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Updated: 9 min 33 sec ago

The First Transcontinental Railroad: Did Your Chinese Ancestors Help Build It?

Fri, 01/18/2019 - 12:42

Thousands of Chinese railroad workers helped build the First Transcontinental Railroad. As you celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike ceremony that made the transcontinental railroad a reality, you can also explore the stories of your Chinese immigrant ancestors.

The Transcontinental Railroad and the Golden Spike

Throughout the early and mid-1800s, the United States acquired millions of acres of western lands. Would-be settlers were anxious to reach them, especially after the discovery of gold in California in 1848 and the passage of homestead laws that offered inexpensive land for sale. But no easy transportation routes existed west of the Mississippi River. Gradually, thousands of pioneers trampled overland trails into place. Perhaps the most famous of these rough roads, the Oregon Trail, saw over 80,000 travelers.

By the Civil War, travel by rail had become safer, faster, and more comfortable in the United States.i Nearly 50,000 miles of track had been laid, but most of it was in the northern states.ii In 1862, Congress passed legislation to fund the building of a transcontinental rail line. Two companies raced for the funds and land rights that were promised for each mile of track they laid. The Union Pacific Railroad laid track westward from Omaha, Nebraska, through southern Wyoming and the Rocky Mountains. The Central Pacific Railroad headed east from Sacramento, California, through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The two sets of tracks met in northern Utah in 1869. A final spike was ceremonially tapped into place on May 10 at Promontory Summit, Utah, at what is now the Golden Spike National Historic Site. This transcontinental railroad connected the nation’s coasts and the vast interior. It reduced coast-to-coast travel from an arduous, expensive, and sometimes perilous journey of months to a relatively affordable and comfortable trip lasting for several days.

Chinese Railroad Workers

 

The transcontinental railroad was one of the 19th century’s greatest accomplishments. Thousands of workers labored at backbreaking work year-round, under hot sun and in bitter winter. Without any power equipment, they excavated and tunneled through solid mountains, hauled rock by hand, graded the roadbed, and set tracks with high-speed, coordinated efforts. (On a single day near the end of the effort, 10 miles of track were laid.)

Chinese immigrants shouldered the bulk of the work on the western lines. The Central Pacific Railroad recruited Chinese laborers who had previously helped to build railroads in California. They proved so diligent and effective that more Chinese workers were recruited. An estimated 11,000 to 15,000 Chinese laborers helped build the transcontinental railroad. Chinese workers at one point may have constituted close to 90 percent of the Central Pacific workforce. As a group, they were known for performing high-quality work efficiently and for working long, rigorous shifts without complaint. Many Chinese workers risked their lives performing dangerous tasks. Hundreds died during the project. They also faced discrimination and received lower pay for their work.

When the transcontinental railroad was complete, some Chinese workers joined other railroad building projects throughout the West. Many settled down and raised families in California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Texas, or British Columbia, Canada. Others returned to China. Chinese immigration to the United States continued at a steady rate until federal legislation barred Chinese workers in 1882.iii

Discover Your Chinese Ancestry

 

For many years, the identities, experiences, and contributions of Chinese immigrant laborers on the railroad were largely unknown. This situation has begun to change. The Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford University studies and documents the contributions of these workers. The Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Organization honors their legacy. This latter group will host the Golden Spike Conference of 2019, which celebrates the Chinese-American experience and the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

Explore the lives of your ancestors who came to the United States from China:

 


Ordinances Ready Inspiring Members around the World

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 09:31

“While temple and family history work has the power to bless those beyond the veil, it has an equal power to bless the living.”—President Russell M. Nelson, April 2010 General Conference

Ordinances Ready is a new FamilySearch tool that simplifies finding names for the temple, allowing you more time to serve your family and enjoy the blessings of the temple. Try it for yourself, and read how others are using the Ordinances Ready feature.

