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The Genealogue

FamilySearch Blog

Discover your personal and family heritage

Ministering to All through Temple and Family History: 2020 Leadership Instruction

2020. március 28., szombat 1:44:49

The annual Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction is a one-of-a-kind event where Church leaders teach about temple and family history work and share ways we can all serve and minister more effectively through these efforts. This year, leaders focused on how temple and family history can be used to minister to all of God’s children—and emphasized that “all” really means “all.”

Watch this short video about the 2020 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction, which includes a personal invitation from Elder David A. Bednar.

The full video for the meeting is available on As you watch, look for ways temple and family history can help you personally in living the gospel of Jesus Christ, caring for those in need, inviting all to receive the gospel, and uniting families for eternity (see General Handbook, 1.2).

A transcript of the 2020 leadership instruction meeting will be available in several languages. You can also view current and previous leadership instruction videos and transcripts in the Gospel Library.

Virtual Tours—19 Ways to Travel from Home

2020. március 27., péntek 21:57:15

Virtual tours can open up amazing and awe-inspiring locations around the world that may otherwise be inaccessible to you. You can experience the majesty of the Sistine Chapel, the wonder of the Great Wall of China, or the beauty of Hawaii from the comfort of your own home. 

Picking the Right Virtual Tour for You

As you consider which virtual tour you want to take, try finding one that not only helps you explore a new place, but consider a place tied to your heritage. Learning more about your cultural heritage can help you become more resilient as you develop a deeper understanding of your story.

You can discover more about your heritage using the Where Am I From? experience, which maps where your ancestors came from.

The following virtual tours allow you to see some of the most spectacular sites in the world and gain a greater appreciation for world cultures. By immersing yourself in world heritage, you will better understand your own heritage.

1. Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums

This collection of virtual tours lets you see some of the masterpieces of the Renaissance, including the Sistine Chapel, Niccoline Chapel, Raphael’s Room, and more.

Start the Tour

2. Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China virtual tour

The Great Wall is often regarded as a wonder of the world, making it a prime tourist attraction. By taking the tour online, you can skip the crowds and still experience the incredible view and Chinese history.

Start the Tour

3. Louvre

Travel to the Louvre from home

The Louvre, located in Paris, is the largest art museum in the world. Three of the museum’s top exhibits are available online.

Start the Tour

4. Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal virtual tour

This ivory marble mausoleum in India is one of the most famous buildings in the world. Emperor Shah Jahan had it built in 1632 for his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Start the Tour

5. Ellis Island

Ellis Island

The virtual tour of Ellis Island is a great choice if you have ancestors who immigrated to the United States. The immigration station processed over 12 million immigrants as they entered the country.

Start the Tour

6. British Museum

British Museum virtual tour

With online exhibits from the British Museum in London, dive into the fascinating history of famous world artifacts such as Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone.

Start the Tour

7. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza

Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza painting

Home to the second-largest private collection of art in the world, this Spanish museum holds some of the greatest pieces and names of almost every artistic period.

Start the Tour

8. Carlsbad Caverns

Travel to Carlsbad Caverns from home

Dive into an exploration of Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, in the United States. You’ll get the chance to see deep caverns filled with unique and awe-inspiring rock formations that were formed when the limestone was dissolved by sulfuric acid. 

Start the Tour

9. National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City

National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City

As the largest museum in Mexico, the National Museum of Anthropology is home to significant artifacts from pre-Columbian Mexican heritage. If you have ancestors from Mexico, this tour will help you understand the history of Mexico and the Aztec and Mayan people.

Start the Tour

10. African Safari

African Safari - Visit the safari from home using a virtual tour

African safaris are some of the best ways to appreciate African wildlife and heritage. These 360-degree video tours bring that experience into your home.

Start the Tour

11. Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

The world’s largest and most famous coral reef covers an area of over 344,000 square kilometers (133,000 square miles) off the coast of Australia. Take the interactive journey online to dive in.

Start the Tour

12. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea

The contemporary art museum in Seoul also contains international art from different periods, and it is worth looking in to see the impressive collection.

Start the Tour

13. Hang Son Doong

Hang Son Doong

The world’s biggest cave is located in Vietnam. Don’t fret—National Geographic has a 360-degree virtual tour available for free online.

Start the Tour

14. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

If you are unable to make it to Washington, D.C., to see the Smithsonian, it has a complete virtual tour that allows you to click through and see the entirety of the museum. 

Start the Tour

15. Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Tour the iconic British palace with all its ornate details, including the grand staircase, throne room, white drawing room, and more. It is a significant site for anyone with British ancestors.

Start the Tour

16. Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

The magnificent gardens outside the Palace of Versailles in France have been meticulously kept since 1661, when they were renovated by André le Nôtre by order of King Louis XIV. Walk through online to enjoy the impressive feat.

Start the Tour

17. Acropolis


The ancient citadel in Athens is famous for its significant historical remains, particularly the Parthenon.

View Live Cams

18. Metropolitan Opera

Metropolitan Opera

While this one isn’t a tour, it’s still a way to experience world travel from home. The Metropolitan Opera in New York City is streaming some of their best shows nightly at 7:30 p.m. (eastern time).

Visit the Website

19. Create Your Own Virtual Tour

With the help of Google Maps or Google Earth, you can explore almost any location in the world. If you need ideas of places to visit, use the opportunity to virtually explore the places of your heritage. Traveling to understand the past and particularly your ancestors will help you gain a connection to your heritage and a sense of your roots.

