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Generation X: History and Characteristics

FamilySearch - Sat, 01/16/2021 - 08:47

Generation X—so named because of the generation’s refusal to be defined—witnessed some of the world’s greatest advancements, including space exploration and the development of the computer.

Generation X is a relatively smaller generation than those that surround it. Because of the size and influence of Baby Boomers and Millennials, Generation X is sometimes referred to as the forgotten middle child of the generations. While this generation is certainly outnumbered, many of this generation have shaped the world during pivotal years of great change and technological advancement.

Why Are They Called “Generation X”?

The term Generation X  has been used in a couple earlier ways, but the primary use of the term now is used to define the generation following the Baby Boomers. The X was used to give the idea that the generation resisted being defined, with reference to the variable “x” rather than some other characteristic. Generation X—or Gen X for short—was also known as the Baby Busters, the Latchkey Generation, and Post-Boomers.

Generation X Birth Years

According to the Pew Research Center, the birth years of Gen X are 1965–1980. This date range may vary depending on the institution, but what is agreed is that Gen X was born during a unique time in history. Their childhood was defined by many things, such as space exploration, great tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the development of the modern computer.

Generation X Characteristics

  • Independent: This generation is sometimes referred to as latchkey kids or the latchkey generation. These terms were used because a number of them, due to dual-earning parents or other circumstances, came home alone after school. It’s possible that this upbringing fostered the independence in Generation X that we see today.
  • Flexible: Gen Xers have lived through some of the most drastic social changes and developments in history. Of necessity, they grew to be flexible, ready for change when it comes, and prepared to work through it. This flexibility (combined with critical thinking) also led to changes in communication, workplace environments, and culture as Gen Xers questioned cultural practices, such as why a suit was necessary for certain jobs or why some communication was so formal.
  • Critical Thinkers:  While some have called Generation X cynical, a more apt description may be that they’re critical thinkers. As with all generations, Gen X attained higher levels of education than the previous generation and grew up in a time where there was great division in society. Between the Watergate scandal and the divisive Vietnam War, Generation X had fair reason to think critically about the world around them.
  • Self-Reliant: Similar to their independence, Gen Xers learned to depend on themselves and make the best of their situation. Having grown up with the threat of nuclear war over their heads, they didn’t often have the brightest outlook on the future, but they were driven to make a difference and to make their own way in the world.
Their Slice of History The Fall of the Berlin Wall

While the fall of the Berlin Wall was a historic moment in the lives of all generations who witnessed it, it was especially poignant for Gen X. Generation X was born in a time marked by deep tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The Birth of the Personal Computer

Similar to how Millennials grew up with smart phones but remember a time without them, Gen X grew up with the very first personal computers. Though computers were invented before the Gen X generation, the technology was mainly used by large companies or governments. During their youth, Gen Xers witnessed the first use of personal home computers. Though personal computers are commonplace now, their use was revolutionary back then!

Post-Civil Rights Movement

Gen X was the first generation to grow up after the civil rights movement. Many people in this generation grew up with ideas of equality and diversity and don’t remember a time before the civil rights movement.

The Growth of Education

Generation X received more education than previous generations. As with the experience of Baby Boomers, Gen X grew up with a greater emphasis on STEM education, a trend that has continued for Millennials and Generation Z.

The Gen Xers in Your Family

Which members of your family are from Generation X? Find the Gen Xers in your family tree, and ask them about their experiences. You can always record their stories, favorite bands, and anything else in FamilySearch Memories.

Explore the History of Generations

Interested in learning who came before Generation X? Discover the history and characteristics of the other generations.

The Lost Generation The Silent Generation The Greatest Generation Baby Boomer Generation

Guide for Interviewing Relatives about the Civil Rights Movement

FamilySearch - Fri, 01/15/2021 - 16:00

Tips, interview questions, and steps for saving to FamilySearch memories

The Civil Rights Movement began in 1954. It is considered to have ended when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was ratified in 1968, outlawing institutionalized racial discrimination, disenfranchisement, and racial segregation in the United States.

As we continue to strive for racial equality throughout the world, it can be helpful to reflect on the progress that’s been made as we look to meet our present-day challenges. Here is a guide of Civil Rights Movement discussion tips and questions for interviewing others or for personal reflection.

Tips to consider

Don’t assume all stories will be positive or easy to listen to. Be prepared for the emotions that can arise when discussing a very difficult but productive time in history.

Don’t describe racism as an issue of the “past.” Strides for racial equality continue today while discrimination and hate are not yet defeated. Also in 2020, NAACP leaders and President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints together called for increased unity to end systemic racism and individual prejudice: 

“Unitedly we declare that the answers to racism, prejudice, discrimination, and hate will not come from government or law enforcement alone. Solutions will come as we open our hearts to those whose lives are different than our own, as we work to build bonds of genuine friendship, and as we see each other as the brothers and sisters we are—for we are all children of a loving God.”

Keep an open mind while listening. You never know what to expect when asking someone about his or her personal experiences. Try to keep an open mind while listening, and look for key takeaways. If there is disagreement, realize that while you can’t control others, you can control what you learn and how you respond.

Be willing to do more research. Often people don’t remember all of the facts correctly or have been misinformed themselves. Keep a list to fact-check after discussions and interviews. Offer to share your findings.

Remember that no one group knows everything about the civil rights movement. The Civil Rights Movement has affected every community in the United States and beyond in some way.

Don’t ignore concerns about leaders from that time period. No leaders or individuals from the Civil Rights Movement were perfect, but it’s okay to focus on their imperfect yet honorable contributions. Realize that they were humans just like us. Recognize that public figures were held to high standards and scrutinized more than the average community member.

Civil Rights Questions to Ask Your Relatives:
  1. How old were you during the Civil Rights Movement?
  2. Where were you living at the time?
  3. What was your community like?
  4. Did you experience segregation? What was that like? 
  5. What was school like?
  6. What was your family situation?
  7. How did you receive local and national news at the time?
  8. What do you remember about the media coverage of the Civil Rights Movement?
  9. How did you feel about the Civil Rights Movement, and how has that changed today?
  10. What else would you like our generation or the next generation to understand?
  11. When did you first vote?
  12. Who were the prominent government leaders? What do you remember about them?
  13. Who were the important black national figures in this time?
  14. What role did women play in the movement?
  15. Who was fighting for segregation?
  16. Who was fighting against segregation?  
  17. How has the Civil Rights Movement affected your life?
  18. Is there anything else you would like to add? 
Save your Civil Rights Movement interviews with FamilySearch

Saving your oral interviews to FamilySearch is easier than ever! You can use the desktop version of FamilySearch or the FamilySearch Memories app.

Steps (website)

You can upload audio files of up to 15 MB (or about 15-minute increments) from either Memories or Tree. 

Here’s how you upload an audio file from the Memories section:

  1. After signing in to FamilySearch, go to the menu bar at the top of the screen, and click Memories.
  2. In the drop-down, click Gallery.
  3. Click the plus sign (+) in the green circle.
  4. Drag and drop content from your computer to the screen, or click Choose Files
  5. Tag the file to the person in Family Tree that the audio file is either from or about.
Steps (mobile app)

You can record new audio files of up to 15 MB (or about 15-minute increments) and upload them using both the Family Tree and Memories mobile apps. Neither app currently has an option to add prerecorded files. If you already have audio files, upload them using the FamilySearch website.

Here is how you can use the Memories app to record and upload an audio file:

  1. In the Memories mobile app, tap +.
  2. Tap Record Audio.
  3. Tap Start.
  4. Record the answer.
  5. Tap Done.
  6. Enter a title, and tap OK.
  7. Tag the file to the person in Family Tree that the audio file is either from or about.

Refer to our article Using FamilySearch Apps to Record Oral Histories for pictures and step-by-step instructions. 

Family Discovery Day 2021 Goes Virtual with Elder and Sister Holland

FamilySearch - Mon, 01/11/2021 - 19:20

RootsTech Connect 2021 is coming up, and it promises to be a conference unlike any other. As always, RootsTech will have Family Discovery Day on the Saturday of the conference. Participants this year are in for a real treat; the featured speakers at RootsTech Connect Family Discovery Day 2021 are Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland!

Elder and Sister Holland will talk about connections—connections to our ancestors and homelands, to our families and peers, and to God.

How to Participate in Family Discovery Day

Like the rest of RootsTech Connect, Family Discovery Day will be virtual this year. It will stream on several media services—ChurchofJesusChrist.orgYouTubeLatter-day Saints Channel, as well as others. Family Discovery Day 2021 will start at 12:00 noon mountain standard time on Saturday, 27 February. Mark your calendar—you won’t want to miss it!

