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Updated: 25 min 34 sec ago

Don’t Label Me—But Do Label Your Ancestors

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 12:31

FamilySearch Family Tree is seriously huge. With over a billion unique names, it is the largest family tree in the world.

Navigating such a large tree to connect with your ancestors can be tricky. We recently added a new feature called “Labels” that will, as it continues to develop, provide a new way to place your ancestors in better context.

You’ve used labels on other sites and in apps to easily organize and view similar types of things. You can now add labels to your ancestor’s listing in Family Tree to honor their accomplishments, signify their involvement in a group, or memorialize their profession.

The number of available labels is pretty limited at this point, but it will grow. In the meantime, use the new label feature to explore Family Tree in new and interesting ways.

How It Works

Here’s how you can add labels to your ancestor’s person page and use them to browse the Family Tree.

Adding and Editing Labels

It’s simple to add or remove a label.

  1. Sign in to Hover your mouse pointer over Family Tree, and click Tree. Go to the person page of one of your ancestors and find the new section called “Labels.”

    (Tip: The sections of the person page can be reordered by clicking the gear button at the top of the details section).

  2. Click Attach Label to select a label category.

  3. Select the label you want to appear on your ancestor’s person page.

  4. Click Attach.

  5. (Optional) Add a web page link to a page that has more information about your ancestor.
  6. Include a reason for attaching the label.
  7. Click Attach.

Viewing All Persons with a Label

To view all of the people in Family Tree that have the same label, simply click the label at the top right of the person page.


RootsTech 2018 Latter-day Saint Classes

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 15:56

Now that RootsTech 2018 had ended, refresh what you learned about inviting the spirit into family history work. Revisit this page throughout the year to access downloadable presentations, helpful links, and more from 10 Latter-day Saint family history classes presented at RootsTech 2018.

Family Discovery Day

Temple & Family History Consultants

The Importance of Family History

Gathering the Family

Living Memory

The Spirit of Family History

Ministering to Others

Discovery Experiences


Family History & Missionary Work

Helping Consultants Succeed



Women’s History Month

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 11:42

The influence of strong, faithful women has been felt throughout history and continues to bless countless lives around the world.

Who are the women that shaped your family? Do you know their stories? Do you know what their lives were like? If not, celebrate Women’s History Month this March by learning about the inspiring women in your family tree. Read the articles below to find tips that can help.

Clues to What a Woman’s Life Was Like

3 Ways to Unravel the Mysteries of Women in Your Family Tree

Find Stories of Women Relatives with Inspiration from Fearless Females


Relative Race: Season 3 Delivers Reality TV at Its Best

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 18:40

Reality TV wasn’t my thing until I saw Relative Race for the first time. Now, after waiting a year, the third season is finally slated to begin on Sunday, March 4 at 9:00 p.m. eastern time ­(7:00 p.m. mountain time) on BYUtv. I can’t wait!

From the first episode, I was hooked on the family history–based, competitive reality show. The crazy, cross-country drive to meet family members for the first time did a number on my heart. It was the perfect combination of fun, intrigue, and raw emotion. When the first and second seasons were over, I felt as if I’d lost close personal friends.

And, yes, I had my favorites, which made it even better when they won.

This year the format promises to be as entertaining as ever but with a few twists. For one thing, instead of four married couples competing, this season features a father and son team, two sisters, and two married couples.

“We are excited to share a few new aspects of the series, including new routes, new contestants, new cities, and new challenges,” said Dan J. Debenham, the show’s host and executive producer. Relative Race is produced by BYUtv and the reality TV production company Lenzworks.

“We have changed the structure of the show to increase the time the contestants get to spend with their loved ones and allow them to further explore their family histories and discover their roots,” said Michael Dunn, managing director of BYUtv.

“The new season continues to deliver the heartwarming drama, shocking discoveries, and surprising adventures that audiences have come to love and expect from this show,” Debenham said.

This season’s first episode will start in Washington, D.C., where each team will be surprised to make a family connection the first day—before the competition officially begins—and will be permitted to text the other contestants throughout the 10-day race.