Green Means Go—Use Ordinances Ready for Your Next Temple Visit
  1. Download the Family Tree app for iOS or Android. Click here for more help.
  2. Sign in, and find the Temple page.
    1. For iOS, tap the temple icon at the bottom of the app screen.
    2. For Android, tap the 3-bar menu at the top left. Then select Temple.
  3. Tap the Ordinances Ready button, and then choose an ordinance—baptism and confirmation, initiatory, endowment, sealing to parents, or sealing to spouse.
  4. The app will search the tree and temple inventory for available ordinances, and soon you will have five names pop up!


Download the App

 

iOS

Android

What you’ll see if you already have ordinances reserved

Note on family names: If no available ordinances are found for family members, Ordinances Ready will retrieve available ordinances that have been submitted to the temple by any patron. These ordinances from temple inventory will be provided in the same order they were submitted to the temple. You can perform ordinances that have been submitted to the temple by others, whether or not you are directly related to those individuals.

Get to Know Each Person, and Take the Names to the Temple

Using the Family Tree app, you can get to know each person you are about to do ordinances for. Tap View Relationship to see how you are related, and tap View Person to look at life events, memories, and photos in Family Tree.

After you have looked at the names, tap Continue at the bottom of the screen to reserve the ordinances and print cards to take to the temple. (If you need help printing cards, the app will also give you a number you can take to the temple, where the cards can be printed for you.)

How Others Are Using Ordinances Ready

The new Ordinances Ready feature has already inspired many members, bringing them closer to their family and helping them participate in temple work. Here are Sarah, Garrett, and Kirsten’s stories.

Feeling the Spirit at All Times—Sarah’s Story

“Ordinance[s] Ready has made it more rewarding to go to the temple because I am always able to have my own names to work on. . . . I have truly felt the Spirit so much stronger as I’ve taken my own family names to the temple,” says Sarah Rocha.

Recently, Sarah and her roommates at BYU–Idaho decided to start their semester by attending the temple together. Sarah showed her friends how to use the new Ordinances Ready feature on the Family Tree app, and each of them were able to find names of family members needing ordinances. Sarah shared, “Being able to use the FamilySearch app has made it so much easier to feel the Spirit closer to me at all times. . . . It has helped me to feel closer to those who have passed and feel the love of my Father even stronger beside me.”

Each Person Can Take Family Names—Garrett’s Story

Before using Ordinances Ready, Garrett had never really done family history or temple work for his own ancestors. However, he did enjoy helping Amy, his wife, do temple work for her deceased family members. Several weeks ago, Garrett and his wife tried the new Ordinances Ready feature and found five of Garrett’s family members who needed temple work, including the cousin of his beloved grandfather. He felt that an instant bond was formed.

Garrett and his family use the Ordinances Ready feature often now and feel it has elevated the temple experience for them individually and as a family. “Ordinances Ready has been such a blessing for our family,” they say, “and it is bringing promised blessings and spiritual power [as we perform] temple work for ancestors.”

Ordinances Ready Is Becoming “the Norm”—Kirsten’s Story

Kirsten’s son Bennett just turned 12 and has loved the new Ordinances Ready feature after using it on one of his very first temple trips. Kirsten says, “It’s amazing to me that children who are going to the temple for the first time can take names as a norm in their temple attendance.”

Kirsten’s other teenage sons attend the temple almost every week, and they use this new feature to find and print temple names regularly using their own FamilySearch accounts. When Kirsten taught the youth in her ward how to use the feature as well, many ward members discussed how life-changing Ordinances Ready can be for the youth. As Kirsten summarized, “For the kids, this ease will be normal to them. Ancestors will always be on the forefront of their minds, and temple attendance will forever be more personal for all.”

Your Story

We would love to hear your story of how the Ordinances Ready feature has enhanced your temple experiences. Download the app and try it out. Let us know your stories in the comments below.