RootsTech Connect 2021

New Ancestor Discovery Pages Provide a Rich, Engaging Family History Experience

FamilySearch - Mon, 01/11/2021 - 15:27

You can now find some of the best experiences FamilySearch has to offer all gathered in one place—ancestor discovery pages. With FamilySearch’s updated ancestor discovery pages, you can do everything from viewing photos and timelines of your ancestors’ lives to exploring their heritage with fun interactive online activities.

Find Your Ancestor’s Discovery Page What Can You Learn from the Ancestor Discovery Pages?

The new ancestor discovery page has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a fun family activity or detailed information about an ancestor’s life.

Below is a quick snapshot of what you may find on an ancestor’s discovery page.


Try on the traditional clothing your ancestors wore, compare your face to theirs, and view on a map where your ancestors lived.

Life Summary

Read a summary your ancestor’s life. If no life summary is available, no worries—you can sign in to FamilySearch.org and add one!

Time Line

View a time line of your ancestor’s life, including important events such as family birth and death dates and changes in living locations.

Photos and Memories

View photos of your ancestor and discover other important mementos from the ancestor’s life, such as audio recordings and uploaded documents.

Family Names and Name Meanings

Read the meanings behind your ancestor’s first and last names, and learn the names of your ancestor’s parents, siblings, spouse, and children. To learn more about these other family members, simply click the person’s name, and you can view that person’s own personalized ancestor page!

Share Your Ancestor’s Page

If you’ve enjoyed viewing your ancestor’s discovery page, don’t hesitate to share it on your social media or with other family members. You don’t need a FamilySearch account to view ancestor discovery pages, which makes it that much easier for others to view all the exciting information you found on the page!

To share the page, just click one or more of the social media icons found either on the top right of the page or again at the bottom of the page.

How to Find Your Ancestor’s Discovery Page

You may be able to find your ancestor’s discovery page by simply typing the person’s name, birthday (or another vital date), and ‘FamilySearch’ into your web browser. The ancestor’s discovery page will likely pop up in the top search results.

You can also find your ancestor’s page by visiting Ancestors.FamilySearch.org, and then scrolling down the page and clicking Browse Surname Directory. From there, you can find your ancestors’ names by selecting the letter the last name starts with and then clicking the name group that the first and last name would fall under alphabetically.

You don’t need a FamilySearch account to view ancestor discovery pages. However, with a FamilySearch account, you can add photos, sources, a life summary, and other rich information to ancestor discovery pages. Create your free FamilySearch account today.

Where Is Moana From? Discover the Real Heritage of Disney’s Latest Princess

FamilySearch - Fri, 01/08/2021 - 15:00

Since its release in 2016, Disney’s ground-breaking movie Moana has charmed millions of viewers and led thousands of children (and adults) to play the song “How Far I’ll Go” on repeat. Part of what makes the move so compelling is its basis in real tradition and heritage—a fact that has prompted many people to ask questions such as “Where is Moana from?” and “What is Moana’s culture?”

Although Moana is from the fictional island Motnui some 3,000 years ago, the story and culture of Moana is based on the very real heritage and history of Polynesian islands such as Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, and Tahiti.

In fact, once you start looking for ties to Polynesian culture in Moana, it’s hard to stop! Everything from the island homes (created in the form of the traditional Samoan fale) to the tattoos on Maui’s back (a nod to Polynesian tattooing) are a tribute to Polynesian heritage.

As culturally accurate as Disney tried to make Moana, the company and movie don’t speak for all of Polynesia and its people. The movie did get some aspects of the heritage wrong, and as much as it tried to include Polynesian traditions and history, there is still so much to discover! Explore below a few of the ways the story of Moana is based on Polynesian history and tradition.

Moana’s Voyaging Canoe

It’s true, Polynesians were a seafaring people! The canoe in Moana is modeled after the ancient, highly efficient voyaging canoe. The ingenious design—two canoes lashed together by crossbeams—enabled it to weather rough seas and carry more weight, allowing Polynesian people to sail for thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean. The vessels could be as long as 60 feet and carry as many as 24 passengers.

However, in the movie, Moana sails on a much smaller single-hulled outrigger canoe. Unlike the larger double-canoe voyaging crafts, Moana’s outrigger was one canoe asymmetrically bound to a much smaller hull. The classic double-hulled canoes are displayed in the cavern that Moana visits with her grandmother and then again at the end of the movie.


In the movie, Moana uses the stars to navigate her way on the sea. This technique is called wayfinding, and it has been used for thousands of years by Polynesian voyagers.

Wayfinding includes a variety of navigational methods. For example, wayfinders would observe the flight patterns of birds to gauge the direction of land. They would also release a bird and determine that they were close to land if the bird did not return. Navigators would also watch for changes in the waves and swells of the ocean. And, of course, wayfinders would determine their position by measuring the stars—often with their own hands, as depicted in the movie.

“The Long Pause” in Polynesian History

What about the fact that Moana’s people had stopped sailing into the open ocean? Turns out, this phenomenon is also historically accurate! There’s evidence that mass-exploration throughout the Pacific Ocean began around 3,500 years ago, but for some reason all voyaging later halted for a 2,000-year period some historians call “The Long Pause.”

Historians don’t know why Polynesian people stopped exploring. Some, however, theorize that a change in wind patterns made it too difficult, which may be why Moana’s father warned about sailing beyond the reef. In the movie, the rough seas are attributed to the loss of Te fiti’s heart, which was stolen by Maui.

Anthropologists are equally puzzled about why “The Long Pause” ended. One theory is that an algae bloom began killing off fish, forcing Polynesians to take up sailing again to find food away from the island. This possibility isn’t too far off from what happens in Moana when the island’s vegetation and fish inexplicably begin dying off, forcing Moana to look beyond the island for a solution.

The Myth of Maui

Moana references Polynesian mythology all throughout the movie, specifically with the character Maui. Although Maui isn’t a perfect portrayal of the original legends (and the legends vary across islands), the Disney version does incorporate some familiar, favorite Polynesian stories.

For example, the movie depicts the often-told legend of Maui’s fishhook and its role in pulling up land from the ocean to create the Polynesian islands. Maui’s song “You’re Welcome” also mentions several Polynesian myths about Maui.

Polynesian Languages in Moana

Unsurprisingly, Polynesian names and languages are peppered throughout the movie. Moana’s very name means “ocean” in many Polynesian languages, and the name Tala, the name of Moana’s grandmother, means “story” in Samoan.

The song “We Know the Way” features lyrics in both Samoan and Tokelauan, a Polynesian language that only about 3,000 people in the world speak today.

The translated version of the song refers to the traditional art of wayfinding, saying “We know the ways of the sea / We look to the stars and other signs to find our way” and “There is land up ahead / A bird in flight to take us there.”

Moana’s Love of Family

Family is an important part of Polynesian culture, and it is a significant theme of Moana. At the start of the movie, Moana is confused and conflicted about her place in her family and on the island. When Moana comes to understand the larger story of her family, which includes her voyaging ancestors, she begins to understand who she is.

At its core, Moana is about a young girl discovering the story of her ancestors and embracing her heritage as an explorer. In many ways, the movie answers the question “Where is Moana from?” by showing Moana all the ways her heritage makes her the person she is.

Thankfully, it doesn’t take battling pirates and journeying thousands of miles across the ocean to follow the call of your ancestors. The adventure of exploring your family story can start right where you are! You can discover more about your Polynesian heritage with the following articles and activities.

Samoan Culture and TraditionsFijian Culture and TraditionsHeritage ActivitiesAll about Me

Things to Do in Brazil to Discover Your Heritage

FamilySearch - Fri, 01/08/2021 - 13:47

You can travel to many places in Brazil to discover and celebrate your Brazilian heritage, whether your ethnic background is indigenous, Portuguese, African, East Asian, Middle Eastern, or any combination of these! Explore your heritage with these incredible things to do in Brazil.

Over hundreds—even thousands—of years, Brazil has been home to many cultures and peoples. Today, their stories are layered in the culture, architecture, art, food, and traditions of this South American nation.

So much history lives in Brazil that several historic city centers have been named as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Other unique historical places, such as mining towns, plantations, and refugee villages, also preserve important stories. Here are just a few destinations in Brazil that celebrate the heritage of its immigrant and indigenous peoples.

Manaus: Heart of the Amazon

The vibrant city of Manaus lies in the heart of the rainforest, where the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões join to form the mighty Amazon River. At the Museu da Amazônia, visitors can survey the rainforest from the treetops and learn more about natural and human history in the area.

From Manaus, many tours head deeper into the Amazon; some include a visit to a settlement of the Dessana tribe. The Museu do Indio (Museum of the Indian) preserves the stories of local indigenous cultures, and the Museu do Homem do Norte (Museum of Northern Man) celebrates the histories of both past and contemporary residents.

