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 familysearch.org/campaign/calendar, 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.
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.