Once the race begins, team members will trade their personal electronic devices for a paper road map, a loaner car, and a flip phone with a camera to navigate to a designated city. The instructions they receive by text message will help them complete two challenges and lead them to their long-lost relatives.

For 10 days, contestants will race against the clock to arrive at the home of their unknown relative. The team that takes the longest will receive a strike and will be eliminated after three strikes. Cameras document the day-to-day triumphs and obstacles as the physical and emotional endurance of each team is tested. The winning team will walk away with a $50,000 grand prize.

Meet the Dynamic Duos of Season Three Team Green

As musicians, sisters Jamie Harper and Morgan Nichols, from Los Angeles, California, are searching for family members who have interests and talents in common with them. They would use the prize money to help pay medical expenses for their mom, who has a rare health condition. Jamie is a YouTube indie recording artist, twice nominated for Grammy and Billboard awards, and Morgan is an award-winning songwriter, professional vocalist, and number-one Amazon bestseller for inspirational poetry.

Team Blue

Michael and Dylan Anderson, from Concord, North Carolina, are the first father-son team to be contestants on Relative Race. Michael was adopted at birth, and as a professional photographer, decided to use his large following on social media to post that he was searching for his biological family. The post went viral, with more than 200,000 hits. One of the producers of Relative Race saw the post, contacted Michael, and suggested he watch the series. 

After binge-watching all the episodes, Michael and his son Dylan, who helps Michael with his photography business, decided to apply as a team.

“I love that it’s a positive, uplifting show,” Michael expressed. “People don’t understand what folks who are adopted go through not knowing why we are here, who we look like, or the circumstances around us and our creation."

“I just want to know answers above all. That’s all I need—that’s all I want. I want to tell my children the other half of the story. They have a close-knit family on my wife’s side but I’ve never been able to give them that. It’s about one thing, it’s family,” Michael explained.

Team Red

Troy and Nicole Hitt are from Humble, Texas. The husband and wife team met after Troy served in the U.S. Air Force. They have been married for 13 years, have four kids and six animals, and own a CrossFit gym. Troy is hoping to find out more about his biological father, whom he hasn’t seen since he was five years old.

Team Black

Rebecca and Johnathon Hoyt are from McAllen, Texas. Rebecca is a stay-at-home mom to their three-year-old daughter, while John works as a U.S. border patrol agent. Rebecca’s mom died when she was two years old, and she is hoping to meet her maternal relatives.

The unscripted Relative Race series was popular around the world within the first few episodes, according to Debenham, the executive producer. He said that even people who don’t usually watch TV loved the show. The station received email, tweets, and letters, not only from adults but from young kids who followed the show closely and were cheering for their favorite couples.

“Nothing is more satisfying in our world of production than to create something that resonates all over the world. It is a humbling and exciting experience,” Debenham said.

As far as reality TV is concerned, if it’s called Relative Race, count me in. I’ll be front and center for season three to watch who’s connected to whom and how the twists, turns, and tender-hearted moments happen.


Web Indexing: Reviewing

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 18:22

Searchable records are a huge part of what makes family history research possible. A lot happens to a record from the time it is found in the basement of an old municipal building to the moment it’s published online for you to track down. Indexing is one of those very important steps, but what comes next is equally important.

Reviewing is the quality check that takes place after a record is indexed. Batches of indexed records must go through this step before they can continue on to publication.

Because there are more people indexing than reviewing records, indexing often outpaces reviewing efforts, causing a delay in publication.

Update to Quality Check Process

Web indexing is the new online indexing system launched by FamilySearch in 2017. The web indexing system uses reviewing instead of the arbitration process used in the desktop program. Reviewing helps unify volunteers and allows for more people to participate. Instead of reconciling the A and B key, as was done in arbitration, the review step involves checking the indexing work of another volunteer.

If a reviewer makes several changes to the batch, another volunteer will review the batch again. FamilySearch carefully monitors the quality of indexed records and has seen good results from the reviewing process so far.

An uplifting way to provide feedback and learning to volunteers is being researched and carefully considered.

Who Can Review?