Many buildings in Manaus preserve the legacies of European contact, which began in 1499 but became more permanent with the building of the Fort of São José da Barra do Rio Negro in the 1600s. Get a glimpse of the colonial era at the Catedral Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Conception), originally constructed in 1695 and rebuilt after an 1850 fire.  

Experience the gilded era of European settlement (1890–1920) at the Teatro Amazonas opera house, or stroll past the ornate customs house, lighthouse, and floating dock on the banks of the Rio Negro. Dine at one of the many Lebanese or other ethnic restaurants, and learn about immigrant groups who flocked to Manaus.

Explore your Brazilian heritage by searching for records about your ancestors and learning about migrations that affected them.

Salvador de Bahia: The Pelourinho

The Portuguese colonial capital of Brazil, Salvador de Bahia, was founded over 500 years ago and became a major seaport. The historic city center is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the Pelourinho section of the city center, enjoy beautiful churches, convents, palaces, and brightly colored houses, some dating to the 1600s. Several military fortifications built during the 1500s and 1600s also remain in Salvador, testaments to the realities of colonial power struggles.

UNESCO recognizes Salvador de Bahia as the site of the first slave market in the Americas. Beginning in the 1550s, people from various places in Africa, including Angola and Mozambique, were captured and forcibly brought to work in Brazil’s sugar plantations.

Today, Salvador residents are still predominantly of African origin, and the city’s foods and music reflect this heritage. Learn more about African Brazilian heritage at the Afro Brazilian Museum in Salvador.

Ouro Preto: A Mining Town

The town of Ouro Preto, north of Rio de Janeiro, was founded in the 1700s and became the center of the rich gold mining district of Vila Rica. Its isolated, mountainous location left the town isolated, and its original baroque architecture has been well-preserved, earning it a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. Travelers can wind through cobblestone streets lined with colonial churches, squares, homes, bridges, and public buildings. Particularly fascinating is a theater built in 1769—one of the oldest in the Americas, and still in use today.

To more fully appreciate the experiences of many early residents, including enslaved Africans, go underground. Workers toiled long, dark, dangerous hours in the mines. The former Mine du Veloso has been converted into an exhibition mine. On a guided tour, you can learn (in English or Portuguese) about the daily lives and ingenious techniques used by miners.

Rio de Janeiro: Rich with Heritage

One of the world’s biggest cities, Rio de Janeiro is also recognized by UNESCO as “staggeringly beautiful.” Many of the most popular tourist attractions tell stories of the people who came before. For example, the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks the city was built to celebrate the Christian heritage of many Brazilians. Sugarloaf, the best landmark from which to view the city, towers over the 17th-century Fort São João, now renovated and open to the public.

Free walking tours of the city, led by knowledgeable guides, help visitors better understand the roles of both Portuguese and Africans in the city’s history. Visit the Museu Histórico Nacional (National History Museum), which houses important historical buildings, museum exhibits, and a library dedicated to Brazilian history and culture. For a more somber commemoration, walk along the Valongo Wharf archaeological site, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, where hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans landed when they arrived in Brazil.

Fazendas and Quilombos: Legacies of Slavery

For centuries, Brazil’s economy relied on the enslaved labor of millions of people on plantations, in gold and diamond mines, on cattle ranches, and more. Today, various places across the country bear witness to their experiences. Some fazendas (plantations) still in operation today open their doors and share their histories with visitors. Fazenda Tozan is one such place. Originally a sugarcane plantation, it was acquired by a Japanese immigrant family and is now a coffee farm.

Courtesy of Ministério da Cultura

Other destinations that reveal Brazil’s history are the many quilombos scattered around the country. These were villages established by refugees from slavery and further populated by others who joined them. Perhaps the best known is the quilombo of Palamares, an isolated region inland to which escapees fled during the 1600s. Learn more about quilombos and specifically about Palamares at the Quilombo dos Palmares Memorial Park.

Celebrate your Brazilian heritage by sharing traditional recipes on FamilySearch.org—and the stories and memories that go with them.

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How One Teenager’s Passion for Family History Changed Lives

FamilySearch - Tue, 01/05/2021 - 14:09

Luke Morrison is one of those rare teenagers who, at age 16, spends more time on the FamilySearch app than on Facebook. According to him, his passion for family history began at birth—actually, before birth.

“It all began in the womb,” Luke joked, trying to pinpoint when his love of family history started. “It might be because both my mom and dad were temple workers when my mother was pregnant with me. I am as obsessed with temples as I am with FamilySearch. I love everything about temples.”

Whether it started before he was born, Luke’s interest in family history definitely started young. Not only that, but his passion for genealogy has led to hundreds of indexed records, the discovery of family stories even his parents didn’t know, and inspiring of countless people around him to explore their family history.

The Beginning of a Lifelong Passion

Luke’s fascination with temples started with his parents but took flight after a Primary trip to the temple grounds when he was just 5 years old. Enthralled by the temple’s beauty and the people he saw coming and going from the building, he became interested in what was happening inside.

After explaining the ties between the temple and family history, Luke’s father began sharing family stories and showing Luke pictures of his ancestors. By age 10, Luke was begging for opportunities to search genealogy records online and eagerly looked forward to the day when he could have his own FamilySearch account.

By the time Luke turned 12, he had 10 family names prepared to take with him on his first youth temple trip. Nothing would stand in his way for this temple trip; he even arranged to be ordained at 6 a.m. on the morning of the trip. For the next two years, Luke continued to search and gather names and got as many ordinances done as he could for family members. 

“Can I Do This at Home?”

Luke soon learned that there was even more that he could do with family history. One day, while sick, Luke was sent to his grandparents’ house. He was bored, and his grandfather asked him how well he could read cursive handwriting. 

“Come help me on my computer, Luke,” his grandfather said.

The two of them found an old record from Illinois. It was not easy at first, but his grandpa helped him to eventually understand and index the records. Luke asked, “Can I keep doing this at home?” 

Within the year, Luke completed over 500 records.

“Indexing helped me learn how to do research to find more ancestors,” he said. “Research has now become my favorite activity. I feel a bit like a detective. I find facts and use supporting sources to prove family relationships.” 

“Family History Has Helped Our Family Grow Together”

Luke’s mother, Christina, takes no credit for her son’s passion.

“Luke has done this completely on his own,” she said. “He loves it so much. We call him ‘the supplier’ because he supplies our entire family with stories and information about all the relatives. He has even helped my parents learn more about our family history.”

At family gatherings, Luke will entertain everyone with family stories, especially ones his family hasn’t heard before. Christina recalled a time when Luke shared a story about her great-grandfather, who had been in a serious car accident that had been featured in the local news. Luke had found the news clipping on Newspapers.com.

“No one knew about that (car) incident, and it gave us more insight into my great-grandfather’s life,” Christina said. “It is a blessing for Luke to have family history work as his passion. It helps our family grow together and ties us to our extended family.”

Getting Others Involved

Luke’s passion is infectious, and he finds every opportunity to involve others in family history.

“I’ve learned that one-on-one is the most effective way to teach about family history,” he said. “Another important technique is to make family history as simple as possible. Don’t use complex terms that can be confusing.”

Before meeting with those he helps, Luke does extensive research about the lives of the person’s relatives: where they were from, difficulties in their lives, food they might have eaten, clothing they wore, their likely daily activities, and even the weather.

“Knowing these things helps me connect with them and understand the whys behind how they lived their lives. They become real people, not just a name on a page,” Luke explained. “I pray before I work with someone. When I pray, I am often prompted to find things I know I would never have found otherwise.” 

Youth Can Find Great Satisfaction in Doing Family History Work

Luke believes that more youth would find great satisfaction doing family history if they knew how to get started.

“It’s all in the approach,” Luke said about how to engage youth in family history. “Youth like to be with other youth. And it is important to keep them interested and entertained.”

Luke offered a suggestion for how to get youth interested in family history—ignore the years, dates, and statistics, and tell the stories.

“The more cool, obscure, or weird things they find out about their ancestors, the more they will keep doing research, and those ancestors will keep them engaged,” he explained. “Youth have time at this point in their lives. Instead of wasting time on social media when they are waiting in line or riding in the car, they could be using those brief moments on the FamilySearch app.” 

“We Are All in This Together”

When asked “Why do you do it?” Luke expressed his feelings this way, “I feel like this is my little part in building the kingdom. My contributions are just a 100th of a percent in comparison to what others do. We are all in this together, and I just strive to do my part.”