First, choose a destination and create a list of significant sites you would like to see. Once you have a list of places, use Google Earth or Google Maps to search for the places you chose and see real images of them. Using these tools, you can wander through places as if you were actually there and walking through them.

As long as you have access to the internet, you have access to the world. No matter what is keeping you at home, there is a wealth of information, images, and virtual tours available online that makes it possible for you to travel from home. 

Feeling the Blessings of the Temple at Home

2020. március 27., péntek 17:00:00

As temples around the world close temporarily for public health reasons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints look forward to renewed  opportunities to worship and serve in these sacred buildings. They also look forward with great anticipation to feeling the family connection that comes from serving in temples on behalf of deceased ancestors.

Here at FamilySearch, we focus on the joy and sense of purpose that come from connecting families across generations. You can have those feelings within the walls of your own home! Below are several ideas for individuals, couples, families with children, and multigenerational families. Some require technology; others require just time and attention.

A family smiles and makes memories together.

1. Build meaningful memories with loved ones.

As each of us experiences an unprecedented and unpredictable era, we are making history. Live these days deliberately; you’ll likely always remember how you felt and what you did during this time. Focus on the people who matter most. Be creative about ways to strengthen relationships, express love, and laugh—don’t simply pass the time.

If you aren’t able to be with loved ones personally, use technology to stay connected. Texting and messaging services make it easy to let others know you’re thinking of them. Use video platforms such as Skype, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, or others to have more frequent face-to-face conversations with special loved ones. Host a virtual reunion with small groups of relatives, such as your siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, or cousins.

a woman writes in a journal.

2. Write your own story.

Your memories, opinions, and experiences are all unique—and they all matter. You are the only person who can write them with complete authority. Thinking about and compiling your memories can lead to better emotional health and to recognizing the Lord’s hand in your life.

Writing (and perhaps rewriting) your personal history helps build resilience in yourself. Don’t wait until you are older to write your stories; your memories of earlier years will be more accurate and vibrant if you write them now. As the saying goes, “The faintest ink is brighter than the clearest mental memory.”

Can’t think what to write about? Try memory-jogging strategies. Pull out an old photo album, scrapbook, or box of memorabilia. (If you don’t have these, look through your camera roll or social media feeds.) Listen to old songs that bring back memories.

Think about the most important people and experiences in your past and how they shaped you. Reflect on previous seasons of change or upheaval and how you grew. Still need ideas? Try these prompts from Record My Story.

a family exchanges stories

3. Swap stories with loved ones and friends.

Storytelling to pass the time and strengthen relationships is a timeliness activity across many cultures. Exchange life stories with loved ones in person or virtually, as your circumstances permit. Telling a story is great practice for writing it (and vice versa)!

Invite children to listen and participate; they need to know their stories matter too. Just allow them to tell their stories in their own ways. With permission from participants, consider recording the audio of these conversations with your phone and sharing the file with each person.

You may also want to conduct more formal oral history interviews with older loved ones. After all, if you don’t preserve your family’s most precious memories, those memories will fade within three generations. Can’t think of questions to ask? #52Stories for Families offers a list of conversation-starting questions. So does this list of questions to ask your grandparents! This tutorial on using FamilySearch apps to record oral histories offers great getting-started tips.

a woman shares stories with her daughter.

4. Share and preserve family photos and documents.

Images are powerful records, both historically and emotionally. Find your family photo albums, boxes of old pictures or digitized images you may have stashed away. What do you know about them? Enjoy reminiscing—with a loved one, if possible. Enlist older children and youth to help organize and digitize your photos, following these tips for safe preservation.

Other descendants may appreciate seeing your old family photos too. Upload the photos to the FamilySearch Family Tree using FamilySearch apps, and attach them to the profile pages of your ancestors. Don’t forget to tag relatives and add captions. While you’re there, consider choosing portrait photos for your ancestors’ pages and thanking others who have contributed images.

Just for fun, compare your face to your ancestors’ pictures to see which ones you may resemble.

two people on the familysearch app

5. Explore your tree.

What discoveries await you on the FamilySearch Family Tree? To find out, add yourself and your living relatives to the Tree. Then start exploring! Travel up each branch of your tree as far as you can. Where did each line come from? Do you notice any naming patterns? Can you find anyone who lived in an interesting time or place?

Experiment with looking at your tree from different perspectives to see what you learn. Explore the meaning of your name.

When you feel drawn to a particular ancestor or family, dig a little deeper for their stories. Look at the records that have been attached to their pages. Take a virtual tour of the places they lived. Learning more about the experiences of your relatives can strengthen and inspire you.

As you discover meaningful stories, tell others. Share the stories on a blog or on social media. Consider including comments about why these stories matter to you.

a woman on a computer

6. Help build the world’s family tree.

While exploring the FamilySearch Family Tree, you may notice erroneous information, missing ancestors, and ancestral profiles with minimal information. More than 5 million people have contributed to this tree—it’s the largest shared family tree in the world—and it’s inevitable that incorrect or outdated information may appear. Don’t worry! This is a work in progress, and you can help improve contributed data.

Add what you know about your family to the Tree, and attach any related evidence, such as document images. Correct erroneous information, and review record hints to see if they pertain to your ancestor. Record hints often add more information about a person or family. You can also merge duplicate profile pages.

Finally, help the Family Tree continue to grow—and catch fascinating glimpses into history—by participating in record indexing.

Although times may be tumultuous, remember the Savior’s invitation to “be still.” If we ensure that our focus is on Christ and on service to others on both sides of the veil, we will feel the peace and blessings that the temple brings—no matter where we are.

