Family History and a Full Tree. What Now?

July 12, 2019  - by 

How do you tackle family history when it seems as though you have a full tree and all the work is done? This problem proves to be frustrating for many who want to engage with family history and try out FamilySearch.org.

With innovations and technology improving every day, this problem is quickly disappearing. There is always something that can be done with your family tree.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started right away.

 Discover and Connect

At RootsTech 2019, Bradley D. Foster shared some great advice for those who say their family history work is done. “Until you know a story or connect with your ancestors, your work is never done,” he said.

Search for stories that can be shared on FamilySearch.org. One way is to read the weekly messages that come from FamilySearch with facts about family members. If you’re registered on FamilySearch.org, these messages come either to your email or your Facebook messenger account.

two women use the familysearch family tree app to compare their full family trees.

Tell YOUR Story

Your own story is family history! FamilySearch’s Memories app is a perfect way to get you started. The app contains prompts for you to add a document, write a story, add photos, or record audio. (It can even provide you questions to consider or ask!)

This is an easy way to do family history because you know your own story—it requires no extra research! Don’t be afraid to start small. Start with the last three to five years—gather photos, stories, and thoughts, and start uploading them to FamilySearch.org.

You can write about your first love, your first job, being a parent, your faith—the list goes on. Once those documents are uploaded to FamilySearch.org, they are there for your future generations to see.

It’s not just your own profile page that you can attach memories to; you can add your memories of your parents, your grandparents, and any other members of your family!

A picture really does tell a thousand words. Find the photos lurking in yours or your grandma’s basement, upload them to FamilySearch.org, and talk about them.

You can now record a description of photos. Your voice, not just your words, can tell the story. Imagine if you had one of your children describe the first time they met Mickey Mouse or jumped off the diving board. These are precious family memories!

Learn how to use FamilySearch Memories, and record your own history.

A mother and her daughter work to add memories to their family tree by going through old family photos.

Indexing

If you feel your tree is full and just want a quick way to do some family history work, indexing is the answer. Indexing helps create searchable digital indexes of scanned images of historical documents.

This effort may not be for your own family line, but it will definitely help someone else’s family. To learn more about indexing and how it works, click here.

Add to the Tree

With more people indexing nowadays, there are always more sources you can add to your tree. Add those sources on your tree to give more information and depth. Plus, don’t be afraid to go sideways, researching cousins, aunts, and uncles of your ancestors. You can add sources to the sideways work you find too. Your work is almost never done!

A young man researches in a family history center.

Family History Activities

Activities are a fun, hands-on way to create your family history now and discover the past. This is a great way to get your children involved. Games, dress-up activities, creating a time capsule, or staging plays about the experiences of your ancestors fall into this category.

While you are doing these activities, take photos and upload them to FamilySearch.org—by doing this, you’ve created a double dose of family history. The FamilySearch site has a whole slew of ideas for family activities.

Family history work is never truly done. There are always exciting discoveries to be made. They are fun and interesting. This is not your grandma’s family history of the old days; it is yours for the taking. Reach out, and grab it!

A family builds their family tree together.

Rachel Trotter

Rachel J. Trotter is a senior writer and editor at Evalogue.Life. She tells people’s stories and shares hers to encourage others. She loves family storytelling. A graduate of Weber State University, she has had articles featured on LDSLiving.com, FamilySearch.org, and Mormon.org. She and her husband Mat have six children and live on the East Bench in Ogden, Utah.

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Comments

  1. Great ideals; I am 80 + years and am anixous to try to learn how to make the most of my research and collection of memorabilia for 50 years. Would like very much to have quite to reference. Thanks.