Monthly Record Update for December 2020

FamilySearch - Fri, 01/01/2021 - 12:30

FamilySearch expanded its free online archives in December of 2020 with over 28 million new indexed family history records from all over the world. New historical records were added from Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Guatemala, Kiribati, Mexico, Micronesia, Nicaragua, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Samoa, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Zambia, and the United States, which includes  Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Find your ancestors using these free archives online, including birth, marriage, death, and church records. Millions of new genealogy records are added each month to make your search easier.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Check back next month and, in the meantime, search existing records on FamilySearch.

CountryCollection Indexed Records Digital ImagesCommentArgentinaArgentina, Salta, Civil Registration, 1880-2000            7,689
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionAustriaAustria, Vienna, Jewish Registers of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1784-1911          36,618
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionBoliviaBolivia Catholic Church Records, 1566-1996        197,677
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionBrazil Brazil, Bahia, Civil Registration, 1877-1976                   21
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionBrazilBrazil, Civil Registration, 1860-2006          23,030
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionBrazilBrazil, Minas Gerais, Civil Registration, 1879-1949          70,407
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionBrazilBrazil, Santa Catarina, Civil Registration, 1850-1999            4,210
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionCanadaManitoba Church Records, 1800-1959                139
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionCanadaNova Scotia Church Records, 1720-2001            3,500
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionCape VerdeCape Verde, Catholic Church Records, 1787-1957            3,427
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionColombiaColombia, Catholic Church Records, 1576-2018                888
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionCosta RicaCosta Rica, Cemetery Records, 1958-2013          13,068
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionCroatiaCroatia, Delnice Deanery Catholic Church Books, 1571-1926            7,626
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionDominican RepublicDominican Republic Miscellaneous Records, 1921-1980          48,2300Added indexed records to an existing collectionDominican RepublicDominican Republic, Catholic Church Records, 1590-1955          24,673
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionDR CongoDemocratic Republic of the Congo, Census, 1984        159,124
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionEcuadorEcuador, Catholic Church Records, 1565-2011        264,317
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionEcuadorEcuador, Cemetery Records, 1862-2019        140,047
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionEl SalvadorEl Salvador Catholic Church Records, 1655-1977            3,456
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionEnglandEngland, Essex Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-1971            2,309
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionEnglandEngland, Gloucestershire Non-Conformist Church Records, 1642-1996          18,112
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionEnglandEngland, Herefordshire Bishop’s Transcripts, 1583-1898          36,477
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionEnglandEngland, Middlesex Parish Registers, 1539-1988          28,639
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionEnglandEngland, Northumberland Non-Conformist Church Records, 1613-1920          33,540
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionFijiFiji, General Register of Immigrants, 1870-1911            1,137
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionFijiFiji, Immigration Passes, 1879-1916                  52
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionFijiFiji, Plantation Register of Indian Immigrants, 1879-1919          39,095
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionFinlandFinland, Tax Lists, 1809-1915          24,7980Added indexed records to an existing collectionFranceFrance, Eure, Parish and Civil Registration, 1526-1902     4,134,825
0New indexed records collectionFranceFrance, Haute-Garonne, Toulouse, Civil Registration, 1792-1893          11,079
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionFranceFrance, Marne, Census, 1856        114,345
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionFranceFrance, Nord, Parish and Civil Registration, 1524-1893     2,189,156
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionFranceFrance, Saône-et-Loire, Parish and Civil Registration, 1530-1892                904
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionFranceFrance, Seine-Saint-Denis, Parish and Civil Registration, 1523-1932        708,3810New indexed records collectionFrench PolynesiaFrench Polynesia, Civil Registration, 1780-1999            1,486
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionGermanyGermany, Hessen-Nassau, Diocese of Limburg, Catholic Church Records, 1601-1919          32,756
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionGermanyGermany, Prussia, Saxony, Census Lists, 1770-1934          24,498
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionGermanyGermany, Rhineland-Palatinate, Diocese of Mainz, Catholic Church Records, 1540-1952        639,322
0New indexed records collectionGermanyGermany, Württemberg, Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Catholic Church Records, 1520-1975        470,686
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionGuatemalaGuatemala, Catholic Church Records, 1581-1977        120,040
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionGuatemalaGuatemala, Chimaltenango, Civil Registration, 1877-1994          55,995
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionKiribatiKiribati, Vital Records, 1890-1991                751
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionMexicoMexico, Campeche, Catholic Church Records, 1638-1944        427,049
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionMexicoMexico, Durango, Catholic Church Records, 1604-1985        986,261
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionMexicoMexico, Hidalgo, Catholic Church Records, 1546-1971     1,994,372
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionMexicoMexico, Nuevo León, Catholic Church Records, 1667-1981        654,486
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionMexicoMexico, Sinaloa, Catholic Church Records, 1671-1968        337,310
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionMexicoMexico, Sinaloa, Civil Registration, 1861-1929          40,346
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionMexicoMexico, Yucatán, Catholic Church Records, 1543-1977     1,913,479
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionMexicoMexico, Zacatecas, Catholic Church Records, 1605-1980     1,694,888
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionMicronesiaMicronesia, Civil Registration, 1883-1983          14,116
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionMicronesiaMicronesia, Death Records, 1970-1986                527
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionNicaraguaNicaragua, Catholic Church Records, 1740-1960            4,902
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionNorwayNorway Census, 1900     2,260,720
0New indexed records collectionNorwayNorway, Probate Index Cards, 1640-1903            6,407
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionOtherFind A Grave Index     4,082,724
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionPapua New GuineaPapua New Guinea, Birth Records, 1888-2004          13,741
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionParaguayParaguay, Military Records, 1870-1965          22,592
0New indexed records collectionPeru Peru, Pasco, Civil Registration, 1931-1996                     4
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionPeruPeru, Catholic Church Records, 1603-1992          16,745
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionPeruPeru, Diocese of Huaraz, Catholic Church Records, 1641-2016          14,348
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionPeruPeru, Piura, Civil Registration, 1874-1996        200,346
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionPeruPeru, Prelature of Yauyos-Cañete-Huarochirí, Catholic Church Records, 1665-2018          31,020
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionPortugalPortugal, Faro, Civil Registration, 1880-1920                  24
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionPuerto RicoPuerto Rico, Catholic Church Records, 1645-1969          15,284
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionPuerto RicoPuerto Rico, Civil Registration, 1805-2001            6,125
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionSamoaSamoa, Vital Records, 1846-1996          33,080
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionSouth AfricaSouth Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-2004          57,718
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionSouth AfricaSouth Africa, Civil Death Registration, 1955-1966        124,392
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionSouth AfricaSouth Africa, Dutch Reformed Church Registers (Cape Town Archives), 1660-1970          19,131
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionSouth AfricaSouth Africa, KwaZulu Natal, Vital Records, 1868-1976          18,981
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionSri LankaSri Lanka, Colombo District, Dutch Reformed Church Records, 1677-1990            1,913
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionSwedenSweden, Stockholm City Archives, Index to Church Records, 1546-1927            8,439
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited KingdomEngland and Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1640-1660            9,251
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited KingdomEngland, Devon, Plymouth, Electoral Rolls, 1781-1973          74,093
0New indexed records collectionUnited States Michigan, Saginaw County, Biographical Card File, ca. 1830-2000                   66
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited States New Jersey, Death Index, 1901-1903; 1916-1929             2,715
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited States Pennsylvania Delayed Birth Records, 1941-1976                 219
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited States Texas, Grimes County, Marriage Records, 1951-1966                 132
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited States Virginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, County Marriage Registers, 1853-1935                 909
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited States Virginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Death Records, 1853-1912                 369
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesAlabama, Military Discharge Records, ca.1918 – ca.1962          14,419
0New indexed records collectionUnited StatesArizona, Gila County, Voting Registers, 1881-1920                299
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesArizona, Santa Cruz County, Voting Records, 1900-1920                    7
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesArkansas, Military Discharge Records, ca.1917 – ca.1969          31,817
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesArkansas, Military Discharge Records, ca.1917 – ca.1969          11,704
0New indexed records collectionUnited StatesCalifornia, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994          49,014
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesCalifornia, Los Angeles, Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery/Crematory Records, 1884-2002          55,669
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesCalifornia, Military Discharge Records, 1856-1965            4,338
0New indexed records collectionUnited StatesGeorgia, County Voter Registrations, 1856-1941        407,607
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesHawaii State Archives, Chinese Immigration Labor Permit Records, 1893-1898          16,988
0New indexed records collectionUnited StatesHawaii, Honolulu, Voter Registration Applications, ca. 1920-1966          29,2640Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesHawaii, Various Islands, Circuit Court Divorce Records, 1849-1915            7,453
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesIllinois, Chicago, Voter Registers, 1888-1892        598,753
0New indexed records collectionUnited StatesIndiana Marriages, 1811-2007        333,633
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesIndiana, Voter Registers, 1850-1931        187,003
0New indexed records collectionUnited StatesMaine, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1990          32,923
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMaine, Washington County Courthouse Records, 1785-1950          11,355
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMassachusetts, Boston Tax Records, 1822-1918        360,053
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMichigan, Saginaw County, Biographical Card File, ca. 1830-2000                807
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMississippi, County Marriages, 1858-1979        117,099
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesMississippi, Voter Registration, 1871-1967          48,749
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesNew Jersey Naturalization Records, 1796-1991            9,468
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesNew Jersey, County Naturalization Records, 1749-1986          60,663
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesNew Jersey, Death Index, 1901-1903; 1916-1929            6,164
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesOhio, Voter Records, 1893-1960                  37
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesPennsylvania Delayed Birth Records, 1941-1976            2,368
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesSouth Dakota, County Naturalization Records, 1865-1972          41,327
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesTexas, Grimes County, Marriage Records, 1951-1966                584
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesTexas, Indexes and Manifests of Arrivals at the Port of Del Rio, 1906-1953          62,941
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesTexas, Various Counties, Military Discharge Records, 1916-1990            2,582
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesTexas, Voter Records, 1867-1918            7,391
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesUtah, Brigham City Family History Center, Obituary Collection, 1930-2015          53,895
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesUtah, Cemetery Abstracts            1,406
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesVirginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, County Marriage Registers, 1853-1935                  78
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesVirginia, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Death Records, 1853-1912                298
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesVirginia, County Marriage Records, 1771-1943                273
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesVirginia, Various Counties, Marriage Bonds, 1706-1901            1,600
0New indexed records collectionUnited StatesWashington Voting Records, 1876-1940          16,180
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesWashington, County Birth Registers, 1873-1965        189,325
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesWashington, Seattle, Passenger Lists, 1890-1957        159,022
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionUnited StatesWisconsin, County Naturalization Records, 1807-1992          12,965
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionVenezuelaVenezuela Civil Registration, 1873-2003            2,332
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionVenezuelaVenezuela, Catholic Church Records, 1577-1995        241,386
0Added indexed records to an existing collectionZambiaZambia, Archdiocese of Lusaka, Church Records, 1950-2015          26,565
0Added indexed records to an existing collection