A Family Volunteers from Home—and Reaps Surprising Benefits

2020. március 27., péntek 0:00:00

This extended family is working from home to help make the world’s historical records more available. In the process, they are connecting with each other and drawing strength from the past.

Like millions of people around the world, the extended Greenway family is sequestered at their homes. Coronavirus has not yet touched them personally. Rather, they have been social distancing to protect themselves and others.

During this time when most social events are discouraged, and especially with children at home, the family has been looking for meaningful ways to pass the time and stay connected.

They’ve found one. From their homes in several parts of the United States, the Greenways are working toward a joint goal to transcribe at least 2,000 names from FamilySearch’s collection of free, digitized historical records. These transcriptions help others who are trying to learn more about their family history.

Three generations of Greenways have taken up the cause. It’s already proved so rewarding that several family members plan to continue indexing even after normal routines resume. Here’s how they got started, what results they are seeing, and how they help their children to participate.

Getting Started

Ron and Melanie Greenway live in Pennsylvania, United States, but their six grown children and 20 grandchildren are scattered around Pennsylvania, Ohio, Idaho, and Utah. Daughter Emily Greenway Richins recently proposed that their family collaborate on a joint goal of indexing old records. “I’ve done this before,” she says. “If everyone contributes a little, it will add up. If we go over, awesome! I created a group home page, and we FaceTimed to get everyone an account and teach people how to do it.”

the greenway indexing group on FamilySearch
A screen capture of the Greenway family’s indexing group. Anyone can create a private indexing group to pool group efforts and encourage others.

A Teen Indexer and His Mom

Emily’s oldest son, Isaac, who is almost 14, has been one of the group’s most active participants so far. “He’s taken this by the horns! He’ll index for 45 minutes at a time. He cyber-schools, so he’s really good on the computer. He’s good at reading old handwriting too,” Emily says. “He likes indexing the ship passenger manifests; they’re in a list, and he just goes down the names. He has autism and it appeals to the organized part of his brain.”

Emily has found the process personally rewarding, too. A busy nurse and mom, she finds that indexing fills her limited downtime meaningfully. “When I would normally pick up a book or play a game on my iPad, I’ll tell myself I need to index so many names before I can do that,” she says. “Before I know it, I’ve finished four or five batches, and I have no desire to pick up my book.”

isaac richins and melanie greenway
Isaac Richins lives near his grandmother Melanie Greenway. They’re not getting together in person much now, but sharing their indexing goals still helps them feel connected.

“I’ve been indexing death records and passenger manifests,” she continued. “I see the causes of death from, say, 1895. I work in labor and delivery, and I’ve noticed a lot of childbirth and infant deaths. I think to myself, ‘She wouldn’t die from that cause nowadays,’ and I wonder how the family felt. I’ve found stowaways on the ship passenger manifests. I wonder why they stowed away.”

“My son asked me what a stowaway was,” Emily says. “It led to a great conversation about why people would have stowed away. We wouldn’t have had that conversation otherwise. For parents, it’s a good way to open up a dialogue about the challenges other people face versus what we face.”

A Project for the Whole Family

Emily’s sister-in-law in Ohio, Tanya Greenway, is a stay-at-home mom whose four children are now home all day too. Tanya loves history but is new to indexing, and she has been pleasantly surprised. “Indexing is an education it and of itself—for me, not just my kids. I’m learning geography and history. Records mention countries that don’t even exist now,” Tanya says. “I’m seeing how people spelled their names. Who knew you could have that many vowels and consonants in one name?”

She especially enjoys the stories she sees unfolding in old records. “They have become real people to me,” explains Tanya. “One man got his citizenship one day after his birthday. What a great birthday present! Today I ‘met’ a woman from Romania who was about 4 feet and 11 inches and weighed 100 pounds. She was about 20 years old and a seamstress. I could just picture this petite little seamstress. Someone’s description says he had a scar on his neck. I thought about how that might have happened, what his life must have been like.”

How are things going for her children?

family indexing on a bed
a young boy indexes on his computer
a young boy and his mom together
Images from left to right: Tanya Greenway with Madelynne and Owen; Jackson Greenway; Luke Greenway helps his mom, Tanya Greenway.
  • Madelynne, 14, had previously done some record indexing. “She helped me get set up, because I’m not good with technology. It was a great opportunity for her to teach me something,” Tanya says. “Now she works mostly independently. I don’t tell her how much to do or when—I want this to come from her. I just check on her to see what she’s working on.”
  • Jackson, age 11, “needs more of a one-on-one experience. This is new to him. I sit down with him to work in his account. He’s soaking up the one-on-one time and asking his dad to do it with him too,” Tanya says. “He tends to move quickly through things, and this requires him to be meticulous, which is good for him. He can’t read cursive, so we’re helping him choose projects with typed records rather than handwritten ones. We want him to feel competent, not frustrated.”
  • Luke, 7, is too young to have a FamilySearch account to do his own indexing, Tanya says. “He was sorely disappointed! He likes to look over my shoulder and help me decipher handwriting. We compare how the person wrote the same letter on different parts of a page. He’ll read numbers for me. He likes to try to pronounce the names.”
  • And baby Owen, just under age 2? His main job is to take his afternoon nap. “When Owen is awake, he wants to sit on my lap and snuggle while I’m typing. For him to sit still for even a minute at this age is a bonus, so I’ll take it.”