Download the App

 

 


New Records on FamilySearch from December 2018

Thu, 01/10/2019 - 12:22

FamilySearch expanded its free online archives in December 2018 with over 55 million new indexed family history records and over 800,000 digital images from around the world. New historical records were added from Brazil, England, Ireland, Peru, South Africa, Ukraine, and the United States, which includes Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. New digital images were added from BillionGraves, Idaho, North Carolina, and Texas.

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.

Country Collection Indexed Records Digital Records Comments Brazil Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Civil Registration, 1829–2012 65,936 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection England England, Northamptonshire, Non-conformist Records, 1840–1894 362 0 New indexed records collection Ireland Ireland Census, 1911 4,385,217 0 New indexed records collection Other BillionGraves Index 203,514 203,514 Added indexed records to an existing collection Peru Peru, Áncash, Civil Registration, 1888–2005 116,626 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection South Africa South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths, 1895–1972 79,319,959 0 New indexed records collection Honduras Honduras, Civil Registration, 1841–1968 2,421 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection Ireland Ireland Census, 1901 4,379,702 0 New indexed records collection Lesotho Lesotho, Evangelical Church Records, 1828–2005 27,034 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection Liberia Liberia, Marriage Records, 1912–2015 17,980 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection Nicaragua Nicaragua Civil Registration, 1809–2013 43,885 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection Other BillionGraves Index 291,984 291,984 Added indexed records and images to an existing collection Peru Peru, Áncash, Civil Registration, 1888–2005 116,626 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection South Africa South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths, 1895–1972 330,782 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection Ukraine Ukraine, Kiev Confession Lists, 1741–1918 68,724 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Alabama County Marriages, 1809–1950 4,115,533 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Alabama, World War I Service Cards, 1917–1919 102,611 0 New indexed records collection United States Arizona, County Marriages, 1871–1964 370,565 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Arizona, Gila County, Cemetery Records, 1927–1994 3,498 0 New indexed records collection United States California, County Marriages, 1850–1952 27,263 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States California, San Francisco County Records, 1824–1997 1,438,476 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Delaware Vital Records, 1650–1974 738,983 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Delaware, Wilmington Vital Records, 1847–1954 49,446 0 New indexed records collection United States Florida Marriages, 1830–1993 35,097 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Florida, County Marriages, 1830–1957 270,640 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Georgia, County Marriages, 1785–1950 1,224,740 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Georgia, Elbert County Records, 1790–2002 35,768 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Georgia, Reconstruction Registration Oath Books, 1867–1868 7,962 0 New indexed records collection United States Idaho, Bonneville County Records, 1867–2012 36,054 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Idaho, Butte County Records, 1882–1970 1,102 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Idaho, Cassia County Records, 1879–1989 14,323 0 New indexed records collection United States Idaho, County Marriages, 1864–1950 236,009 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Idaho, Elmore County Records, 1889–1972 5,570 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Idaho, Gooding County Records, 1879–1962 6,487 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Idaho, Lemhi County Records, 1868–1964 3,394 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Idaho, Lincoln County Records, 1886–1972 4,049 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Idaho, Madison County Records 2,352 34,153 New indexed records and images collection United States Idaho, Minidoka County Records, 1913–1961 7,965 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Idaho, Teton County Records, 1900–1988 778 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Idaho, Twin Falls County Records, 1906-1988 35,522 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871–1920 798,230 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Illinois, County Marriages, 1810–1940 1,041,748 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Indiana Marriages, 1811–2007 79,172 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Indiana, World War I, Enrollment Cards, 1919 134,761 0 New indexed records collection United States Iowa, County Marriages, 1838–1934 100,397 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Iowa, Death Records, 1904–1951 10 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797–1954 1,561,926 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Maine Vital Records, 1670–1921 427,770 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Maryland County Marriages, 1658–1940 33,797 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Massachusetts Marriages, 1841–1915 656,620 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Massachusetts Town Records, ca. 1638–1961 32,643 