Unique Time Capsule Ideas That the Future You Will Appreciate

FamilySearch - Thu, 12/31/2020 - 13:46

A time capsule is a container full of memorabilia from a certain time that is meant to be opened later. Creating a time capsule is not only a creative and thoughtful way to pass the time, but future recipients of the time capsule—including the future you—will be grateful for the glimpse into a different time.

Although you can make a time capsule from any old shoebox and current newspaper clippings, why not bring your time capsule to the 21st century with these fun, creative time capsule ideas? The following time capsule ideas are not only fun and hassle free, but they can be accessed quickly and preserved forever digitally (as well as printed and preserved in your home if you prefer).

Create a Playlist of Songs

A song can take us right back to the family road trip where we first heard it, or it can remind us of the best friend who loved belting out the lyrics. According to experts, music can cue memories, making it a perfect time capsule for our experiences.

Making a music time capsule is relatively hassle free; you can create a playlist of songs on your favorite music platform, or simply write down a list of songs that capture a moment in time. This time capsule idea can be flexible and doesn’t have to include songs you are listening to right now; it can have a theme based on certain people or experiences. Here are some questions that can help you decide what to include.

  1. What song are you listening to on repeat right now?
  2. What songs remind you of your parents or a close friend or family member?
  3. What songs do you listen to when you’re feeling sad? What about when you’re happy?
  4. If you had to pick songs that defined the previous month or year, what would they be?
Save Your Favorite Online Messages

It’s not uncommon to save old birthday cards and letters, but what about the online communication between family and friends? Some of the most heartfelt interactions—and funniest exchanges—can happen over text or instant messaging.

One of the easiest ways to preserve these conversations is to create a screenshot of them from your phone or computer and then add the image to a digital album. Give the folder or album a label like “Favorite Text Messages” or “Family Group Chat Moments That Made Me Smile.”

Take Photos of Your House and Hometown

You might have a hundred photos from vacation, but what about your daily life? Years from now, you may wish you had captured everyday ever-changing places such as your daughter’s childhood bedroom or the full-of-character family car.

Create a time capsule of your home by photographing your bedroom or making a video tour of the house. The time capsule idea doesn’t need to be limited to your home; take photos of your favorite local haunts, or draw a map of your hometown and make notes in the margins about your favorite restaurants and places to visit.

Capture the Latest Fashions

Crack out your camera and favorite outfits and start snapping photos! Because fashion trends are always changing, opening a fashion time capsule can offer the most rewarding then-and-now comparisons. You may find your future self simultaneously laughing about and feeling nostalgic for the old trends and outdated outfits.

You can also collect and save fashion photos from online or from a magazine, but the photoshoot sounds more fun and is more personal.

Write about Your Favorite Memories

It’s never too late to create a time capsule, even about things that happened to you years ago! Start recording the experiences and memories that you never want to forget. Although you can write down these memories on paper and tuck them away in a safe place, a digital time capsule ensures that your recordings won’t get physically damaged or lost in your home.

Record My Memories not only provides writing prompts for your time capsule, but you can preserve your memories online at FamilySearch.org.

Discover Your Already-Made Time Capsule

Did you know there’s already a time capsule out there made just for you? The FamilySearch All about Me experience has all the classic time-capsule information you need. For different times in your life (your birthday, for example), the experience will show you the cost of gas, that year’s most popular movies and music, and top news stories at the time. Explore your time capsule today!

Go to All about Me Time Capsule

Mark Your Calendar: 2021 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction

FamilySearch - Wed, 12/30/2020 - 09:00

Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, and Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will host training to instruct ward and stake leaders, youth quorum and class presidencies, and members with missionary or temple and family history callings and responsibilities.

On-demand viewing will be available beginning on 25 February 2021.

Who Should Participate?

The leadership instruction is a great opportunity to hear what Church leaders are saying about the importance of temple and family history work. It is also a great opportunity to learn how you can be more effective in supporting, encouraging, and helping others receive blessings. Those invited to participate include members of stake and ward councils, bishoprics and branch presidencies, elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies, Young Women and Primary presidencies, ward mission leaders and missionaries, ward temple and family history leaders and consultants, and Young Women class and Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidencies.

This Year’s Theme

The theme will be “Hear Him through Temple and Family History Work,” with a focus on this promise from President Russell M. Nelson, “I promise that as you increase your time in temple and family history work, you will increase and improve your ability to hear Him” (“Hear Him,” Apr. 2020 general conference).

Elder Bednar, Elder Stevenson, and Elder Renlund will undoubtedly talk about ways we can apply the prophet’s counsel in our own lives and how we can help those we minister to do the same. Other General Authorities and General Officers of the Church will also speak.

How to Prepare

You can prepare for the 2021 leadership instruction by watching past leadership instruction sessions. Last year, for example, Elder Renlund talked about the role of the ward temple and family history leader and how Church members can use family history in their ministering to others. And in 2019, Elder Bednar demonstrated ways to make the ward temple and family history coordination meeting more effective. He was joined by Elder Stevenson and Elder Renlund, who likewise presented.   

On-demand viewing for this year’s leadership instruction will be available starting on Thursday, 25 February 2021. You can find it by going to ChurchofJesusChrist.org/family-history or to the Church broadcast page. Broadcast languages are English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Swedish. A recording of the training will also be available in the Gospel Library soon after the event.

20 Things to Do in Scotland to Discover Its Cultural Heritage

FamilySearch - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 19:32

Scotland is an amazing place to visit, particularly if you have Scottish ancestors. By traveling to your ancestral homelands, you can build a connection with your ancestors, grow to understand and appreciate your cultural heritage, and fall in love with a new place. 

Scotland, famously known for its kilts and bagpipes, boasts a rich history, picturesque landscapes, and cultural depth. Start planning your trip with the following 20 things to do when you visit Scotland.

Keep an eye out for asterisks, which identify UNESCO World Heritage sites that are noted worldwide as being culturally or naturally significant locations.

Scottish Cultural Experiences

Participate in Scottish festivals for a taste of how the Scots celebrate, or visit museums for insight into Scotland’s history.

Highland Games

Celebrate Scottish and Celtic culture in the Highland Games, held annually in the spring and summer. Participate in competitions, or enjoy exhibitions of Scotland’s cultural arts.

