Wondering how to best use your new FamilySearch account? Here are five simple tasks you can try.
1. Find a family name to take to the temple.
Ordinances Ready is a feature on both the FamilySearch website and the FamilySearch Family Tree app. With Ordinances Ready, you can quickly find an ancestor in need of temple ordinances. Here’s how it works:
- Sign in to FamilySearch.org.
- At the top of the page, hover the mouse over the Temple tab.
- In the drop-down menu that appears, click Ordinances Ready.
- Select an ordinance you would like to help with.
After that, simply follow the instructions that appear on screen. When you have finished, you will have the names of several individuals that you can take with you on your next visit to the temple.
To learn about using Ordinances Ready on your phone or tablet, read this article in the FamilySearch blog.
2. Explore family history activities.
Family history is more than just learning about the people who have gone before us. It’s learning about ourselves and leaving a record for those who come after.
A record could be anything—a journal, a photo album, a voice recording, maybe even a hand-drawn map of your home! Family history discovery activities are an aspect of family history work that is especially appealing to youth, who would usually much rather be doing family history than watching someone else give a demonstration about it.
If activities sound like something your own family might be interested in, be sure to explore online FamilySearch Discovery Activities.
3. Record a Memory
Saving photographs to FamilySearch.org is a great thing to do, but don’t stop there. You can use your microphone to record stories, jokes, words of wisdom, your testimony, and anything else you would like—in your own words, with your own voice! You can also capture audio recordings of your loved ones. To preserve a voice recording, do the following:
- Sign in to Family Search.org.
- Look for the box on the right of the screen labeled Family History Activities, and click Check them out.
- Click the activity titled Record My Story.
- Choose the type of story you would like to tell.
- Follow the instructions you see on screen.
It is also possible to add audio recordings directly to pictures in FamilySearch.org, or you can add a memory directly to you or your ancestor’s person page.
Once you have finished, make sure that you tag the memory to the profiles of any relatives you mention in the audio, especially if your recording mentions any family members who may already be deceased. These tags will link the memory to their profile pages so that more people can listen to it.
4. Add a portrait for yourself or other family members.
A portrait is the picture that appears next to a person’s name in the FamilySearch Family Tree.
If you’ve just started your account with FamilySearch.org, then you probably don’t have a portrait photo. Other people in your immediate family might be missing one as well. This problem is easy to fix! Here are the steps:
- In the Family Tree drop-down menu at the top of the page, select Person to go to your own profile page.
- To go to the profile page for ancestors, click their names in Family Tree, and then click the person’s name or Person.
- Click the large green circle at the top of the page near the name.
- Follow the instructions for uploading a photo.
With portraits in place, FamilySearch Family Tree will start to feel much more personal to you.
5. Help others by indexing a historical record.
When you index a historical record, you view the digital image of an actual document and enter the information you see into the indexing tool. The system can then make the information searchable for other users.
Indexing a single record takes only a minute or two, but that little bit of service can lead to a huge family history discovery for someone else.
To begin indexing, you need first to select a project:
- Go to FamilySearch.org, and hover the mouse over the Indexing tab.
- In the drop-down list, click Find a Project.
- Click Projects.
- Scroll through the list of available projects until you find one that interests you.
- Start Indexing!
For more on indexing, read this brief overview.
These five activities are easy ways to start using your FamilySearch account—and to keep using it. (You have more than one family joke to record, right? Better start recording them!) You can repeat these activities as many times as you would like.
For example, you could choose a night each month for your family to participate in a FamilySearch discovery activity or try setting a certain amount of time aside each week, or even a day, to index. As you do, you will be inviting the blessings of temple and family history work into your life, which, according to President Russell M. Nelson, include increased access to the Holy Ghost and personal revelation.
In addition, consider exploring the FamilySearch blog, where you’ll find a veritable library of tips, strategies, and just plain fun ideas—such as this article on using Google photos to build your family history.
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