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1626–2001 603,710 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Michigan, County Marriages Index, 1820–1937 13,820 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Michigan, County Marriages, 1820–1940 72,650 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Minnesota, County Marriages, 1860–1949 79,814 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Mississippi, World War I Army Veterans, Master alphabetical index, 1917–1918 53,093 0 New indexed records collection United States Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800–1991 729,069 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Montana, Cascade County Records, 1880–2009 23,867 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Montana, County Marriages, 1865–1950 20,961 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Montana, Granite County Records, 1865–2009 1,904 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Montana, Judith Basin County Records, 1887–2012 3,787 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Montana, Lake County Records, 1857–2010 3,703 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Montana, Pondera County Records, 1910–2012 2,707 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Montana, Rosebud County Records, 1878–2011 125 0 New indexed records collection United States Montana, Sanders County Records, 1866–2010 7,311 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Montana, Teton County Records, 1881–2012 5,421 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Montana, Toole County Records, 1913–1960 12,917 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Montana, Yellowstone County Records, 1881–2011 5,827 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Nebraska Marriages, 1855–1995 578,386 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Nevada County Marriages, 1862–1993 727,995 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States New Hampshire Marriage Certificates, 1948–1959 1,001 0 New indexed records collection United States New Hampshire, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1636–1947 125,087 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States New Jersey, Marriages, 1670–1980 88,538 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States New York, County Marriages, 1847–1848; 1908–1936 220,043 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829–1940 1,202,263 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762–1979 6,405,785 618,184 Added indexed records and images to an existing collection United States North Carolina, County Records, 1833–1970 11 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States North Dakota, County Marriages, 1872–1958 494 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Ohio, Carroll County, Veteran Grave Registrations, 1817–1980 2,367 0 New indexed records collection United States Ohio, County Marriages, 1789–2013 1,077,187 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Oklahoma, County Marriages, 1890–1995 294,132 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Pennsylvania Obituary and Marriage Collection, 1947–2010 535 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885–1950 1,236,748 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Rhode Island, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1630–1945 60,960 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Tennessee, Jackson County Records, 1801–1974 13,799 17,925 New indexed records and images collection United States Tennessee, White County Records, 1809–1975 22,861 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Texas, Comanche County Records, 1858–1955 17,529 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837–1977 15,112 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Texas, County Marriage Records, 1837–1965 388,116 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Texas, Mills County Clerk Records, 1841–1985 8,828 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Texas, Swisher County Records, 1879–2012 2,057 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States United States Census, 1930 11,779,223 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States United States, Florida, Index to Alien Arrivals by Airplane at Miami, 1930–1942 51,420 0 New indexed records collection United States United States, Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917–1940
3,099,585 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Utah, Davis County Records, 1869–1953 21,745 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Utah, Tooele County Records, 1855–1956 5,449 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Vermont, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1732–2005 2,401,944 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Vermont, Town Records, 1850–2005 55,144 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Virginia, County Marriage Records, 1771–1943 37,040 2,733 New indexed records and images collection United States Virginia, Jewish Cemetery Records Index, ca. 1800–1986 8,056 0 New indexed records collection United States Washington, County Marriages, 1855–2008 3,951,984 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Washington, World War I Veteran’s Compensation Fund Application Records, 1921–1925 28,530 0 New indexed records and images collection United States West Virginia Marriages, 1780–1970 1,158,909 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States West Virginia Will Books, 1756–1971 12 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Wisconsin, County Marriages, 1836–1911 17,409 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection United States Wyoming Marriages, 1869–1923 27,777 0 Added indexed records to an existing collection