St. Andrew’s Day

As a remembrance in late November of the beginning of Scotland as a nation, St. Andrew’s Day celebrates traditional Scottish culture. You will find traditional foods, music, poetry, and dancing. 

National Museum of Scotland

The aim of the National Museum of Scotland is to preserve the past and present of Scotland, making it the perfect place to explore your cultural heritage.


Hogmanay is the last day of the year and is a celebration of the new year. It is a 2-day event that is all about visiting friends and family and symbolic gift-giving, with a particular emphasis on the first person of the year to visit a home.

The People’s Palace

The People’s Palace originally served as a cultural center for the people of Glasgow. Today, it serves as a museum, with a collection of memorabilia that give insight into life in Glasgow.

Scottish Historic Sites

These sites include well-preserved buildings, including some from thousands of years ago, influential developments, and areas of cultural significance.

*Heart of Neolithic Orkney

This historic location depicts life in Scotland around 5,000 years ago. You’ll have the chance to see a unique chambered tomb, the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar (which are ceremonial stone circles), and a small village known as Skara Brae.

*Forth Bridge

When it opened in 1890, the Forth Bridge was the longest bridge in the world. It was an important milestone in style and engineering, and it still serves as a functional railway bridge.

*New Lanark

The development of New Lanark, a small mill town, marked an important cultural shift in favor of the working class. Robert Owen’s leadership in the 19th century worked to humanely meet the needs of workers and inspired similar changes in the Industrial Revolution.

Gearrannan Blackhouse Village

Fully abandoned in the 1970s, the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village became a conservation area that now allows you to spend the night in traditional Scottish stone homes, allowing you to more fully experience how your Scottish ancestors likely lived.

*Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

Two historic districts are uniquely nestled together in Edinburgh, the 15th-century medieval old town and the 18th-century neoclassical new town. Both feature many important buildings, including the Edinburgh Castle, and both have had a lasting impact on Europe.

Melrose Abbey

While it is now a ruin, Melrose Abbey still bears the intricate artistry used in its construction. Legend claims that the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce was taken on a tour of the Holy Land and then returned and buried in Melrose Abbey.

Nature in Scotland

Landscapes have the unique ability to tell a history of the earth and the people who have lived there. There are too many stunning scenes in Scotland to list them all, but these are some of the top sites worth a stop. 

Loch Ness

Loch Ness is a freshwater sea inlet located in the Highlands of Scotland. It is famous for rumored sightings of the Loch Ness monster in its waters and has served as inspiration for many cultural phenomena.

*St. Kilda

St. Kilda is a volcanic group of islands that has remained uninhabited since 1930. There, you’ll find large colonies of puffins and gannets, some of the tallest cliffs in Europe, and ruins from over 2,000 years of human life in the islands’ stormy conditions.

Shetland Geopark

The Shetland Geopark boasts the largest variety of geology in any area its size, and it truly tells a tale of how the land was formed. The rocks here tell a history of the ocean opening and closing, mountains forming and eroding, and climates shifting. You will also see an extinct volcano, the tallest cliffs in Britain, and the edges of the Great Glen Fault.

Ben A’an

Climb to the top of the Ben A’an hill, and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of Lochs Lomond and Katherine and the Trossachs National Park.

Bow Fiddle Rock

This unique rock formation resembles the tip of a bow sticking out of the coastline. If you visit in May or August, you will get a chance to watch the sunrise through the arch of the bow.

Castles in Scotland

Scotland is renowned for the sheer number of castles it has as well as the quality of the castles. It would almost be a crime to visit without seeing some of these castles. Learn more about incredible Scottish castles here.

How has your Scottish heritage impacted you? Learn more about cultural heritage and its lasting impact as you prepare for your trip. Record your experiences with FamilySearch Memories to preserve your experiences for future generations.

*UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Set Up a Filae Account: Find French Records with Free Latter-day Saint Access

FamilySearch - Sat, 12/26/2020 - 17:00

An estimated 90 million people in the world today have French ancestry. Among these are thousands of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who reside in France, its territories, and elsewhere in the world.

That’s why FamilySearch has partnered with Filae, a leading French genealogical website, to provide free access to their website and resources to members of the Church. If you have French ancestry, here is why you should be using Filae, along with a quick guide on how to set up a Latter-day Saint Filae account.

Want to create your Filae account right away? Click here to get started.

Why Create a Filae Account

If you have French ancestors, Filae may be able to help you discover new information about them or new records you haven’t seen before. You can add this new information to the FamilySearch Family Tree, growing and sharing what is known about your ancestors.

Filae is an enormous online repository of French genealogical records. Public archives, local societies, and specialty publishers have contributed billions of records and 150 million record images. Among the records are French civil registrations (births, marriages, and deaths), censuses, church records, passenger lists, and military records from the Napoleonic era to World War II.

Many of Filae’s millions of users have created searchable family trees too. These trees help Filae users connect and collaborate with others who share their ancestry.

How to Create a Filae Account

Anyone may access Filae by subscribing with a premium account. However, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may activate a Filae account for free with their Latter-day Saint access. To activate a free account, do the following:

  1. Go to FamilySearch.org/partneraccess to see a screen like the one shown below. Under Filae, click Join for Free.
  2. Sign in with your FamilySearch or Church account. Be sure you are using an account with your membership information attached to it.
  • Confirm the option to create your free Filae account. (If you already subscribe, choose “Already have a Filae account?” to convert your existing account to a free Latter-day Saint partnership account.)
How to Get Started on Filae

Start exploring Filae by choosing among these options:

  1. Search for records about a specific relative. To add details about a parent or spouse, click Add a spouse, a parent.
  2. Request record alerts. Create an alert if you would like Filae to notify you in the future of any records that match your search.
  3. Start a new tree on Filae by clicking the plus sign. If your recent ancestry is not from France, consider beginning this tree with an ancestor who lived in France.
  4. Import a family tree file. If you have a family tree file (GEDCOM), upload it by selecting Import GEDCOM. If your only family tree is on FamilySearch.org, use a Family Tree certified program such as Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree, or RootsMagic to extract your data and create a GEDCOM file.

As you explore these options, browse the search results drawn from Filae’s historical records and contributors’ family trees. If record images are available, study them closely. If you find familiar data in someone else’s family tree and want to connect, you can click the submitter’s profile name.

Get Started Now Create a Filae Account

Your Puerto Rican Heritage

FamilySearch - Fri, 12/25/2020 - 16:00

Puerto Rico is a beautiful Caribbean island off the coast of the Dominican Republic. Surrounded by blue seas and with a landscape of mountains, waterfalls, and even a tropical rain forest, it is home to over 3 million people. Throughout history, the culture was influenced by the indigenous peoples, the Taino, and years of Spanish conquest and colonization. Known also as the “Island of Enchantment,” Puerto Rico has evolved into a marinade of brightly colored buildings, rich flavors, and tropical music. If you have Puerto Rican Heritage, learning more about Puerto Rico can help you find your ancestors.

Life in Puerto Rico Today

A tourist visit to Puerto Rico may not give you an accurate glimpse of life on the enchanted island. Here are some things you should know.

Cost of Living

The cost of living is about 13 percent higher than on the mainland of the United States. Though the sales tax is 11.5 percent, there are no property taxes on a primary residence, which is something to be happy about!

Temperatures are moderate nearly all year round. For this reason, households can save considerably on electricity, and some people live comfortably without the use of furnaces, air conditioners, or water heaters.

Religion in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s most common religion is Roman Catholicism. Some Catholic churches found on the island date back hundreds of years and are the oldest in North America. Other common religions include the Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Lutheran faiths. Miramar has a Jewish Community Center, and Santurce has a Jewish Reformed Congregation. All faiths are guaranteed by the commonwealth constitution.

Languages Spoken in Puerto Rico

The two most common languages in Puerto Rico are English and Spanish. Both are taught in schools. Though Spanish is spoken in many cultures around the world, Puerto Rico’s version is unique. Puerto Rican Spanish has elements of African languages, Taino words, and of course English phrases.

Those with Puerto Rican ethnicity have an amazing culture and heritage to enliven the pages of their family history. Do your family branches reach back to Puerto Rico? If so, you will want to learn more about Puerto Rico history and your Puerto Rican ethnicity in the engaging articles below.

Puerto Rican Culture Puerto Rican Fashion Puerto Rican Vital Records Traditional Puerto Rican Dishes All About Puerto Rican Names The Puerto Rican Diaspora

Puerto Rico Vital Records: Civil Registration and Church Records

FamilySearch - Tue, 12/22/2020 - 19:00

When tracing your family history in Puerto Rico, you’ll want to consult two important kinds of vital records—civil registration and church records. These record types may be able to help you identify ancestors and place them on your family tree.

