There is more to FamilySearch than simply writing down names and dates. Here are 5 other things you can do to enrich your FamilySearch experience.
How many times have you heard the phrase, “My family history is all done”? This phrase is as true as saying, Steve Martin is Mormon. I don’t care what your companion says, there is always more work to do in FamilySearch and Steve Martin in certainly not Mormon!
I have had friend after friend of pioneer stock make this claim, but with all the advancements in FamilySearch, they are often finding joy in being wrong. My friend Alex found over 2,000 names on a family line her husband claimed was “finished”. After spending a full day in the baptistry butchering Dutch names I can tell you, there were people waiting for their work to be done.
Dig a little harder, I promise there are people waiting for work to be done. If you are a little overwhelmed with the thought of flying overseas and doing gravestone rubbings, here are 5 ways to get more out of FamilySearch today!
1. Add Stories to FamilySearch
FamilySearch has a new tool that allows you to add audio and text stories of your family. The Memories App is an amazing tool. (on iOS & Andriod) You can take a Sunday afternoon and go over to Grandma’s house and interview her. All your family can share in the joy as the audio files get uploaded to FamilySearch. It is also great for family reunions to pass around a phone and have everyone share a story about a deceased family member. These are so many stories that paint the canvas of our family that will be lost in the next 15 years if we don’t record them today!
You can also add written stories. They don’t have to be long, just little snapshots of moments from everyday life. When we see our family living their lives, it reminds us that they were very real people.
2. Add Family Photos to FamilySearch
My wife, Kristie, often talks about how excited she is to someday meet our deceased grandparents on the other side of the veil. She looks forward to the day when she will see them, not as the elderly grandparents she knew, but see them as they really are. See them as youthful and full of life. She will know them because she, and others, have added photos of them to FamilySearch. She loves my Grandpa George Russell, and she never even met him!
The Carissa and Jessie over @FamilyHistoryModernized suggest using TurboScan (iOS & Android) to capture older images using your mobile device when you aren’t able to lug around a full blown scanner. Look at this gem!
Look at the stud my Grandpa, George Russell, was. Adding family photos to FamilySearch is like Facebook for dead people! Add photos of them, particularly in their prime. Several of my ancestors only have images of their headstone. While I am grateful to have the image, it is a little grave. (See what I did there?)
In honor of #StPatricksDay this is my Great-Great Grandfather, John McMillan Hayes. When he join the @LDSchurch in Ireland his father kicked him out leaving him with nothing. He emigrated to Utah and because of his sacrifice, I was raised in the Gospel which, to me, mean everything! I want to shout #Hallelujah for the legacy that was passed down to me and do everything I can to honor by making sure the next generations are also raised in a home where the Gospel is taught. #Mormon #LDS #myforeverfamily
3. Read Records on FamilySearch
Thanks to all you wonderful indexers. Because of you, I found my Grandfather’s World War II Enlistment Card. Something neat is that his occupation was listed as clergy. That’s because we got his mission call and draft notice at the same time. He reported to the draft board and they told him to serve his mission (not a common practice) and report the moment he returns.
There are all sorts of records waiting to be discovered. Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means you get free access to Ancestry.com. That site has a wealth of documents. What has been incredible is that these records also show connections to others. We often find names of people who were deceased siblings in infancy, missing parents, and children that open up a whole new line of descendency. Which brings me to the next point:
4. Locate Distant Relations on FamilySearch
You can pick about any record of an individual born in the last 150 years and if you search backward or forward, you are sure to find a Mormon. The Spirit of Elijah is strong and he is constantly helping turning hearts to Christ. Then they turn their hearts to their fathers. My mother (who is a convert) has been contacted several times about work that she is doing by cousins and family who have joined the Church as well and need help doing family history.
The collaborative nature of FamilySearch creates new avenues to connect to our living relatives. (Besides your aunt always inviting you to play Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook). My father’s cousin is constantly adding pictures and stories and it has opened up new lines of communication for our extended family.
5. Get Visual on FamilySearch
FamilyTreePrints.com let’s you take it one step further and helps you design your family fan chart into something you can print in full size and display in your home.
We ordered one and I can’t wait for Kristie to frame it and display it for us. I was pretty proud because we were able to go 9 generations out and not have any gaps!
Why use FamilySearch to learn more about my ancestors?
The reason we should be learning more about our kindred dead is so that we can know them. We want to know them so we can love them. As we grow to love our family we will seek them out. We will be like the sons of Mosiah who “could not bear that any human soul should perish.” (Mosiah 28:3). We will petition for the inspiration of the Spirit as we search. When we find our names to take to the Temple, the experience will be even sweeter.
Join many other saints as they Find names of their ancestors, Take them to the Temple, and Teach others how to help in the effort. Find, Take, & Teach.