Volunteers are granted the ability to review batches once they have indexed 1,000 records on the web indexing system. This requirement is intended to give volunteers time to become familiar with web indexing and many different types of projects before they begin reviewing.

Volunteers who arbitrated on the desktop program were automatically given review rights when web indexing was launched in 2017. If you were an arbitrator and still do not have review rights, contact FamilySearch.

Once volunteers have review rights, they are encouraged to do both activities, indexing and reviewing. Both activities are vital to publishing these records to publication and making them searchable.

How to Review

On the FamilySearch web indexing page, click Find Batches. On the left side of the pop-up window, click the Activity drop-down list, and then click Review to see all projects available for review.

The orange and red bars show how much work has been done on each project. The orange bar represents how much has been indexed, and the red bar depicts how much has been reviewed. The percentage on the right corresponds to the orange level of indexing completion.

Find a project you are familiar with, and then, to open a review batch, click the Review button. As with indexing, check to be sure that each image has information to be indexed.

Next, go over the indexed information and compare it to the information on the image. Check the field helps and project instructions as you review to ensure that you understand what should be indexed in each field.

If you disagree with some of the indexed information, you can correct it in the data entry area.

Sometimes the original index is incomplete or incorrect. Instead of spending time fixing it, you can return the batch to be reindexed.

  1. In the top left corner of the screen, click Batch.
  2. In the drop-down list, click Reindex Batch.

More information

  1. Review—video tutorial created by a member of the community
  2. Web indexing—Reviewing a batch—FamilySearch Help Center


Remembering the Harlem Hellfighters of World War I

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 14:33

by Kayla Jackson

Though the shortest month of the year, February is packed with opportunities to celebrate. On February 14, we show affection to our loved one by sending chocolates and gifts on Valentine’s Day. On the third Monday of the month, we celebrate the birth of George Washington and remember the sacrifice of all our U.S. Presidents. And for the entirety of the month, we honor and revere the contributions made by African American men and women during Black History Month.

The story of the African American man and woman has been laced with the trauma of enslavement, the patience through persecution, and the continual effort to push past the discrimination and racism and walk together as equals in the United States and throughout the world. As declared first in the Declaration of Independence and echoed by Martin Luther King, Jr., “Even though we must face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream . . . a dream deeply rooted in the American dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed—we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.”

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, we dedicate this particular post to the African American men and women who courageously fought during the Great War despite the discrimination and persecution they faced because of the color of their skin.

On May 18, 1917, the Selective Service Act was passed by Congress, permitting men of color to enroll in the military. Though racism and discrimination was still prevalent, the need for more American soldiers overruled any societal norms and preferences. African American men heeded the call with nearly 380,000 individuals enlisted for the chance to serve their country. These men were ready and able to fight, but because of the color of their skin, only 1 in 10 were selected to fight in combat with the remaining 9 in 10 were mandated to perform menial chores and hard labor. Many American officers believed these men lacked intelligence and the ability to fight courageously. Regardless of where they were placed, these men served because of their patriotism and love for their country. They held hope that their service would render a more fair and equal treatment for themselves and their families when they returned home.

One group of men who served on the front lines was the 369th infantry of the 93rd division, better known as the Harlem Hellfighters and Men of Bronze, nicknames given to them by the French. These men were known for their fierce combat, fighting longer and harder than any other infantry. Barbara Lewis Burger, a retired archivist from the National Archives, wrote of this group, “They never lost a man captured, never lost a foot of ground to the Germans, and was the first Allied unit to cross the Rhine River during the Allied offensive. In recognition of its bravery under fire, the French government awarded the regiment with the country’s military decoration, the Croix de Guerre. In addition, 171 men of the regiment were also presented with an individual Croix de Guerre for their valor.”

The tenacity and toughness of the Harlem Hellfighters continue with us today as we remember and honor their lives and the lives of all who valiantly served in the military. As we continue with the celebration of the end of World War I, we encourage you to search through the records available to us. As you begin to search out the stories of your ancestors, visit FamilySearch’s African American Records and Research home page to find record collections, inspirational stories of African Americans throughout history, and other helpful resources.