Puerto Rico Civil Registration Records

In 1885, under Spanish rule, Puerto Rico began civil registration of all births, marriages, and deaths. (Some municipalities began keeping these records earlier.) The island became a United States territory in 1898 as an outcome of the Spanish-American War. The practice of civil registration continued, making the Puerto Rico record keeping system different from record keeping on the United States mainland.

Civil registrations are rich in genealogical information. They may reveal up to three generations of relatives’ names. Here is what you may discover in birth, marriage, and death records:

  • Births (nacimientos): Child’s name and sex; date, time, and place of birth; date and place of registration; legitimacy status; name, age, marital status, occupation, residence, and birthplace of mother and father; names of grandparents.
  • Marriages (casamientos): Name, age, marital status, occupation, residence, and birthplace of bride and groom; date and place of wedding; parents’ names; names of witnesses and the person who provided consent (often the bride’s father).
  • Death (defunciones): Name of the deceased (women may be listed with married surname); age, marital status, residence, and birthplace of deceased; date and place of medical certificate and death; details about the informant; names and birthplaces of parents and, if known, grandparents; date and place of burial.

You can explore Puerto Rico civil registrations for free at FamilySearch.org. First, search for your relatives’ names in the index. If you don’t find matching entries, it may be because their names haven’t been indexed yet. If you know or can learn your family’s town of origin, scroll down below the name search area on the collection page, and choose the option to browse through the registrations for that place. Alternately, it’s possible that the records you need aren’t online yet. You can order these records individually from Puerto Rico’s Department of Health Demographic Registry.

Puerto Rico Church Records

The Roman Catholic Church has been in Puerto Rico for more than 500 years. Local Catholic parishes recorded baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths. Later, other churches came to Puerto Rico as well, such as Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists. However, to this day, the Catholic Church remains the dominant faith.

Of Catholic sacramental records, baptisms are typically the most genealogically detailed. They name the child, along with his or her sex; date and place of birth; date and place of baptism; legitimacy status; parents’ names, hometown, and residence; and the names of grandparents and godparents. Notes may have been added later with the child’s marriage information.

Early baptismal records were written in blank books, but in more recent decades, churches used preprinted registers. Here’s a sample baptismal record from a preprinted register.

Other sacramental records are generally not quite as detailed. Confirmation records typically just name the child, parents, godparents, and the date and place of confirmation. Marriage records name the bride and groom, along with their marital status, hometown, parents’ names, and the date, place, and witnesses of the marriage. In death records, look for the deceased’s name, age, sex, date and place of death, parents’ names and places of origin, and sometimes burial details and the identity of a spouse.

You can search a free collection of Puerto Rican Catholic church records from several parishes on FamilySearch.org. Scroll down on the collection page, and click Browse to see which parishes are included. If the parish you’re looking for doesn’t appear, go to the FamilySearch Catalog. Search for the municipality you want, and look under the church records category for parish records.

Tips for Using Puerto Rico Vital Records

Many Puerto Rican genealogical records were written in Spanish. This Spanish genealogical word list can help you decipher important words and phrases from old documents. Watch a tutorial on reading old handwritten Spanish, which can be tricky.

As you look for relatives in old records, it will help to understand Spanish naming traditions, including multiple surnames. Also, it is common for Puerto Ricans to use nicknames. When trying to determine whether a record pertains to your relative, consider the total evidence it contains—places, dates, names, and identities of kin.

Many Puerto Ricans were enslaved before 1873. These tips for researching enslaved Afro-Caribbean ancestors can help you understand important historical context and research strategies.

Finally, whenever possible, consult both civil registrations and church records. Cross-reference what you discover in each, especially when you see unexpected names or dates. Compare dates of events to the date the record was made—if a lot of time has passed, the record is more likely to have errors.

Ready to discover more about your Puerto Rican ancestors? Start your search here in free genealogy records.

Three Inspiring Family Christmas Stories

FamilySearch - Mon, 12/21/2020 - 18:30

Christmastime entails gifts, traditions, delicious food, and spending time together with those we love. This holiday season, we want to share fun and inspiring family Christmas stories that have generously been shared by people from around the world. Here are some family Christmas stories from real people to help you and your family feel the Christmas spirit.

The Christmas Train by Martha

In my home, at about 7 a.m. on Christmas morning, I listen carefully for a train. Even though I’m frantic to find out what Santa Claus left, the rule in our family is that you can’t leave your room until the “train” comes.

Eventually, I will hear my father’s voice let out a few tentative “choo-choo-choo’s” and “woo-woo’s”—the sound of a train’s engine. After Dad woo-woo’s this first time, anxious family members will woo-woo back to let the engine know they are wide awake and ready for the ride. These answering woo-woo’s are necessary, because if Dad doesn’t hear them, he threatens to go back to bed. (This has never happened, to my knowledge, but everyone likes to be on the safe side.)

The engine’s first few woo-woo’s are called out mainly to taunt everyone, because it’s much later—at least 10 minutes—before the “engine” (my father) arrives at the first bedroom door to begin picking up “cars” (members of the family). Before then, the engine is busy turning on the tree lights, getting a drink, getting into uniform (typically red winter clothing, engineer overalls, and a hat) and doing as many unnecessary things as possible before finally starting the train in earnest.

The first person on the train (aside from Mom and Dad) is the youngest person in the household, who gets to be the honorary cowcatcher at the front of the train. Next, the train chugs and choo-choo’s and woo-woo’s around the house to get another lucky person, who hooks onto the train by putting both hands on the shoulders of the person in front. The train progressively grows louder as everyone adds their own version of the “chugga-chugga-woo-woo” song.

While chugging through the house, the engine is especially fond of bathrooms, because Dad has a bizarre sense of humor and likes to squish the 10 to 15 train members into tiny bathrooms! The train cars protest (but laugh!) while going through the tiny spaces. After going through every single room in the house at least a million times, the engine revs up loudly and makes a dash toward the newspaper-covered entrance to the gift-flooded room, bursting through the newspaper with the rest of the train in tow. Then, the train breaks up and everyone is stunned by the Christmas lights and beautiful gifts, and each and every train car is exhilarated and ready to enjoy Christmas morning together.

My Grandpa, Santa by Carolina

While growing up, every Christmas week my grandpa would grab his Santa Claus costume and wash it in preparation for the big night ahead. We loved the coming extravaganza. My grandpa, with his own money, would buy tons of candy.  People in the community would also donate candy to the cause, and the fire department of my city used to “borrow” a fire truck and some fireman to be part of the celebration.

On December 24, my grandpa would climb to the top of the fire truck. The truck would then drive around to a couple of low-income neighborhoods where “Santa” would throw candy to the kids. It was all so magical to me—the truck and all its sound and lights, the cars honking behind it, my grandpa throwing all that candy. After that, we used to invite neighbors and the fireman to celebrate Christmas with us.

After almost 25 years of doing that, my grandpa resigned because of his age, but the memories are still so fresh on my mind. One day, my grandpa received a letter from a woman saying that my grandpa made her happy on so many Christmases! She thanked him for all the joy he brought to her family during that difficult time they were living in. Most of the time, that candy was the only thing she was going to eat that night because she didn’t have anything else, not even a Christmas present. The sadness she felt on those nights was replaced by joy every time she heard the sirens. She thanked him for making her believe in Santa Claus and believe in a better world.

My grandpa passed last February, leaving us wonderful memories like this one. He will always be our Santa and will always be an example of love. Jesus Christ loved everyone he met and spread His love to those who weren’t physically with Him, and I could see a piece of His love in my beloved grandpa during the Christmas season and over the entire year. If people ask me if I believe in Santa Claus, I would say “Of course! He used to live at my house!”

A Familiar Voice by Rayleen

My husband passed away on October 7, 1999, at the age of 48, from melanoma cancer. The following is a true story of a very special Christmas that happened 4 years after my husband’s death. The year was 2003, and with only 2 days left until Christmas, our home was buzzing with activity. After all, there were always at least 12 people, including children, grandchildren, husbands, wives, and even my 2 stepchildren, staying at our home at any given time. It was early morning, and I brought out a small, scented candle and placed it on top of the mantle on the fireplace next to all the pictures of our children and grandchildren.

I then went on my way and continued to make preparations for the coming days ahead. I had been saving this small candle all year long for this season. I watched it burn throughout the day and enjoyed the fresh aroma that filled the room. The candle had been placed in a very cute wooden box with a heart shape cut out of the middle so that we could enjoy the brightness of the flame.