The Oldest and Youngest Volunteers

What about the Greenway grandparents? Ron is an experienced indexer who, like his daughter-in-law Tanya, enjoys the kinds of glimpses the records give him into history. He also loves when someone makes a record discovery from something he indexed and then that person sends him a thank-you message. “It’s like, wow, this meant something to someone,” he says.

Indexing was a new experience for his wife, Melanie, who doesn’t use computers often. “We went through one indexing batch, and then I had to leave the house,” says Ron. “When I came back, she had completed the project. She was excited she could pull it off. I think she’s going to continue on—she’s got time on her hands!”

anna and william greenway on a computer together
Anna Greenway gets help indexing old records from her older brother, William.

The youngest Greenway indexer is Anna, age 8, whose family also lives in Pennsylvania. Her mother, Lynn, describes how she guides Anna’s participation while ensuring that the indexing is done accurately. “We are careful to find batches that are relatively short and are typed. Sometimes I will return a few batches [of records] before I find one that works. Then we usually play find-and-seek with the document. She’ll hunt through it to find the birthdate or event place, and then we’ll type it in. I’m usually the one that helps her, but sometimes her older brother, William (age 12), helps too.”

Seeing the Bigger Picture

The Greenways set up their family challenge as a competition. “It’s not about the numbers,” says Tanya, “But for some of the younger family members, being in friendly competition with their cousins is motivating. If you want a tip for getting a lot of names quickly, passenger lists can do it!”

“It’s fun to talk to my grandchildren about it,” says Ron. “And when the cousins talk to each other, they up their enthusiasm. Someone suggested having a prize. We may end up giving out lots of little prizes. The fact that we’re doing this project as a family is the most exciting thing to me.”

Emily sees this project as incredibly timely. “Right now, our challenge is the pandemic. Indexing old records lets us see our challenges in perspective. The world was crazy and chaotic back then too. Everyone’s always had difficult times; their difficult times were just different. We can still learn a lot from them. They got through it, and so will we.”

Experience for yourself the benefits of indexing old records. Better yet, invite others to do the same in a private indexing group!

Northern Ireland History and Culture

2020. március 25., szerda 22:00:00

Northern Ireland is a unique part of the world known for its natural beauty. Filmmakers and novelists alike have been inspired by its ever-changing climate and lush landscape. In fact, it’s believed that Cave Hill in Northern Ireland gave Jonathan Swift the idea for a sleeping giant in his book Gulliver’s Travels.

If you have heritage from Northern Ireland, then you are in good company. Athletes, actors, actresses, singers, inventors, and even three United States presidents have roots that go back to the hills and beaches of this beautiful country. Discovering more about your Northern Ireland ancestors can help you uncover more about yourself.

History of Northern Ireland

The history of Northern Ireland is deep and rich. Over the centuries, the island of Ireland was involved in the power struggles between rulers and religions that were commonplace in Europe during the Reformation period. The planting of Scottish and English families into the Ulster area during the 17th and 18th centuries created a population divided along religious lines, which led to further conflicts.

a historic photo of Northern Ireland.

The Irish War of Independence (1919 to 1921) concluded by the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, creating the Irish Free State, now the Republic of Ireland, which Northern Ireland was allowed to opt out of. Northern Ireland immediately chose to do just that, making it one of the four countries in the United Kingdom.

Culture of Northern Ireland

Much of Northern Ireland’s holidays, culture, and everyday life is centered around its Roman Catholic and Protestant roots. Many families hold traditional expectations and standards of behavior based on their beliefs.

Daily life is also influenced by the agricultural and manufacturing economy. Northern Ireland’s rich soil makes for quality farmland and livestock. Since the Industrial Revolution, this country has also become known for a variety of different industries, including textile, shipbuilding, and engineering, resulting in population movement to the cities.

a woman in northern ireland with a cow.

Despite the inner conflicts that arise, Northern Ireland is known for its strong national identity. Because of the political history of Northern Ireland, many residents consider themselves as distinct from both the English and the Irish, although they may still consider themselves connected to their compatriots in the Republic of Ireland or the United Kingdom.

If your ancestors come from Northern Ireland, FamilySearch can help you learn more about them. Discover their lives through FamilySearch’s record collections—or discover who they were personally in FamilySearch Memories.

Helper Resources: The Go-to Page for Helping with Family History

2020. március 25., szerda 4:55:00

Do you know where to find resources for helping others with temple and family history?

Helper Resources is a FamilySearch web page created for those with temple and family history callings—and anyone else wishing to help others with family history. It has training, tools, and information about updates that you can use to help others discover ancestors and connect with their family.

At Helper Resources, you’ll find everything you need to create fun, inspiring, personalized family history experiences and learn about your calling.

To access Helper Resources from the FamilySearch site, in the top right corner of the screen, click Help. Then click Helper Resources, and sign in.

Screenshot of help menu on

What You Can Find on Helper Resources

  • Articles on temple and family history for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Calling information and how-to content.
  • Access to the Planner—your primary aid for creating personalized family history experiences.
  • Information on newly released updates to the FamilySearch website and apps.
  • A link to the FamilySearch Community, where people ask questions and find answers to common challenges.
  • A link to Easy Invitations, a new feature that identifies temple and family history opportunities you can share with members of your ward.
  • Family history videos, links to Church policy, instruction and inspiration from Church leaders, and more!

The Planner

The Planner is located on the right side of the screen. Your name appears in bold, near the top. Click your name, and you can enter the Planner for yourself and begin exploring how it works.