#NotAtRootsTech 2018? Here’s How to Participate Virtually

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 13:53

RootsTech 2018 has arrived! Over 4 days (February 28–March 3), thousands of family storytellers and historians will converge on the Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, to learn about collecting, preserving, and sharing family stories.

But the world’s largest family history conference isn’t just for those who live close enough to go. In fact, many of the sights and sounds and much of the learning from the conference will be streamed live online for free. Over the years, this live stream has made RootsTech events and classes accessible to tens of thousands of online participants.

If you can’t make it to RootsTech in person, here are a few ways you can participate virtually:

1. Watch the Keynote Speakers Live Online

Each of the general sessions, including Wednesday’s general session and Innovation Showcase, will be streamed live on the home page. Check out this year’s lineup:

4:30 P.M.–6 P.M. MST Wednesday General Session and Innovation Showcase
Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International

    Thursday, Mar. 1
8:30 A.M.–9:30 A.M. MST RootsTech Thursday
Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York

    Friday, Mar. 2
8:30 A.M.–9:30 A.M. MST RootsTech Friday
Scott Hamilton, Olympic gold medalist     Saturday, Mar. 3
8:30 A.M.–9:30 A.M. MST RootsTech Saturday
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., author and filmmaker, and Natalia Lafourcade, Grammy-winning singer  

See the full keynote speaker schedule here.

2. Watch Select Classes Live Online

Various RootsTech classes will also be streamed live on the home page. Join us starting on Wednesday, February 28 at 9:30 a.m. MST. Streamed classes cover a wide range of topics including DNA, preserving photographs, and finding elusive records.

View the full streaming schedule here.

3. Social Media Contests for #NotAtRootsTech

For the second straight year, we’ll be hosting a number of giveaways and prizes on our Twitter page during the event. These giveaways will be available for both in-person and virtual attendees. Watch for an official giveaway tweet from the RootsTech account (@RootsTechConf) on Wednesday, February 28. Then to enter, simply tweet a photo of you watching the conference online with the hashtag #NotAtRootsTech. Winners will be selected at random during the day. If your photo is selected, prizes such as a RootsTech t-shirt, hat, or other merchandise will be mailed to you at the conclusion of the conference.

4. Join a Growing Online Community of Family Historians

Wish every day was RootsTech? RootsTech is only four days long, but the fun doesn’t have to stop once the conference is over. Follow RootsTech on Facebook and Twitter to receive helpful genealogy tips and tricks directly from the conference year round! Here’s what to watch for:

  • Daily wrap-up videos of all RootsTech events.
  • Videos of industry leaders sharing family history hacks.
  • Links to the RootsTech blog with content on topics such as how to use Google for genealogy success, cemetery research, and how to write and preserve your own story.


Finding Elusive Records on FamilySearch

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 13:52

If a basic search on is the only approach you use to find your ancestors, you might be missing out on a lot of potential discoveries. The records you can find by performing basic searches represent only a small portion of what’s available on FamilySearch.

In fact, 77 percent of the free historical records on can’t be found by searching. That’s a lot of information about your family just waiting to be discovered! In order to tap into these hard-to-find records, you’ll need to know how to use resources like unindexed image collections and the FamilySearch catalog, as well as some more advanced search features.

A new video presentation is available from Robert Kehrer, senior product manager for FamilySearch’s search and hinting technologies. This tutorial will walk you step-by-step through the process of locating elusive records in your family history research.

If you haven’t found what you’re looking for using FamilySearch’s basic search tool, don’t give up. There are many other ways for you to access information about your family that you may not have known before. Check out the presentation “Finding Elusive Records on FamilySearch” to learn these valuable research skills and break through the roadblocks on your family tree.

Download here.

This presentation covers the following topics:

  • Techniques for working with unindexed image sets
    • Navigating image waypoints (1:14)
    • Indices in the image sets (6:40)
    • Indices created from image sets (14:44)
    • From the FamilySearch catalog (23:43)
  • Advanced search features
    • Using the batch number (32:02)
    • Filter results by collection (38:04)
    • Exact searching (42:06)
    • Searching with wildcards (46:39)
    • Analyze search results in a spreadsheet (52:30)
    • Questions and answers or feedback (55:32)
Watch Videos by Topic:

Clicking on these links will take you to the YouTube video described.