At about 4 in the morning, I was awakened by a male voice at the door that simply said, “Mom!” The voice sounded familiar, but I couldn’t make out which one of my boys was speaking because all 3 of them were now at their own individual homes for the holidays. Rather than answering from the bed, I went to the door. When I opened it, no one was there, so I peeked around a little further to see who it was, but no one was even in the room.

However, to my surprise, I did see that I had forgotten to extinguish the candle, and the flame was now 12 inches high! It had melted a hole through the glass container and had started to burn the wooden box. The ribbon up above the candle was also singed. I quickly blew out the flame. I was not alarmed or frightened; instead felt a great sense of peace and gratitude, as I knew that a loving Heavenly Father was always watching over me. As I thought about the situation, I realized that the voice that had spoken was familiar to me. My husband, who had passed away only a few years prior, had almost always referred to me as “Mom.”

Share your own Family Christmas Stories

There are few days like Christmas to bring a family together. Share and record your own family Christmas stories using FamilySearch Memories. This can ensure that your family Christmas stories and traditions are remembered for years to come!

Record Your Family Christmas Stories

14 Things to Do in Ireland to Appreciate Irish Heritage

FamilySearch - Mon, 12/21/2020 - 08:00

Irish heritage is celebrated around the world thanks to mass emigration from Ireland. Cultural celebrations such as St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween were adapted in numerous cultures because of it. If you share Irish heritage, one of the best ways to learn more about your heritage is to visit Ireland and immerse yourself in Irish culture. 

These are some of the best things to do in Ireland. And while you’re there, explore traditional Irish foods

Note: The island of Ireland has two parts, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This list includes locations from both.

Irish Castles and Ruins You Can’t Miss

With hundreds of castles and ruins spotting the countryside in Ireland, you won’t want to pass up the opportunity to explore Irish architecture. With so many to choose from, it’s hard to narrow the list, but these are some of the best of the best!

1. Blarney Castle

Blarney is one of the most famous and most visited castles in Ireland for good reason. Part of its fame comes from the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that if you kiss the stone, you will be blessed with eloquence.

2. Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel, also known as St. Patrick’s Rock or Cashel of the Kings, is a huge complex that was once the seat of the high kings. It is noteworthy for its impressive collection of Celtic art and medieval architecture.

3. St Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located in Dublin, has been around since 1191 and is regarded as the national cathedral of Ireland. You can enjoy the impressive architecture and daily sung services.

4. Bunratty Castle

This castle serves as a “living working museum,” allowing you to step into the past and experience medieval Irish life as you explore the castle. While you’re there, enjoy the banquet, village street, and fairy village.

Significant Heritage Sites of Ireland

These historic sites provide a glimpse into Irish heritage. They provide a glimpse of ancient civilizations, royal histories, and more.

5. Brú na Bóinne*

Brú na Bóinne, or palace of the Boyne, is famous for three Neolithic passage tombs that were built 5,000 years ago—Knowth, Newgrange, and Dowth. The area also has 90 prehistoric monuments and one of the largest collections of megalithic art.

6. Navan Fort

Navan Fort is an ancient ceremonial site that serves as a remnant of Gaelic royalty. It also gives you the opportunity to interact with past generations through a living history museum.

7. Croagh Patrick

Not only does Croagh Patrick provide beautiful mountain scenery, but it has been an important religious site for over 5,000 years. You can hike the path your ancestors may have hiked to celebrate the harvest, or join 25,000 pilgrims on the last Sunday of July to attend the mountaintop mass.

8. National Museum of Ireland

If you are looking to learn about Irish culture and history, there’s no better place to go than the National Museum of Ireland. The museum emphasizes the history of everything Irish.

Landscapes or Nature

Ireland is filled with dramatic landscapes characterized by rocky cliffs, rugged mountains, and picturesque greens. Here are some of the most memorable places to see while you’re there.

9. Giant’s Causeway*

Don’t miss the incredible site of 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns that form stepping stones leading into the sea. 

10. Bridges of Ross

Walk across the grass-covered natural bridge over the crashing ocean waves, or enjoy the view from afar. 

11. Kerry Cliffs

You may have heard about the Cliffs of Moher; the Kerry Cliffs are equally impressive cliffs but with fewer crowds. As an alternative, you could walk the cliff-face path at the Gobbins to experience Ireland’s impressive cliffs in a whole new way. 

Family Fun

If you are traveling with the whole family, these stops will be fun for everyone involved!

12. Leprechaun and Fairy Cavern

Experience Irish mythology in this fun family event, where a leprechaun whisperer tells the stories of Ireland’s leprechauns and shows you around enchanted caverns and tunnels.

13. Cobh

Cobh is a seaside town with colorful historical buildings to explore. It’s a prime location to explore family history because over 2.5 million people left Ireland from Cobh. It also happens to be the last stop the Titanic made before it met its fate. 

14. English Market

Peruse locally produced foods at the English Market in Cork. The market has been running for over 230 years! 

What are you looking forward to on your trip to Ireland? Visiting the home of your ancestors can be a life-changing experience, so make the most of your trip, and explore your cultural heritage. Record your experiences to keep the memory alive. 

*UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Puerto Rican Names

FamilySearch - Sat, 12/19/2020 - 18:00

What’s in a Puerto Rican name? As it turns out, the origin of names in Puerto Rico is quite interesting, and knowing more about them can help you find your ancestors! Not only that, but if you have Puerto Rican heritage, you might want to give your children names that tie them to their ancestors.

Learning what goes into a Puerto Rican name can give these names—the names in your family tree, the names you give your children, and maybe even your­ name—far more significance.

A Little Puerto Rican Name History

Because of the diversity of the culture and peoples of Puerto Rico, it should be no surprise that Puerto Rican first names are rich with history. The island is densely populated with people of many backgrounds; as a result, names come from Latin cultures as well as Puerto Rico’s own culture.

Because of the beauty of the island, names that have to do with nature are common, as are names that have a spiritual nature because of Puerto Rico’s rich religious influence. Some family historians have found that names were also given according to where people lived in Puerto Rico.

In the mid-1900s, first names in Puerto Rico started to take on a more Americanized tone. Many common names, such as Telesforo, Hipolito, Eluteria, and other names that were derived from Catholic tradition, didn’t make it into the 20th Century.

The 21st century has seen name preferences swing back to some more traditional names or a combination of traditional and modern naming conventions. For example, names such as Luna and Sol have become popular again.

Puerto Rican Nicknames

Puerto Ricans commonly go by nicknames, making family history research more difficult because the given name on a birth certificate may not be well known. If you’re having trouble locating an ancestor on your family tree, learning more about Puerto Rican nicknames might help.

Why Are Nicknames So Common in Puerto Rico?

One reason nicknames are so popular in Puerto Rico is because of Puerto Rican naming traditions. It is common for people in extended families or regions to share the same names—for example, Maria. To avoid being confused with 10 other Marias, a person may choose to go by his or her middle name or a nickname.

Puerto Rican nicknames can have many origins. Sometimes given names are shortened and then an “ito” (for males) or an “ita” (for females) is added to the end of the name. Other nicknames can refer to a physical feature, such as the color of a person’s eyes.

Top Puerto Rican Names

According to the United States Social Security office, here are the top 15 boy and girl names in Puerto Rico from the year 2019:

Puerto Rican Boy Names 1Sebastian2Liam3Ian4Dylan5Mateo6Thiago7Lucas8Adrian9Noah10Matias11Angel12Luis13Elian14Diego15Fabian Puerto Rican Girl Names ValentinaVictoriaEmmaMiaAmaiaIsabellaMikaelaAinhoaAmandaLunaLeahSofiaCamilaCatalinaAlaia What Do Puerto Rican Names Mean?

Because Puerto Ricans take great pride in their names, it might be interesting to know what a few of the above names mean. Knowing the meanings of names can also help when you find these names in your family history and want to use them to name your own children!

Luis is one of the most popular given names in Puerto Rico. While it feels familiar, it also has a unique feel to it. Many famous people have the name Luis, which is why many people choose it. Two notable Puerto Ricans with the name Luis are baseball star Luis Aparicio and Luis Suarez of football fame.

Jose means “may God increase” and has always been on lists of popular names in Puerto Rico.

The name Diego has gotten popular again because of the cartoon Go Diego Go. It’s the Spanish name for “Jacob,” and Dee is a common nickname.

As for the girls, Valeria means “strong” and is of Latin origin.

Camila has recently risen in popularity and comes from the royal name “Camilla,” which originates in Roman mythology.

Alanis is a derivation of the once-popular Puerto-Rican name “Alana.”

Look for Puerto Rican Names in Your Family Tree

Do you have Puerto Rican heritage? If so, look at your own family tree. What names do you have in your ancestry? Getting to know the names of your ancestors can be an great way to learn more about your family.

Explore your Family Tree