Over 6 billion searchable historic records are available from around the world on FamilySearch.org. Records are published with the help of thousands of volunteer indexers who transcribe digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. To help make more historical records from the world’s archives available online, volunteer with FamilySearch Indexing.

Learn how to search the records on FamilySearch to find exactly what you’re looking for.

 


How Did We Get the First U.S. Census?

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 17:26

The United States has faithfully taken a census every 10 years since 1790. You may have used census records to build your family history or heard that they are super useful for genealogists—but do you know how the first U.S. census began?


Search for Your Ancestors in the 1790 Census

 

The Need for a Population Count

A mandate to conduct a census regularly is actually included in Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution. According to the Constitution, the purpose of the census was to apportion direct taxes and seats in the U. S. House of Representatives “according to [each state’s] respective numbers.” In order to figure out how many people live in each state, you have to count them!

Conducting the First U.S. Census

The first U.S. census asked for the names of heads of households and counted all other people by age, gender, or status, though a more complete questionnaire including occupations had been proposed by James Madison to Congress.

The 17 marshals of the U.S. judicial districts were given responsibility for counting the population and empowered to appoint as many assistants as necessary to accomplish the task. It is estimated that the marshals oversaw some 650 assistants, who carried out the population count.


John Hancock and Samuel Adams on the 1790 census. Massachusetts was the only state to use printed columns.

Taking the Census by Hand

The census takers were required to provide their own paper for the 1790 census forms, write in the headings themselves, and bind them together, so the size and type of pages varied greatly. (Some were even bound with wallpaper!)

The filled-in handwritten documents were then kept in the Census Office. The legal time period for the population count to be completed was 9 months, though counting the population of South Carolina took 18 months, and Vermont’s count did not take place until 1791, after it was added as a state.

A copy of the completed census (also known as a population schedule) was to be posted in the two most public places in each jurisdiction “for the inspection of all concerned,” and an aggregated copy of each district was to go to the President of the United States.

Results from the 1790 Census

The official population counted in 1790 was 3,929,214, and the cost of taking the census was $44,377.

The official count was considered by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to be an undercount, as they thought the total should have been greater. If the count was low, it might have been because some inhabitants were opposed to the census for religious reasons or feared it would be used for increased taxation. Boundaries of towns and even counties were also less well-defined in 1790, which posed a challenge for scheduling census takers.

Publication of the 1790 U.S. Census

The completed census schedules for the states were filed in the State Department, but the schedules for some states were lost between 1790 and 1830. The remaining census population schedules were posted in public places to be checked for accuracy, and thus viewable by local populations for a short time. After this, the records were kept and processed by the government.

A summary of results from the 1790 census was given by President George Washington to Congress in 1791. You can actually download this summary from Census.gov—though be warned, it is quite a long read!

At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a rise in the public’s interest in the beginning years of the United States and the first U.S. census. In 1907 and 1908, Congress approved funds to publish the 1790 U.S. census “in response to repeated requests from patriotic societies and persons interested in genealogy, or desirous of studying the early history of the United States.”

The population schedules for Maryland, New Hampshire, and Vermont were published in 1907, while the remaining existing schedules were published the next year when additional funds were approved. Today, censuses are made available to the public 72 years after they are taken, to protect the privacy of living individuals.

Search the 1790 U.S. census for free on FamilySearch.org to find information about your early U.S. ancestors.

Legacy Tree Genealogists is a genealogy research firm with expertise in helping people find their ancestors. Founded in 2004, the company provides full-service genealogical research for clients worldwide, helping them discover their roots and personal history through records, narratives, and DNA.


Learn about Your Family on FamilySearch.org

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 15:51

An exciting new search tool on the FamilySearch.org home page called “Learn about your family” combines the power of searching records—the most used feature on the website and app—with searching the FamilySearch Family Tree—a worldwide community tree with over one billion profiles. With this new feature, you can learn about your family surname and more.

Using a simple new interface, users need only to enter one word, a family last name, and the powerful FamilySearch search engine takes it from there. It will show you how many people in the Family Tree share your last name and where around the world your last name can be found.

If you want to know more about a specific ancestor, you can also enter a few more details into the search, such as a first and middle name, birthplace, birth year, death place, and death year. With these extra details, the new search feature can help you find historical documents for your ancestor and even match their information with profiles on the FamilySearch Family Tree.

Try It for Yourself

You don’t need a FamilySearch.org account to use this search feature, but desktop users will need to be logged out to see it. Go to the FamilySearch home page and, before logging in, look just below the main banner. There you will find the “Learn about your family” tool.