  • Finding Elusive Records Introduction (Download here)
    Robert Kehrer introduces his presentation “Finding Elusive Records in FamilySearch.”
  • Navigating Image Waypoints (Download here)
    Waypoints are markers in an image set that divide the records into logical chunks, making the collection easier to navigate. Robert Kehrer explains how to use image waypoints when browsing free record collections on FamilySearch.
  • Search Indices Created from Image Sets (Download here)
    Many image sets on FamilySearch have indices that are contained in a separate book or set of images. Learn how you can use indices created from image sets to find records with information about your ancestors.
  • Search from the FamilySearch Catalog (Download here)
    If you’re not finding your ancestor’s records by searching, the records you are trying to find might be available only through the FamilySearch catalog. Learn how to use the catalog in your genealogy research to find images of historical records that have not yet been grouped into searchable collections.
  • Search Using Batch Number (Download here)
    Using batch numbers in your search can help you narrow the results by place and type of record. Robert Kehrer explains what batch numbers mean and how you can use them to find multiple generations of a family.
  • Filter Search Results by Collection (Download here)
    When your searches return a large number of results, it’s helpful to know how to sort them to see only the relevant ones. Filtering your results by collection can help you narrow down your search results to find the specific records you’re looking for.
  • Exact Searching (Download here)
    Exact searching is an advanced search feature you can use when you want to see only the records that match your search exactly. Learn how to recognize when you should try an exact search and how to do it.
  • Searching with Wildcards (Download here)
    Wildcards introduce more variability into your search results, helping you find records that contain spelling variations or may have been indexed incorrectly. This video explains the different types of wildcards you can use and shows examples of how to search with wildcards on FamilySearch.
  • Analyze Search Results in a Spreadsheet (Download here)
    Learn how to easily sort, tag, and analyze your search results by exporting them to a spreadsheet. This advanced search feature on FamilySearch helps you keep track of your research findings.
  • Questions and Answers or Feedback (Download here)
    Robert Kehrer concludes his presentation “Finding Elusive Records in FamilySearch” and provides instructions for giving feedback at


Use Google Photos to Create a “Best of” Photo Album on FamilySearch

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 13:51

I love Google Photos. I bet you do too.

Did you know that you can import photos directly from Google Photos to FamilySearch to create a “best of” photo album? This is a great way to preserve and share a curated collection of classic photos that span a person’s lifetime or center on important life events.

Sound interesting? Here’s how to do it.

Hint: You’ll need both a FamilySearch Account and a Google account, along with at least a few photos of the same person in Google Photos.

Step 1: Use facial recognition to create an ancestor album in Google Photos.

Photos uploaded to Google are scanned using facial recognition and are then placed into groups. To access these groups, click in the search field at the top of the screen, and select the small, circular images of faces about midway down the page.

Look for your ancestor, and click on his or her face. You can select some or all of the images found and create a new album using the plus icon at the top right of the screen. Name the album with the ancestor’s full name. This will make the photos easier to find when you import them to FamilySearch.

Step 2: Create an album in FamilySearch.

Go to the Memories Gallery on FamilySearch. Use the New Album option on the sidebar to create a new album. Name the album with the ancestor’s full name. Click on the new album to go to the album page.

Step 3: Import the photos from Google to the new album in FamilySearch.

To import photos, click the green dot, and choose Google Photos at the bottom of the window. Select your Google account, or sign in to Google. From the sidebar list, find the album you previously created, select the photos you want to import, and click Import Photos.

Step 4: Tag your relative or ancestor in each photo.

Your photos are now in the new album on FamilySearch. Click the image to tag your ancestor and anyone else in the photo. The photos will now be viewable on the ancestor’s Person page, where other family members can comment or add stories. You can also easily share the photos on social media.

That’s it. Now go create your own “best of” albums for your ancestors on FamilySearch.