When you are ready, click ADD SOMEONE to request permission to use the Planner on behalf of that person. His or her name will then appear in the list titled “People You Are Helping.” Once that person accepts your request, you can click the name to begin helping.  

Easy Invitations

Easy Invitations enables you to quickly find meaningful temple and family history experiences for the people in your ward. To use it, first click the Easy Invitations link. When you do, you see a list of all of the people in your ward. To the right of each person’s name is a small icon indicating the type of temple and family history experiences available for that person at To the left is a link, which you can copy and send.

It’s that simple. Find the person’s name. See what experiences are available. Copy the link and send it to the person! The people you share with will likely still need some guidance, especially if it is their first time completing available experiences. Pointing them in the right direction has definitely never been easier.

Screenshot of updated consultant planner.

Our goal is to give you one place to go to find helpful information, tools, and other resources you can use to successfully help others with their temple and family history goals. It is important to remember, however, that although FamilySearch’s helper resource section can give you a great deal of information, your best tool in family history is the Holy Ghost. Remember to rely on the Spirit in the work you do, both for yourself and for others.

The information on Helper Resources is updated regularly. Visit the page often to make sure you don’t miss anything!

33 Productive Things You Can Do at Home

2020. március 24., kedd 0:00:00

Staying in the house can quickly start to feel repetitive or mundane. When you find productive things to do at home and you’re purposeful with your time, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish!

If global or local circumstances require you to remain at home right now, you may be struggling with changes to your routine. Regardless of whether the reasons for your home confinement are health- or economic-related, here’s a list of productive things you can do at home to make the most of your time.

 Even when conditions improve and normal routines resume, keep these ideas on hand! They make great down-time activities for anyone, anytime.

1. Go for a daily walk.

Crowds and public spaces may be off-limits, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck inside. In fact, there are many reasons to spend time outdoors, if you can. Find a safe outdoor space, such as your neighborhood or backyard, and get out in the sun every day.

a girl goes on a walk outside her home, a productive activity

2. Schedule your days. 

If you’re finding that your days feel aimless, try creating a daily schedule. Setting aside time for designated activities will help you stay on top of your tasks and be productive. 

3. Record your story. 

Everyone has a story to tell, including you! With your free FamilySearch account, check out these prompts to help you start writing your stories. 

the all about me page on Familysearch

4. Do some spring cleaning.

This is the perfect time to do some spring cleaning! Organizing the clutter can make your home a more positive space.

5. Start your family tree.

Follow these easy guides on how to use Family Tree as you start your journey into your family’s history. Exploring your history will help you feel connected to your past and your family.

If you’re already connected to the Family Tree, try exploring record hints to find more of your family.

a girl works on her family history at home.

6. Learn a new skill.

Use the time to develop your skills. You might learn something that will boost your résumé or pick up a hobby you’ve always wanted to try. 

7. Plan your dream vacation.

While now is not the time to travel, it’s a great time to start planning. To get the ideas rolling, have you ever looked into heritage tourism?

8. Revisit your New Year’s resolutions. 

A lot has happened since 2020 started. If your New Year’s resolutions are gathering dust in the corner, reignite your drive and work on those goals.

9. Start exercising at home.

Whether you’re looking for a replacement for your gym outings or starting from scratch, establishing an exercise routine will help you stay healthy and positive.

a man is productive by exercising at home

10. Find a way to serve.

Look for ways to help the people around you. You might bring groceries to someone at risk (older adults or adults with health conditions) or help someone set up a home office. Just stay safe and avoid others if you or they aren’t feeling well.

a woman is productive by serving others.

11. Create a master résumé.

A master résumé can be an invaluable tool to have on hand. Essentially, it’s a complete record of your marketable skills and experience, a resource to help you create targeted résumés when you’re ready to apply for a specific job. 

12. Discover your roots.

If you’re connected to the FamilySearch Family Tree, try the Where Am I From? tool to explore your roots.

the where am I from feature on familysearch

13. Satisfy your curiosity.

If you’re looking for things to do when you’re bored at home, it’s the perfect time to soak in some of the information the internet has to offer. For example, learn what your name means, or discover the history behind Frozen.

14. Start a garden.

Start planning your backyard garden. Research plants that do well in your area, find the perfect spot in your yard, and prepare the area. While you may need to wait out a quarantine to get some of the supplies, you can get a lot of the initial work out of the way!

a boy gardens

15. Read a book.

While you’re stuck at home, reading can transport you to another world filled with adventure, not to mention the benefits reading can have for you.

16. Learn how to cook something new. 

Explore new foods from around the world and stretch your cooking muscles simultaneously. You never know—you might find your new go-to dish.

a family cooks in their home

17. Meditate.

Meditating could be a way to help the stress of the current situation melt away. You never know until you try!

18. Bond with your family.

This time at home provides the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your family or your roommates. Be creative, and try new ways to connect.

a family bonds together at home

19. Brush up on neglected hobbies.

If it’s been ages since you’ve painted, played the piano, or stretched those writing muscles, there’s no better time than the present to pick up your hobbies where you left off.

20. Learn a language.

With the help of the internet, the world is more and more interconnected. Becoming multilingual can be a huge asset to your career or as you travel and interact with new people. It can also make it possible to enjoy new shows or books.

21. Preserve family memories.

Share family memories with your family, or explore the stories and photos your family has shared. Saving these precious memories now can serve as a powerful reminder in years to come.

a family looks through their photo album

22. Explore this list of in-home activities.

These easy in-home activities could provide some much-needed variety as you try to find productive things to do at home. This list also provides some fun ideas.

