Personalized Family History Experience

How to Help Others

Temple and family history consultants create inspiring personalized family history experiences that bring joy to those they serve. When planning these experiences, consultants should consider what will best help the individuals they are helping increase their love of family, build connections, and provide needed temple ordinances for their ancestors.

Just as no two people are the same, every personalized family history experience should be unique. Each should be based on the interests of the person or family. Seeking inspiration from the Holy Ghost is key. What Should I Focus on?

What follows are some ideas for preparing personalized family history experiences for those you serve.

Discover Interests

A good personalized family history experience is most successful when it is based on the interests and inspiration of those you will meet with. As a first step, discuss with them what they would like to accomplish. Some common interests may include things like:

  • Finding an ancestor needing temple ordinances.
  • Discovering, preserving, or sharing a personal story, photo, or memory.
  • Learning more about the family name.
  • Learning about a specific ancestor.
  • Learning about ancestral homelands.

Family History Activities

In-Home Activities include a series of simple, low- or no-tech activities that can help anyone learn about themselves, their families, and temple service. The activities are a great way to involve youth and children and to teach them about their heritage and family.

Finding Temple Opportunities

For Church members, the ultimate temple and family history goal is to provide saving ordinances for their ancestors. This can happen whether they serve as proxy for an ancestor in person or share the ordinances with the temple.

The new Ordinances Ready feature in the FamilySearch Family Tree app and on facilitates the process of finding ancestors awaiting ordinances. It also maps family relationships and can be used to access photos and stories for a particular ancestor. Use this simple tool to introduce members to the joy of family history, which may instill in them a deeper desire to connect with their ancestors.


Preserve Your Photos and Family Memories


If you are new to family history research or if the person you are helping is just starting out, you can create a simple yet inspiring family history experience by focusing on personal photos, stories, and other heirlooms. Here are some ideas:

  • The more people discover about their family's story, the more they learn about themselves. Discovery goes beyond names and dates and makes the people, traditions, culture, and homelands associated with those ancestors real. Find discovery resources that interact with Family Tree.
  • Recognize opportunities to strengthen relationships with living family as they discover their heritage. Find ideas on how to involve families in family history.
  • Inviting the individual you are helping to share his or her feelings and memories about an ancestor promotes individual discovery. The FamilySearch Memories mobile app provides a simple way to capture stories, photos, and images of documents and heirlooms, and you can record and preserve audio files. Learn more about the mobile apps.
  • The booklet My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together is a paper-based resource to help individuals organize their family history information and capture stories and memories about their first 4 generations. Learn more about the booklet.

Historical Records

Records can add important validation and interesting details to a family’s story. On each person’s page in Family Tree, look for:

Research Help

Record Hints—Possible ancestor matches in historical records. These can be also be found in the Consultant Planner under Possible Opportunities.

Research Suggestions—Places to look for more information.

Data problems—Identifies data errors.

Search Records

Triggers an automated record search for the person on FamilySearch and partner sites. Finding individual records, or even well-sourced family trees on a partner site, are very helpful in discovering stories and documents of individuals not yet recorded in Family Tree.


When researching an individual, it is helpful to look at any attached sources. Sources can provide insight into family stories or facts that promote discovery. They can also help you understand previous research and can identify names of family members listed in the source but that are not yet added to Family Tree.

Preparing a Personalized Plan: An Inside Look


Preparing Personalized Family History Experiences

Example of a Personalized Family History Experience


Having a written outline or plan to follow can keep you focused and contributes to an effective experience. Suggested items include:

  • The ID number (PID) of the ancestors you will share information about.
  • How the person you are helping is related to the ancestors you will share information about.
  • Key steps the person will take during the experience. If you bring a physical copy, you can leave it with them as a reminder of what they accomplished.
  • Photos and stories.
  • Information from historical records, search engines, or other sources.
  • Follow-up invitations to act. Our invitations to act are meant to be simple and achievable.

Delivering Personalized Family History Experiences

He Was a Blacksmith


Things to consider:

  • Involve families. Consider the number of helpers needed to create a good one-on-one experience.
  • Focus on individual needs, and seek inspiration from the Spirit.
  • Consider the location. Where will you be sharing this experience? Are there any additional preparations needed?
  • What device, if any, will you use? Plan to have the individual or a family member control the computer or mobile device, if used.
  • Will you need internet connectivity? Will you require any additional equipment or access?

Personalized Experiences in Group Settings

There may be times when meeting in a group setting can be helpful, such as when participants need to use technology at the Church meetinghouse. However, group meetings should still maintain the one-on-one pattern for personalized experiences. One helper should be assigned to each participant.

Consider the following when conducting personalized family history experiences in a group setting:

  • Remember to make sure the internet, devices, and other resources are ready to use.
  • Consider beginning the session with a prayer and a brief spiritual thought.
  • Determine a specific length for the workshop, and adhere to the time frame.
  • Invite participants to share with others—especially any stories or details they learned about an ancestor.
Discover Interests
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