The new feature also works on the FamilySearch Family Tree app:

  • For an iOS device, open your app, and tap More. Then select Find a Person. Fill in at least the Last Name field, or add additional information if you know it. Then tap Find.
  • For an Android device, open the app, and tap the magnifying glass in the top right corner to access the Find a Person search. Fill in at least the Last Name field, or add additional information if you know it. Then tap Find.

FamilySearch’s new “Learn about your family” feature allows quick and easy access to the billions of records and profiles on the site—and if you have a FamilySearch account set up, you can then attach records to your family tree. You’ll be connecting to your past before you know it!

If you don’t have a FamilySearch account, create your own free account here.

 


Use Simple Activities to Create Personalized Family History Experiences

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 15:41

Temple and family history work can be fun. And why shouldn’t it be? When we feel a real connection with our family (living or dead) we are energized, and we gain a clarity and purpose that shines a light on the joy inherent in the plan of salvation.

Many people believe that family history is difficult to do, that it is overly technical, or that it is only for an older generation. You have the opportunity to change this mindset as you help others experience the simple joys of family history and partake of its many blessings. Many new resources are available that can help.

 
 

Family History Activities for Families

The Family History Activities for Families page includes a series of simple activities. These activities can help people learn about themselves, their families, and temple service.

The activities are a great way to help youth and children understand more about their heritage and family. They can work as a great introduction to family history during personalized family history experiences or as part of a Sunday lesson. Most require no research time or skills.

Finding Temple Opportunities 

The new Ordinances Ready feature in the FamilySearch Family Tree app and on FamilySearch.org helps people find ancestors awaiting ordinances. It can at the same time provide a discovery experience. The feature allows members to see their relationship to their ancestor and view available photos and stories. Ordinances Ready is a simple way to introduce members to the joy of family history, which may instill in them a deeper desire to connect with their ancestors.

What Ordinances Ready Searches

Ordinance Ready searches the following resources in this order:

  1. The member’s reservation list.
  2. Ordinances that have been shared with temple from the member’s reservation list.
  3. Ordinances for the member’s ancestors that have been shared with the temple by relatives.
  4. Ordinances available from the person’s tree (showing with the green temple icon).

If no ordinances are found in the sources listed above, Ordinances Ready retrieves available ordinances that have been submitted to the temple by any patron. These ordinances from the temple inventory will be provided in the same order they were submitted to the temple. Through Ordinances Ready, Church members can perform ordinances that have been submitted to the temple by others, whether or not they are directly related to the individuals for whom the ordinances are performed.

Photos and Stories

If you are new to family history research or if the person you are helping is just starting out (as in the case of a new member of the Church), it can be helpful to use personal photos, stories, and other heirlooms to create a family history experience. Here are some ideas of what you can do:

  • Help someone discover more about his or her family’s story. The more people discover about their family’s story, the more they learn about themselves. Discoveries go beyond names and dates and can help them see their ancestors as real people. They can also make the history, traditions, and culture of someone’s ancestral homeland personally meaningful. FamilySearch has simple discovery resources that interact with Family Tree.
  • Use the past to bring families together. Members can strengthen relationships with living family as they discover their heritage. See “Connect with Your Family: Past, Present, and Future” for ideas on how to involve families in family history.
  • Invite members to share memories. When the person you are serving shares his or her feelings and memories about an ancestor, it can promote individual discovery. The FamilySearch Memories mobile app provides a simple way to preserve and share stories, photos, audio files, and images of important documents and heirlooms.
  • Use simple resources to capture stories. My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together is a booklet that helps people organize their family history information and preserve stories and memories about their first four generations. Learn more about the booklet.

Pick one of these activities that might work for the family or individual you are serving, and try it out! Each one is a great way to create a fun family history experience that can connect others to their ancestors.

A New Approach to Temple and Family History Consulting

Learn more about creating personalized family history experiences.


