where the spouse died young.  There are lots of surprises out there waiting to be discovered!

4.  Upload Histories and Pictures.  For you more tech savvy individuals you might enjoy the new features on Family Tree.  You can now upload pictures and family histories.  Many of you have wonderful books of your family history that your aunt put together.  Pull them off the shelf, dust them off and type/scan the information into your Family Tree.  Your aunt will love you for it.  As you do they will start to come alive to you. I believe this is one great way to honor our ancestors.  To show them that their lives are important to us.

My recent experiences.  This past week while working on some family history I felt impressed to try to find some more of a great, great, great mother's children.  On the 1900 census record one question is how many children a women as had and how many are still alive.  This provides great clues.  Now this women's work was done 15 years ago, but for years I've been unable to find all her children.  I had found  11 of her 13.  I was getting close.  As I was praying I felt impressed to pursue a cemetery record on FIND A GRAVE.  (Another great resource!) As I studied the record, long story short, I felt impressed that the record was wrong.  I emailed the compiler of the information and asked her to recheck.  Sure enough it wasn't the cemetery record of the father, but of a missing daughter! Here is the picture I received:

I was so excited to meet baby Goldia! One hour of my life was so worth getting her information so that she could be sealed to her mommy and daddy!

Also a shout out to my wonderful husband.  As I mentioned in a previous post he has had some massive health set backs.  When he's been confined to the bed or a chair for the last six plus months he has spent his time doing family history work.  I know that is one reason the Lord as blessed us so much.  He is using his time the best way he can.

Favorite Quote. Elder Bednar and many other leaders have been championing the youth doing family history work.  This is a BIG work and we need lots of help.  What greater help that the youth of the rising generation.  I love finding my daughter working on her own family history projects.  This is a quote from Elder Bednar. 
"I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary.  As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives." 
A couple of weeks ago while doing family history work the Spirit testified to me that because I was doing family history work that those I worked on would protect my family in every way they could.  As my children have gone back to public school this promise as great meaning and gives me great hope!  Remember also that as we do temple work (after having done family history work) we are growing the army of God on the other side of the veil.  We learn from Zenos that in the last days the laborers would be few.  We need all hands on deck right now and there are so many that want to help us they just need to be put in the game and only we can do that.

I love family history work.  I have a testimony that it is one of the "best" activities we can pursue.

What blessings have come into your life from doing family history work?

1 comment:

crazy4boys said...

We were just reading in the Friend yesterday about indexing. I think it's time to get my kids started! Thanks for the gentle nudge and the help in figuring out how to begin.