Calendar of Ancestral Moments

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 12:42

We often learn about and celebrate history by commemorating important dates throughout the year. Websites like This Day in History or even radio news programs remind us of important events that happened on this same date in the past. For example, you might learn that 100 years ago on this date, a well-known book was published or an influential politician died.

Now, a new FamilySearch tool personalizes dates in history for you. The Calendar of Ancestral Moments lets you see what important events happened in your family history on particular calendar dates. This provides a new way for you to connect with your ancestors.

Your Family in History

To get started, simply visit, and log in to your FamilySearch Account. Your ancestor calendar should appear. Starting at the beginning of the year, the calendar finds events from your ancestors’ lives for each calendar date. For example, my grandmother Wynona Nye Mecham was born March 29, 1923. On my calendar, I see a tag like the one below for March 29.

Quick links on the calendar help me learn more about my ancestors. If I click View Relationship, I am shown the direct link from me back to my grandmother. If I click her name, I see a summary of her basic vital information, such as birth and death dates and places, sources, and memories that are attached to her. If I click the Tree or Person icons at the bottom of the box, I am able to see even more information.

Connecting with Facebook

Although you can access your ancestor calendar on your computer, the best way to take advantage of this tool is to follow the prompt to “Get Updates on Facebook.” Once you’ve clicked this, you’ll receive messages through Facebook Messenger reminding you of important dates on your family tree.

For example, a message might let you know that your great-great-grandfather was born on this day or that your grandparents married on this day. You can click the links in these messages to learn more about your ancestors.

After you’ve signed up, Facebook Messenger will send a notification each day that you have an ancestor event on your calendar (with the exception of death dates, which are not sent to you through Facebook Messenger). These little reminders will help you keep your ancestors in mind and connect with them in small, easy ways.

Using the Information

So what can you do with the information you learn about your ancestors? Here are some fun ideas to try:

  • When you get a Facebook message about an ancestor, take a moment to learn more about that ancestor. See if any records or stories are attached. Share something that you learn with your family.
  • Glance over your entire calendar to see if any ancestors share important dates with your family now. Perhaps your ancestors married on your anniversary or share a birthday with one of your children. Point these out to your family members to build connections.
  • For families with small children, choose an ancestor of the month—perhaps someone who has a birthday that month. You could have a party for him or her that includes singing “Happy Birthday,” eating a treat, and sharing a story about his or her life.

Now that you’ve discovered this new way to connect with your family, don’t keep it a secret. Share the Calendar of Ancestral Moments with your friends and family, and encourage them to give it a try.


Connect with Your Family: Past, Present, and Future

Mon, 02/26/2018 - 18:02

Family history provides a powerful way to strengthen your family. Connect with your family’s past to build a legacy through fun and meaningful activities, shared family stories, tools that help you along the way. See this presentation by Mike Sandberg and the activities below to get started.


Learn about Your Family

Discover your family history by learning about your ancestors and their lives. Or, expand your family’s understanding of FamilySearch apps, tools, and activities.

Using FamilySearch Apps

Map Your Ancestors

Simple Ways to Find Your Family


Return to Top

Engage in Family Fun

Dive into some fun family activities for all ages. Whether you’re planning a family reunion, a game night, or a Sunday meal, you’ll find plenty of ideas here to make family history a part of your gathering.

Activites for the Whole Family

Food and Family History

Your Family’s DNA History

Test Your Family History Knowledge

Return to Top

Share Your Family’s Story

Family history is all about connections with past, present, and future generations. Find ideas to help you tell your story, connect with other family members, or share memories on social media.

Relatives Around Me

Record Oral Histories

18 Tips to Write Your Family Stories

Start Simple with 52 Stories

Return to Top


How Well Do You Know Your Family?

Mon, 02/26/2018 - 17:12

As people, particularly children, learn about their family’s origins, something amazing happens. They begin to feel more control in their lives, a higher sense of self-worth, and stronger beliefs in the family.

This quiz will help you and your family reflect on and learn from your ancestors’ stories. Reminisce together about favorite memories, help each other fill in the gaps, and identify areas you could learn more about.

For more instructions and information, download the quiz below:

Download the Quiz