What’s Coming to FamilySearch in 2019

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 15:15

The popular, free genealogy website, FamilySearch.org, has many plans for the new year, including enhanced record search and Family Tree search capabilities, new online discovery experiences, and more!

In addition to over 300 million additional historical records and images for family history discoveries, look for the following new offerings in 2019.

1. Online Interactive Discovery Experiences  

For the first time, fun discovery experiences that have been available only at life-sized, interactive kiosks in select FamilySearch venues will also be available on FamilySearch.org in 2019. Making these three discovery experiences available online will expand the reach of the activities to more patrons globally.

  • All about Me
    Have you ever wondered about the origin and meaning of your name or what events happened the year you were born?  The All about Me experience will allow you to discover these fun things about yourself, and also about your ancestors.
  • Picture My Heritage
    This simple and fun experience lets you insert yourself digitally into traditional clothing related to your heritage. On Picture My Heritage, you can save your custom photos or share them with friends and family.
  • Record My Story
    Priceless stories and memories from you or family members can be recorded on Record My Story and added—by text or audio—to FamilySearch.org or downloaded to another source.

2. Family Tree and Friends, Associates, and Neighbor (FAN) Relationships

The free FamilySearch Family Tree will give users the ability to record other relationships to an ancestor beyond immediate family members, when applicable, such as friends, associates, and neighbors (FAN). This function will aid research by allowing users to record information about other people living in an ancestor’s household as noted in a historical record, such as boarders or staff.

FamilySearch will continue to develop site experiences that enable families to connect with their ancestral homelands near and far. FamilySearch.org will also provide more help throughout the site to make it easier for visitors to accomplish key tasks with fewer detours and distractions.

3. Updated Find Capability

The FamilySearch Family Tree search capacity will be significantly updated to provide faster and better results. Another innovation will allow search engines such as Google to present names and limited facts from the Family Tree to online search queries without the searcher being signed into FamilySearch.org. This feature will enable millions of people searching for their ancestors online to discover the vast, free services FamilySearch offers them.

4. Memories

Millions of people use FamilySearch Memories to record, preserve, and share their family photos, historical documents, and stories. In 2019, users will be able to record audio remembrances related to a photo they have uploaded. Memories will also give users the capability to organize items in an album according to their interests or needs. 

5. RootsTech London 2019

The first international version of the highly successful RootsTech family history conference will be held in London on October 24–26, 2019, at the ExCel London Convention Center.

The RootsTech London 2019 convention will not replace the annual conference in Salt Lake City (held on February 27–March 2, 2019) but will be an additional RootsTech event. Registration for RootsTech London opens in February 2019.

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years.

Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

 


A New Approach to Temple and Family History Consulting

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 14:34

A great way to engage others in temple and family history work is to help them have experiences with their own family history that are meaningful to them personally.

This kind of interaction, called a personalized family history experience, is an informal get-together that takes place in the home or another convenient location where the Holy Ghost can be present. When you set out to create this type of experience, the goal of the meeting is simple—to help others increase their love of family and build connections to their ancestors and our Heavenly Father.

 
 

Principles of Personalized Family History Experiences

A successful consultant ministers as the Savior did, one on one. While each experience will be unique and specific to the person or family involved, the following principles are important for temple and family history consultants to follow:

  • Pray to Be Led by the Holy Ghost. Before you meet with people to help them have a personalized family history experience, have a brief conversation with them. Find out what ancestor or ancestral homeland they are drawn to, and determine if they have any specific family history goals. Then, as you prepare a personalized family history experience, pray for guidance. Pray that both you and them will be led to ancestors who have accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and are awaiting their temple ordinances to be completed.
  • Prepare a Personalized Plan. Use the Consultant Planner to study the person’s family tree and look for ways he or she can discover more about family members. Remember to keep the person’s goals in mind. Take advantage of online resources such as FamilySearch.org, FamilySearch partner sites, the FamilySearch Research Wiki, Google, and other research sites to add fun and excitement to the experience.
  • Minister One-on-One. When you share what you have found, teach following the example of the Savior, line upon line and precept upon precept. The experiences you share should be tailored to the participants’ level of understanding of family history, and you should be considerate of their time.
  • Invite Them to Act. After you have shared what you found, invite the person or family to act on what they have learned. If electronic devices are used during the experience, always invite people to use their own. After all, the more people do on their own, the more likely they are to know what to do in the weeks and months that follow.