23. Find a new podcast.

There are podcasts on pretty much any topic, so find something you’re interested in, and jump right in!

24. Index historical records.

Recording information from historic documents can make them searchable online and help people find information about their families. Try it for yourself.

a woman indexes, a productive activity at home

25. Network.

Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t network. Find new connections on LinkedIn, or send a simple email or text to people you know to see how they’re doing with all the shutdowns.

26. Clean up your computer.

Admit it—there’s some unnecessary clutter on your computer or phone. Organize those emails or files, delete unnecessary apps, and make it easy to find what you need when you need it.

27. Write in a journal.

Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts or ideas out there, and it can help you stay stress-free.

a woman journals at her desk

28. Play games.

Card games and board games will help relieve that boredom and help you enjoy the extra time you have with your family. It might not seem like much, but it will help you all become closer!

29. Learn about your family name.

Discover where your last name comes from, and take a photo of yourself in traditional clothing from that region. It’s one way to have fun while learning about your family heritage.

the all about me feature on familysearch

30. Find opportunities to work from home.

If you’re unable to continue your work from home, find ways to earn extra income during the time off. Freelance websites can help you look for temporary work online.

A word to the wise—if any opportunity asks you to pay first, it is probably not a good option.

31. See which ancestors you look most like.

If you’re connected to the FamilySearch Family Tree, try Compare-a-Face to see who in your family tree shares your good looks. You can also use this activity to find your doppelgänger using any photo you upload.

the compare a face feature on familysearch

32. Send cards and letters.

Mail off cards and letters to family and friends to brighten their days at home. Getting mail is a quick way to make anyone’s day better.

a girl writes a letter

33. Take inventory of your belongings.

Take pictures and make lists of everything you have. This list might save you a huge headache if you ever need it for insurance purposes. Update the list every six months to avoid the hassle of starting over down the line.

Hopefully this list helps you find a way to be productive at home. In these times of uncertainty, remember that there are still things you can do to make good use of your time, contribute to your community, and support your family. If we all band together, we can collectively make a difference.

Share your stories and ideas below. How have you used your time at home?

Connect While Social Distancing: Join the FamilySearch Live Community

2020. március 23., hétfő 14:56:19

“We wish you peace and joy as you connect with those closest to you. We remain committed to helping you discover your story.” —Steve Rockwood, FamilySearch CEO

We at FamilySearch are excited to share an upcoming new live social media series. This series will be an opportunity for the family history community to connect virtually and interact while many are practicing social distancing, quarantining, or even self-isolating.

Why a Social Media Series?

“Our stories matter. They are one of the richest parts of family history. Sharing these stories can provide comfort to us and to future generations as they face their own struggles.” —Steve Rockwood

Family history is for everyone, every day. It is just as important for us to take part fully in recording our stories as it is to discover those people who came before us. This evolving series is meant to help you do both of those things.

What Will the Series Include?

Girl on phone on couch

The series will include questions and answers, beginner how-tos, record helps, FamilySearch and Family Tree app tips, family stories, and more! We hope that in creating this series, we will be able to help you find quick ways to stay involved with family history without adding any burden.

We want to point out ways that you are already succeeding and give a few tips along the way that can help you make the most of this unprecedented time. We hope to help you find new ways to record YOUR story, find inspiring stories of others in your family tree, and share inspiring and encouraging messages along the way.

When Does It Start?

This series will begin this week with our first Instagram live event on Tuesday, March 24, at 11:00 a.m. (mountain time), and an Instagram live event on Thursday, March 26, at 11:00 a.m. (also mountain time). There will also be a Facebook live event on Wednesday, April 1, at 4:00 p.m..  

Instagram live events will continue on each Tuesday and Thursday and the Facebook live events will continue each Wednesday at the same times while we endure the social limitations relating to COVID-19.

How Can I Participate?

Man on phone on couch

Follow us on Instagram @FamilySearch and on Facebook ( to receive notifications and reminders. Share your thoughts and experience with the series by using the hashtag #FamilySearchLive when you post!

To view the Instagram Live, follow these steps.

On mobile: 

  1. Open the Instagram app and go to the FamilySearch page. You can find the FamilySearch page by clicking on the magnifying glass icon (bottom-left corner) and typing “FamilySearch” into the search bar that appears.
  2. Once at the FamilySearch page, click on the FamilySearch profile picture in the top-left corner to view current or past Instagram Lives for up to 24 hours after the stream. (If given the option to view the story or live, select live.)
  3. Alternatively, you can view current or past Instagram Lives by tapping on the IGTV icon (a square TV with a squiggle through the center), which you can find below the profile description and above the Instagram feed.

On Desktop:

(Note: You can only view live Instagram streams on the mobile app, but the recordings will be uploaded and available via desktop. To access them, follow the instructions below.)

  1. Go to and then use the search-bar at the top of the screen to go to the FamilySearch page.
  2. Similar to mobile, either click on the profile picture or select the IGTV icon to watch past Instagram Lives.

Also, be sure to let us know in the comments how we can help you during this time. We would especially like to hear your responses to these sorts of questions: 

●      We are here to support you. What questions do you have for us?

●      How can we help you while you are home?

●      What would you like to learn during this unprecedented time?

●      What questions do you have about the Family Tree or Memories apps?

We hope to grow along with you in innovative ways as we discover, gather, and connect wherever we may be. We are grateful for the technology we have that makes such discoveries and connections possible in almost every circumstance. 

