Family History and a Full Tree. What Now?

July 12, 2019  - by 
A woman holds her head in her hands next to her laptop.

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!

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.

A family builds their family tree together.

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!


Read More about Joining the Family Tree

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.

    1. Henry, it can be very confusing! We just created a series of articles about how to start and continue your family tree. Check them out! If you need more specific help, you can contact a representative by following this link.

  2. I would like to print my tree for those family members who do not use the computer….is there a way? I have used screen shot but its not great.

  3. Hi, I just used the Genealogical search page and I found 6 entries for my 3rd great grandmother/father. How do I go about combining all of these? Also, they seemed to have no source information… how did the researcher find the information? They all listed the IGI as their source. Thank you, m

    1. Hi Michelle! Thank you for your question regarding the Genealogies section of FamilySearch. Each of these trees were submitted by different individuals. You cannot correct or combine these records. Please see the Genealogies page for more information about the type of collections available and what they contain. Thank you for reading the blog!

      1. Thank you… Another question – I tried to find the tree for each one as I found them in Genealogies, but they seemed not to connect to any certain tree. It looked like they were all separate entities or fragments.

        1. Hi Michelle! They could have been fragments within the person’s Genealogies submission. However, when you find the same individual within the FamilySearch Family Tree (shared tree), you should merge the duplicates together.

  4. Hello! How can I print the whole Family Tree, including all acestors and beyond the 7th generation? Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Juan! Thank you for your question. There are 1.3 Billion people in the FamilySearch Family Tree. You cannot print the entire tree. You can check out the FamilySearch Solutions Gallery to see what other companies may offer in the way of larger charts that may take you past 7 generation. Hope this helps! Thank you for reading the blog!

      1. I also want to print my whole pedigree with about 5000 names, as found at FamilySearch. I did it before in 1996 with CommSoft Roots III so it can be done. That printing is out of date and that company is out of business. I have asked this question of you three times without an answer. It is far too much work to break it all down and print it in tiny sections. It would take forever.

        1. Hi Carol! Thank you for your question. You can print pedigree charts 4 generations at a time. You can also print fan charts 7 generations at a time. Please check out the FamilySearch Solutions Gallery for Family Tree Management tools where you can sync with the FamilySearch Family Tree and then print pedigree charts from one of the tree tools. One of these other programs that sync with FamilySearch will allow you to print your entire pedigree.

  5. I’ve been working on my family history for 50 years and I have a tree with >20,000 ancestors. There’s no way I want to retype all this information into the common ‘Family Tree’ one person at a time. I’ve uploaded my full tree as a GEDCOM, but is there some way for me to selectively copy data from my personal tree into the shared tree?

  6. I have my tree in decendents and need to put them in a tree in a book or paper but don’t know how. There is about seven generations. I would like to put them on the family group sheet but don’t know jow either. Please help I need to snd this to my family back east and don’t know how either Thanks Barbara

  7. where do you draw the line in recording members who have married into your family tree. I have a very large file but it seems like most of the people are my family member spouses and including their families, etc., People that i would probably never be interested in. I feel like I have made a mistake by recording all that information. P.S. I loved your Rootstech conference.

    1. Hi Jane! Thank you for your question. The FamilySearch Family Tree is a shared tree. As you add deceased persons to the Tree, you may be helping other people who are related to them. FamilySearch recommends only adding living persons in order to connect you to deceased relatives.

      1. Thank you Amy for getting back to me. I asked this because I have so many people from extended lines that are just cluttering up my file. And I’m really not that interested in them. I just want to know where to draw the line. Is there some standard guideline for drawing the line?

        1. Hi Jane! You can work on whomever you want to. There are no guidelines when it comes to deciding which family you want to research and how extended you want to go. That is up to each person to decide for themselves.