Resources Available

Consultants have lots of great resources to help them build meaningful experiences. You can read about a few simple activities here. Many family history activities can be quite simple, can require little or no research, and can avoid specialized terms or computer functions that some members of the Church may be unfamiliar with.

Remember, the goal of being a temple and family history consultant isn’t to teach someone everything there is to know about temple and family history work. Rather, it is to craft an experience that leads to a connection and that invites the Holy Ghost.

Even something as simple as inviting people to learn about their name—where it came from and why it was given to them—can make a powerful impression and turn their hearts toward their ancestors. This is what the personalized family history experience is all about!

Use Simple Activities to Create Personalized Family History Experiences

Try these simple activities using FamilySearch resources to become closer to your ancestors and heritage.


FamilySearch 2018 Genealogy Highlights

Wed, 01/02/2019 - 16:28

FamilySearch International, a global leader in helping individuals discover their family history, published its annual at-a-glance summary of its efforts in 2018. A key FamilySearch initiative is to simplify family history and increase discovery experiences for beginners. In 2018, FamilySearch published hundreds of millions of new, free historical records online, provided personal, interactive learning opportunities, opened new facilities, and created more effective search experiences at FamilySearch.org.

Record Updates in 2018

FamilySearch has the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world—and 5.8 billion of those are now searchable online. True to its mission to connect families, FamilySearch published its two billionth digital image of historical records online and continues adding records at a rate of over 300 million new records and images yearly.  Over 300,000 online volunteers clocked in over 11 million hours to help index 122 million new records, making them easy to search for an ancestor’s name.

FamilySearch published significant new collections from the War of 1812 and World War I. Military records are a treasure trove of largely underutilized record collections. They can help uncover details about soldiers and their families and lives. Another significant collection published was the complete archive of Ellis Island and Castle Garden Records online. Today, more than 100 million Americans have at least one ancestor who came through Ellis Island.

Family Tree Growth in 2018

The popular, free FamilySearch Family Tree had 1.6 million contributors for the year, who added 28 million new people to the global tree. The total number of searchable people is now 1.21 billion. Users also added 241 million sources to their ancestor pages.

New tools make online searches easier with an array of devices. The powerful FamilySearch Family Tree mobile app now has over 90 percent of the functionality of FamilySearch.org’s Family Tree feature.

New Interactive Experiences

FamilySearch’s vision includes “creating a bond, linking the present to the past, and building a bridge to the future.” Part of that process is to create fun, interactive experiences that link people to the past. FamilySearch’s innovation experiences are now showcased at Revolution Place in the Museum of the American Revolution, a popular new tourist attraction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Four interactive displays immerse visitors in an experience of 1770 Philadelphia when the American Colonies struggled with the quest for independence.

New Director for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City

In August of this year, David Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, and chief genealogical officer of FamilySearch, was also made director of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  He is working with FamilySearch development teams to increase patron success at the library and more than 5,000 local centers worldwide. During the year, 72 new centers were built to increase user access. In January 2018, a new 8,000 square foot FamilySearch center opened in Lehi, Utah, and ground was broken for a new Ogden Utah FamilySearch Center.

Successful 2018 Genealogy Conference

RootsTech 2018 was a huge success, providing up-to-date information on resources and search techniques. Over 125,000 attendees participated in person and online. Throughout the year, lectures have been rebroadcast and posts of information have appeared on the RootsTech Blog.

After a year of impressive growth in 2018, FamilySearch is looking forward to what the new year will bring!