Why Is the Census Important?

2020. március 21., szombat 19:01:00

A census is an important record that societies use to make effective decisions. Censuses influence policies that impact the everyday lives of real people, including decisions made in education, transportation, health, housing, and even environmental preservation.

But the significance of censuses goes beyond that—censuses can help you piece together your family story. After all, each census entry is a story: a new birth in the family, a tragic loss since the last census, a location or occupation that shaped a family or an individual’s entire life. (Here’s how you can use U.S. census records for family research.)

What the 2020 Census Can Do for You

girl on the bus. the census affects transportation.

Although 2020 census will be a significant record for your future family, it also provides immediate benefits. The 2020 census gives officials and businesses an accurate idea of the lay of the land and needs of the people. Through this knowledge, officials can know how better to serve the community and provide benefits, including the following:

  • Better sanitation.
  • Businesses that fill a need in a community.
  • Effective transportation.
  • Money allocated to the right areas.
  • Schools and hospitals built and maintained.
  • Construction for needed highways.
  • Organized housing districts.

How to Participate in the Census

A boy and girl fill out the census via the phone.

This year, every household in the United States will get an invitation to participate in the census. You can respond to the census in various ways, depending on what you feel most comfortable with:

Record-keeping and storytelling have always been important, whether it was by scrawling on a cave wall, writing on a scroll, or singing out loud through generations. A census is one way to keep a record of our own story as a society.

FamilySearch’s work in genealogy has made us especially grateful for those who took advantage of the census in the past. By participating in the 2020 census, you can add to that legacy.

4 Historical Records about Early Members of the Church

2020. március 21., szombat 0:00:00

The bicentennial of the First Vision and the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is currently underway! A variety of resources—including the Joseph Smith Papers, Saints, gospel essays, and podcasts—can help you understand the magnificent events of that time period.

But have you ever tried your hand at primary research? Among other things, primary research includes reading historical documents, observing details that stick out to you, and drawing your own conclusions.

Sometimes just seeing a person’s name on a census or tax record can be a powerful experience—evidence that this person you have read or heard so much about actually lived—that he or she was a real-life human being, just like you.

FamilySearch has a host of historical records that can help you in your research. Here are just a few records and what they can tell you about early members of the Church.

A Busy Town Called Kirtland

Consider, for example, an 1838 tax record for Kirtland, Ohio, a town several hundred miles east and south of Palmyra, New York. Joseph and Emma moved there shortly after the Church was organized.

1838 tax record for Kirtland, Ohio,

Take a look at the record. It shows that two men in Kirtland owned tracts of land larger than 100 acres. Several others owned parcels in the range of 25–50 acres. The prophet, by contrast, is listed as owning a single lot, three-fourths of an acre. His wife, Emma, is listed as owning 8 acres. Both Eliza and Lorenzo Snow are listed as owning property, as is Joseph Smith Sr., the prophet’s father.

Many of the Saints in Kirtland were poor, but they worked together to build their community and, eventually, a temple. “With very little capital,” Eliza later wrote, “except brain, bone and sinew, combined with unwavering trust in God, men, women, and even children, worked with their might.”

18-Person Household

Another interesting record to consider might be this United States census for the city of Nauvoo for the year 1840, which, like the record above, lists the prophet and several members of his family.

United States census for the city of Nauvoo

The census lists the head of every household in Nauvoo, followed by the number of people living with that person. If you look at the record closely, the prophet’s brother Hyrum appears on the census as the head of a household of 13.

Joseph, on the other hand, is listed as being head to a household of 18, a tally that must have included his wife, Emma, their children, and any servants, neighbors, or hired hands living with them at the time the census was taken. One can imagine what a busy home this must have been!

A Round Chin and an Oval Face

You won’t find many photographs in historical records from the 1800s. But in some cases—if you read carefully—you might discover a description of what a person looked like. Consider Eliza Snow’s 1872 passport application. In addition to providing her age (68), Eliza states that she is five feet, four inches tall; that she has brown eyes, a small mouth, and an oval-shaped face; that her chin is round and her hair black—among other details!

Eliza Snow’s 1872 passport application

Connecting the Dots

The marriage record of Oliver Cowdery, one of the Book of Mormon’s Three Witnesses, is another interesting document.

As the handwritten certificate shows, in 1832, Oliver married Elizabeth Ann Whitmer, sister to David Whitmer. This is the same David Whitmer whose name also appears at the front of the Book of Mormon as one of the Three Witnesses.

marriage record of Oliver Cowdery

In June 1829, an angel showed Oliver and David the gold plates, the sword of Laban, and the Urim and Thumim, one of the instruments used to translate the Book of Mormon.

The triangle would be complete if we could say that Oliver and Elizabeth were married by Martin Harris, the third of the Three Witnesses, but, no, they were married by Parley P. Pratt, one of the restored Church’s original Twelve Apostles.

Discoveries Are Waiting

With more than four billion images (and counting) to search, there’s no limit to what you can discover in FamilySearch’s vast repository of online, historical images. This is primary research at its best—remarkable, surprising, unpredictable, and most of all, fun! Your observations may not be earth-shattering, but these little details stick in your mind and make the heroic men and women of Church history easier to imagine and easier to relate to.

Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself an experienced researcher or genealogist. There’s no right or wrong way to do things. Just pick a name from the past, someone you admire, enter your search terms (try a general research site such as Wikipedia for birth and death dates of famous people), and click Search.

