Discovering the Stories of Your Early Ancestors

August 11, 2015  - by 

Last week you’ve seen—or will continue to see during the coming months—our #IAmAPioneer campaign and the upcoming Mormon Battalion campaign.

The purpose of these campaigns is to help Church members make a personal discovery about their own ancestors. We want them to learn about their stories and in doing so to turn their hearts to their ancestors. Campaigns such as these allow each of us to discover our ancestors in the context of historical events that provide rich details about their lives.

The goal of the #IAmAPioneer campaign is to share a global message of hope and inspiration. We want to encourage people to consider the legacy they create each day for their own future generations.

The key to being able to participate in these and similar campaigns is to encourage others to find what stories already exist in FamilySearch Family Tree. Many people who have Latter-day Saint pioneer or Mormon Battalion ancestors did not get the email or will not see their ancestors listed on the landing pages because the information in their family tree is not complete.

Consultants can use these and similar campaigns to help others learn about the stories of their ancestors, thus turning their hearts to their ancestors and increasing their desire to learn more. To quote Dennis Brimhall, “Once the people you work with have felt a connection to their ancestors through stories, they will be more open to and interested in learning some of the more technical methods for discovering the names, dates, and places that flesh out their overall family story. This effort will lead to more branches being add to their family trees, which will undoubtedly lead to more stories. And all of this will lead to more opportunities to find ancestors who are awaiting temple blessings.”

You can help others see if a story exists for one of their Latter-day Saint pioneer ancestors by getting them to one of the two landing pages now available on FamilySearch.org. Visit the two pages linked below:

  • #IAmaPioneer. On this site, people will discover how they are already pioneers in their own lives. It will show them how they can create their own story of discovery and accomplishment and preserve it in their family trees for future generations to read.
  • Mormon Battalion. People with multigenerational lines of Latter-day Saint ancestry can discover if any of their ancestors took part in the Mormon Battalion or were somehow associated with the events the battalion took part in. They can read the inspiring stories of adventure, hardship, and personal growth that battalion members experienced.

People love stories. They especially love stories about their own ancestors. As a family history consultant, you can help them discover these stories and find inspiration in reading them. You can show them that in important ways, they are modern pioneers with stories that will inspire their future descendants.

The success of these two campaigns is reflected in some of the comments and experiences that people have shared with FamilySearch about their experiences.

  • “I wept when I realized and read who this was. . . . Thanks again, FamilySearch. Thank you for the very uplifting email.” — Allessandra
  • “It is amazing that you are able to tie our ancestors’ trails across the plains. It’s wonderful because it will and can touch the hearts of so many people, old and young alike. I believe that the stories and photos are what will keep our young people excited to continue to do family history and not just look for the “green arrows.” Keep up the incredible work. I am so happy when I have nephews and nieces want to learn and do more in my family lines.” — Karma
  • “I just wanted to thank someone for the email sent today with the subject ‘We’ve found pioneers in your family tree.’ It was an absolutely incredible experience learning more about my ancestors who were pioneers. I felt the joyful, peaceful influence of the Holy Ghost, and it made my day. Thank you to whoever was a part of this!” — J ohn
  • “I LOVE THE PIONEER PAGES!!!!!!! What a great thing to share with my children and all my family members!!!” — Mary Ellen
  • “Thank you for this page. I found pioneer ancestors I didn’t know I had.” — James
  • “This is THE BEST email I have received in a long time! I spent over five hours discovering that I have 25 (!) ancestors who crossed the plains! This for a girl who grew up believing she didn’t have even one. Thank you, thank you for making this Pioneer Day extra special!​” — Anne

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    1. Lynn, the links in this post were out of date and are now updated. These webpages are still available online. I hope this helps!

  1. “This effort will lead to more branches being add to their family trees, which will undoubtedly lead to more stories”
    I don’t agree.