Share Tales from Your Family Tree in the New Memories Gallery

Wagon Train 1200x1200 Wikipedia Public Domain

Searching for a better life, a pioneer family crosses windswept plains and snow-covered mountains to establish a homestead that will be settled by generations of descendants.

The Civil War over, a soldier walks hundreds of miles toward home. Sickness, exhaustion, and blistered feet beckon him to stop, but a memory of wife and child at the hearth drives him forward.

Defying conventional beliefs of the age, a young woman studies to earn her college degree. After graduation, pioneering work in the sciences puts to rest any notion her path was wayward.

In family history, it is stories about ancestors that illuminate their lives for us. Tales of bold action and achievement define a family legacy, setting the stage for our lives while inspiring us to feats of our own.

With FamilySearch’s new Memories Gallery, collecting stories from your family tree is easier than ever – whether you are compiling tales of ancestors from long ago or chronicling living relatives. Here’s how:

1) Upload stories with a few clicks. Start by clicking on the green plus symbol. Then upload written or audio tales by dragging and dropping them, or by choosing a file. Stories are preserved forever.

2) Add stories to albums. You can organize tales by lineage, ancestor, event, or another category. Just drag the story to the desired album on the left, or start fresh with a “New Album.”

3) Experience and share family stories. Scroll through albums to read and listen to stories from your family history. Supplement tales by adding family photos and documents to an album.

Have you used FamilySearch’s new Memories Gallery to preserve the stories that make up your heritage?

If you need inspiration for getting started, look no further than the below family history projects from other FamilySearch users. Then begin adding tales to your family tree in celebration of your ancestry.

Collecting Memories of Grandparents and Great Grandparents

Jessie McKinley
Jessie McKinley

Jessie McKinley understands family reunions are excellent occasions to collect stories about relatives. So with a reunion scheduled this past summer, she set out on a special family history project: collecting audio stories about grandparents and great grandparents. We asked Jessie to tell us about her project.

What inspired you to take on this storytelling project?

I’m always looking for ways to share and preserve our family stories! They are so incredibly important. I knew that our annual reunion was coming up – a fabulous time to record memories! So I volunteered to be in charge of a one-hour family history activity.

What goals did you have for the project?

My main goal was to inspire others to record memories of their own. But I also wanted those in attendance to reflect on our ancestors and the amazing lives that they led.

What steps did you take to complete this family history project?

It was super easy and low-key. No need to stress! I just made sure that I was connected to good Wi-Fi and my phone was fully charged. Then we all took turns sharing memories of my grandparents and great grandparents, recording audio stories on my phone via the Memories app. My grandma was there – along with many aunts, uncles, and cousins – so we had a wide variety of memories. It was wonderful.

I shared the link to FamilySearch’s Memories page afterwards for anyone who wasn’t able to be there in person. So amazing!

What was the most important thing you took from this storytelling project?

We all remember different things about a certain person or event. Coming together and sharing memories allows all of us to expand our relationships to those living and those who have gone before us. It’s a win-win!

Top Rank 5
A link to audio files on the Memories page allowed relatives who were not at the reunion to hear the family stories Jessie collected.

 Helping Relatives Explore Ancestry Through Family Stories

Stacy Julian
Stacy Julian

Stacy Julian is passionate about family stories. She is also dedicated to helping others appreciate their power. That dedication led Stacy to take steps to make family tales more accessible for relatives so that they could easily explore their ancestry. Stacy explains her project.

What inspired you to take on this family history project?

After reading life histories, obituaries, and other family narratives on FamilySearch’s Memories, I was inspired to summarize ancestors’ lives in a single document. I included visuals and an action item – something I call a “small and simple thing” – to prompt relatives to learn more about ancestors. The PDFs are now posted on Memories for anyone that also descends from these family members.

What storytelling goals did you have for the project?

I wanted to provide family history stories that are simple to use and share with others! The PDFs I created are easy to print and share as part of a family lesson at home, a youth talk in church, or another genealogy exercise. So, essentially I’m making what is already available more accessible and easy to use and share!

What steps did you take to complete this family history project?

I started by printing whatever was available for each person I wanted to become better acquainted with. I read through this material and then summarized everything into something easier to digest. In some cases, there was not anything posted, so I conducted interviews or research to find information I could summarize. I also transcribed a handwritten personal history and added in some of my own memories.

What was the most important thing you took from this family history project?

I think learning details about these people’s everyday lives – the sacrifices they made and the faith they developed – was the most impressive thing for me, my children, and my extended family. We can now readily converse about these people at the dinner table, and we have physical reminders in our home of them and their lives and personalities.

Charles Leness Hall
This document created by Stacy explores the life of her grandfather, Charles Leness Hall.

A “Family History Relay” Exploring Ancestry

Taralyn Parker
Taralyn Parker

Taralyn Parker loves exploring family history with relatives. Last summer, she used a family reunion to create a unique “family history relay.” Taralyn incorporated stories from FamilySearch’s Memories into a game that celebrated ancestors. Learn how she brought their stories to life.

What inspired you to take on this family history project?

I have always held a deep love and interest in my ancestors, but I know that not all of my family is as passionate about family history as I am. Reading my family’s stories on FamilySearch, I was inspired to take a unique approach to a game for our Bear Lake family reunion. Each family was asked to bring an outdoor game for the entire group to play at the park. I decided to do a relay race with three legs – each based on a story from our family history.

What storytelling goals did you have for the project?

My goal was to actively engage and connect my family members with their ancestors in a fun and memorable way.

What steps did you take to complete this family history project?

For inspiration for the legs of the race, I turned to FamilySearch. I searched the Memories page for stories that would fit well with a relay race. Both FamilySearch’s Memories page and the Memories app were tremendously helpful!

The first leg of the race was based on my great grandpa Victor Hughes Watkins, who set state records in the long jump. He made the high school track and field team by beating the school record his first try in his normal clothes. All those days jumping over ditches on the way to school paid off! At the reunion, every member of the team did their best long jump and then we averaged their scores.

In the next leg of our family history relay, we learned about my great grandfather Edwin Roberts Kimball, who was instrumental in the beginnings of the BYU football program. We did football drills for this leg of the race. This was inspired by a newspaper clipping posted in FamilySearch Memories as well as stories that my own grandfather had told me about his time at BYU.

The last leg was dedicated to my great great grandmother Mary Sophia Swensen. For this leg, the teams were instructed to find puzzles pieces in chocolate pudding without using their hands. The first team to assemble the puzzle and identify the family members were the winners. Along the way, teams found out that there was more to great great grandma Swensen than meets the eye. As a mother of ten children, she was challenged to a swimming race by the bishop. She accepted and won!

Prior to the family reunion, I advised all the family to download the FamilySearch app and review the photos, names, and stories with their families.

What was the most important thing you took from this family history project?

The children and adults loved learning and re-enacting these stories about their ancestors. My six-year-old still mentions it today. The stories made ancestors’ names come alive for my family.

Eddie Kimball Will be Honored
A newspaper article from Memories was inspiration for the second leg of Taralyn’s family history relay.

Whether you record audio tales, summarize ancestors’ lives in documents, or use Memories to stage a family history relay, celebrating the stories of relatives has never been easier. Use FamilySearch’s Memories Gallery to preserve and share amazing tales from your family tree. You’ll help establish a family legacy that will be cherished for generations to come.


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