11+ Family Activities That Bring You Closer Together

2020. március 20., péntek 18:16:46

Creating lasting memories doesn’t require tons of props or preplanning. In fact, some of the best family activities are just a couple clicks away!

Try some of these fun, easy activities to bring the whole family together, even those who may be far away. Whether online or in person, you can use these simple activities to create family memories and connect with family members in meaningful ways.

Note: Some of these activities may prompt you to log in to your FamilySearch account to better interact with your family tree. If needed, click here to create a new account on FamilySearch. It’s free!

Discover Your Name Meaning

Surname experience screenshot

Discover the meaning and origin of your surname. You can also view what countries your surname is most likely to be found in.

Join FamilySearch Live

Mom with baby

Tune into FamilySearch’s upcoming new live social media series for beginner how-tos, record helps,  Family Tree app tips, and more!

Find Your

Two young brothers who look similar to eachother

Compare-a-Face lets you upload photos and see how similar you and your family members look. You can finally settle who looks more like Mom or Dad!

Map Where You Came From

Where Am I From screenshot of a map

Where Am I From lets you map where your ancestors lived, see where they were during major world events, and learn more about your heritage.

Try on Traditional Clothing

Picture My Heritage screenshot

Picture My Heritage lets you virtually wear the traditional clothing of your heritage. You can also see yourself in old, black and white photos.

Go on a Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Mother and daughter looks at computer together while doing an activity

Search your surname and see if you can find family members’ names in books on our digital library. You can also search historical records.

Record Your Family Story

Screenshot of Record Your Story on FamilySearch

Record Your Story will prompt you with questions about your family and personal history. You can also use our 52-questions template to begin writing your family story.

Learn about Your Heritage

Man plays bagpipe outside

Learn about the culture, heritage, and history of where you came from using FamilySearch’s country pages. Don’t know what your heritage is? Here’s how you can find out.

Give Grandma
a Call

Grandparents on the phone together

Call your grandparents, and ask them about their lives. We’ve provided 20 questions to help get you started. Be sure to save their story in a safe place, such as in FamilySearch Memories.

Watch RootsTech Classes

Steve Rockwood at RootsTech

Round up your family, and watch incredible motivational speakers talk about the importance of family.

Try Traditional Recipes

world cuisine you can eat with your family

Cooking together is a wonderful way to connect to family, especially if the food you are making relates to your heritage.

Explore More In-Home Activities

Screenshot of in-home family activities

You can find more in-person, at-home family activity ideas on the FamilySearch In-Home Activities page.

Learn Facts About Your Birthday

All About Me screenshot

All about Me will tell you fun facts about the year you were born, such as how expensive gas was, the top music of the year, and other cool facts.

Still looking for more ideas? Check out our list of productive things you can do while at home that the whole family can enjoy.

We’d love to hear about your experience with these family activities! Share your experience online with the hashtag #FamilySearchTogether or comment below.

Experiencing World Cuisines and Your Food Heritage

2020. március 20., péntek 1:00:00

World cuisines are one of the best ways to connect with others and to experience world cultures. Traditional food opens a window into the lifestyle of any given place. It tells a story of the people who lived there, its climate, the local flora and fauna, and the economy—just to name a few. 

Local ingredients and cooking techniques create a unique food profile distinctive to each area. Taking it even further, the customs around actually eatingthe food are integral to the culture. 

As Travlinmad puts it, “That’s the beauty of it. In Italy, food is life. Food is love.” The best part? It’s true no matter where you are or where you go.

Embrace Your Food Heritage

Food can be a powerful connector. It involves all the senses, provides a gathering time for families, and carries the history and love of togetherness with it.

The foods you eat also say a lot about you and your cultural heritage. But did you know that they might also hint at your ancestry? 

a woman makes a type of world cuisine bread.

You may have cooking techniques that have been passed down in your family for generations. Or you could be making the same traditional foods as your ancestors. Perhaps you’re experimenting with cooking for the first time.

Whatever the case, food is an important part of your personal story. Share your family recipes or favorite cooking tips with your family, or save them for yourself.

Experience World Cuisines through International Recipes

Experience exciting world cuisines right in your kitchen with these international recipes. From Swedish meatballs to Brazilian pork and beans, these foods are some of the best the world has to offer.

Brazilian Recipes

a brazilian family eats together--one example of world cuisine

Famous for its meats, rice, beans, and much more

Finnish Recipes

a young boy eats traditional finnish food.

Wild berries and local grains at its heart

Norwegian Recipes

A norwegian family eats a meal.

Raw ingredients and local wilderness

Danish Recipes

two women eat danish food

Home of stewed meats and rye bread

Mexican Recipes

Women making Tortillas. Group of smiling cooks preparing flat br

The heart of Mexican culture, with corn as its staple

Swedish Recipes

a hand cuts into a swedish pancake, a world cuisine

Famous for Swedish meatballs, with much more to offer

English Recipes

an english family cooks cuisine together.

Yorkshire pudding, fish and chips, and more

Northern Irish Recipes

a Northern Irish woman enjoys a meal.

Simple spices and hearty cooking

Welsh Recipes

a welsh family eats dinner together.

Representative of farm life, with meats, cheese, and vegetables

Enjoy World Cuisines at Home or Abroad

Food is an integral part of every culture. Whether you’re traveling to learn about your cultural heritage or you’re looking for ways at home to experience a new culture, be sure to make food part of the journey. Push yourself to try new foods—they may help you understand your heritage a little better! 

Share your experiences and favorite foods to keep your family’s memories alive, and inspire others to do the same.