You and your youth never need to run out of good ideas to keep the Sabbath Day Holy. Family History is so easy to do now – if you know where to start. Start with these ideas listed in order generally from easiest to hardest. Even people whose great-aunt Margaret “has done it all” are sure to find some new names to take to the temple!
I’ll show you how easy it is to find new names even on a family tree like that.
#1 – Sign up for a Family Search account
Or if you already have a lds.org account, you can use that.
- Go to https://www.familysearch.org
- Click on “Free Account”
- Fill out your name, username and a password
- Then email or mobile number
- Personal information and choose “Yes” that you are a member
- They will ask for your member number. If you have a temple recommend, it’s right on your recommend – even youth. Or the parent can log in to lds.org, go to the directory and under each child’s name, it says: “Show record number.”
#2 – Look for “Opportunities”
The best place to look is usually the most obvious. FamilySearch has a built-in “Temple Opportunities” tool to help Church members identify direct ancestors within five generations who need temple ordinances.
After signing in to FamilySearch, look at the top navigation. Choices include “Family Tree,” “Memories,” “Search,” “Indexing,” and “Temple.” If “Temple” has a red star next to it, the system has identified temple opportunities. Click “Temple,” then click the green arrow next to the temple icon to reserve ordinances for an individual. If you need help, use this page.
Note that you should always check for possible duplicates before completing temple work for an ancestor.
#3 – Hints on Family Search Home Page
Go through all the “Recommend Tasks” on the right side of your Family Search homepage. Please click here for a detailed post with images on how to go through the hints.
#4 – Find hints Yourself in your Tree
Start clicking around in your tree and look for any people with any hint icons. If you find any, investigate them. Verifying information and correcting bad information not only makes FamilySearch more accurate, you may get lucky and find some names for the temple. See attachment #2
#5 – Take a Name LDS Family History App on IOS or Android
Sign in with your FamilySearch account
It then scans your FamilySearch file and tries to find names that need ordinances.
Pick a name then go to FamilySearch/Tree/Tree/Find by ID and Type in the ID of the person
Thoroughly investigate the person and make sure all their information is correct. If it’s not, fix it. If it is, click the ordinance tab and reserve the ordinances.
Things to investigate:
- Is it a duplicate? Check the parents and see if there is more than one child listed with the same parents. Check for duplicates right on the individual’s page.
- Research any hints.
- Search on both FamilySearch and Ancestry.com using the links on the right side of the page for more records for the person.
- Check all the sources and see if they match the information on the page.
- Does everything make sense? Do the dates, places, ages, etc. make sense with the other people they are related to?
Always try to find as much information as possible about the person before you reserve the name.
What was our experience?
We tried on my husband’s account. It took over half an hour and searched 14,518 names and found 42 ordinances.
The first one I looked up is a duplicate. The original one had the ordinances done in 1952, so definitely don’t just go and reserve names. But it’s a good place to find things that need to be fixed before someone else blindly goes through and reserves the name and wastes everyone’s time. But it can save you tons of time figuring out where to start (and isn’t that often the hardest part?)
#6 – Create or Get Gedcom file and Compare to Family Search
If you really want to get serious about family history, you need your own gedcom file. You can probably/hopefully get one from a family member who has already done a ton of the work for you. Why?
- You can keep a correct copy of your data in case someone messes up FamilySearch
- Gedcom is the universal file type that every family history software uses, so if you find a relative that isn’t a member or uses a different program, you can exchange names electronically easily.
- You can keep a record of living people, which you can’t do on FamilySearch
- You can write notes just for yourself of all your research for each person.
- You need a gedcom file to upload to any of family history website but FamilySearch.
- You can use it with Ancestral Quest
I LOVE Ancestral Quest! https://www.ancquest.com/index.htm It costs $29.95 and it’s amazing. You use it to compare your gedcom file to Family Search and also get hints to Ancestry.com in the same software. It’s way easier to keep track of where you are, stay organized and even submit names to the temple. I think it’s way easier to merge people in Ancestral Quest than FamilySearch. I hardly ever even actually go on FamilySearch.
There are lots of neat tools too like you can run a report and update all the ordinances that have been done since the last time you checked, print reports, see how you are related to someone, merged people, merge and compare files, do filtered searches based on lots of different filtered options.
You can even create your own, new gedcom file by syncing from FamilySearch to Ancestral Quest.
#7 – Upload or Connect to Ancestry.com and Get Hints
Every LDS member can get a FREE Ancestry.com account now. You can upload your gedcom file you created in step #6 and it will give you tons of hints. Or simply connect your Family Search account and it will import your first four generations into Ancestry.
You will find more record sources that FamilySearch may not have or may not have found and may have hints leading you to other people’s trees with common ancestors. A lot more non-LDS people use Ancestry and you will be able to connect with a lot of distant relatives.
#8 – DNA Test from Ancestry.com
I recommend having a DNA Test done. I personally think it’s best to have the oldest person in your family do it, like your grandparents. They will have the strongest DNA for their lines and will make it easier to filter through the results. This is especially valuable for lines where you are stuck, but actually could be useful to connect to distant relatives on any line.
I don’t want to be morbid, but this is something very valuable a person could leave on this earth while they are still on this earth that could help their descendants for generations to come.
#9 – Microfilm
My most valuable family history research has come from microfilm. Many of the great family history records still haven’t been digitized, especially for certain countries.
#10 – Indexing
Sure, your chances of finding your actual relative by indexing are very low, but by indexing, you are helping with the worldwide effort and helping thousands of other people find names to take to the temple. Plus, it’s fun and sometimes easy to do. If nothing else, it’s a good way to get into family history and serve other people and can be especially good for teens because you can get trained and up and running in a matter of minutes.
Other Family History Activities for Teens:
All these activities involve making FamilySearch better and focus on recent generations. FamilySearch is a way to share information with the world about your ancestors and have a permanent record that can’t be destroyed, that anyone can see and isn’t buried in a box in someone’s attic – only to be opened by a grandchild years later who has no idea what it all is and what to do with it.
Many of these activities would be perfect for personal progress and/or are wonderful ways to keep the Sabbath Day holy and get to know family members and ancestors on a more personal level. They are also perfect for the “younger” generation who really get into multimedia. They really could get creative and take photos and/or videos and put them to music with words and put them on FamilySearch and/or play them at a family reunion.
- Upload photos to FamilySearch
- Record stories and videos of grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, etc. and put on FamilySearch
- Scan or type in life stories and journals, etc.
- Visit graves on trips and take photos and put on findagrave.com and/or FamilySearch
- Go through old photos with grandparents and label them so the names, dates and places aren’t lost forever