Family History, what are you waiting for??
|photo credit: thegilmours.wordpress.com|
I am a family history buff. I don’t know what it is, maybe it is the Spirit of Elijah. Well, not maybe, it definitely is. From the time I was little, I have really enjoyed looking for and finding my ancestors. I love knowing how the families connect and finding out about their lives, where they come from and what my heritage is.
I go through spurts of family history. When we were first married and still students at BYU, I spent a lot of time at their family history library, looking up censuses, viewing microfilm, and making photocopies. It took a.lot.of.time. This was the day before computers were readily accessible, and to tell the truth, before I really knew how to use them.
Today we are so very blessed by this technology. It is amazing! Yesterday I did in two hours, what would probably have taken me several weeks of work 20 years ago. Family history can seem overwhelming because there is so much to be done and we often wonder where to start. I want to share a few thoughts that have kindled my recent Spirit of Elijah and hopefully will ignite yours, if not already aglow, as well.
One: Do family history work 15 minutes at a time. I picked up this tip from a dear sister who works in our family history library. I didn’t believe it was possible at first. But she suggested that we set the timer and only work 15 minutes at a time. I had been putting off doing more family history work because I did not feel I had the time available that I did in our early marriage. However, I decided to give her method a try. I committed to 15 minutes three times a week. I am amazed at what I have been able to accomplish in the last two weeks. Really amazing stuff! Maybe I will put the stats in this post, later.
In the last three weeks I have been working 15 minutes here and there, we have prepared 24 names for baptism, 7 couples to be sealed, and many families to be sealed together. I have the names in a file, in the familysearch family tree (mentioned below) just waiting to be printed the next time we attend the temple. My children can perform those baptisms for their ancestors!
Two: Start with the first 100 years. Don’t think you have to go back to Noah, just make sure you have the information for you, your children, your parents, and your grandparents, if possible. Put in aunts, uncles, cousins. Update what you know without any effort. You will be amazed at what is already out there and in the computer. Just try it!
Three: Start by going here (New Family Search) and type in your lds.org username and password. I like using the new program FamilySearch Family Tree. It is the program that is replacing New Family Search, so I just decided to get used to it. Plus, it has some really neat features!
When you have some information put into that program, it will automatically link you in with other patrons whose lines connect with yours. There may be a lot more there than you have any idea!! Then, you can go to THIS WEBSITE and create the coolest family history tree EVER!
Several days ago, I woke up one morning with a particular ancestor’s name running through my brain. Over, and over, and over again. The next day, I looked her up in FamilySearch Family Tree. Her ordinances were done. Her husband’s ordinances were done. Her children’s ordinances were done. But her parents were not listed. Her line stopped right there. I noticed that my aunt had put her information into the program, so I sent her an email asking about this ancestor and any information she had. She had been looking for our ancestor, but hadn’t found anything. I decided to go to our family history library yesterday and look for her. The library has access to programs I do not have on my home computer, like ancestry.com. I looked for her. And found her immediately! Then, through being able to look at some other patron’s family trees, found her parents, and through census records found her siblings!! It was AWESOME!!!
While I was working on family history a few days ago, a friend of mine was over at the house. She is getting ready to serve a mission. I showed her what I was doing and how easy it was to prepare names for the temple. She got excited and said that another member had showed her where the obituary for her grandfather was in our family history library (he was the coroner, so he knows obituaries!). I called her from the family history library and asked her if she wanted to come with me. She did! I went and picked her up. In the hour and a half that she was there, she added her parent’s information, her grandparent’s information, and aunts and uncles all from the obituary and then she found a couple of other people. I am telling you—just do it!! You will be amazed at how easy it is and how much fun, plus the feelings and promptings you will get as you begin.
Our ancestors have been waiting for decades and centuries to have their work done. They were promised that if they came to earth at a time when temples were not available, their posterity would seek out their information and make sure their covenants were available. It is our time. We have the technology. We have the information available. We have the temples close (ours is four hours away, but closer than any of my ancestors had a temple, or the gospel!).
What are you waiting for????
Log in now! Go, go, go!!!