Researching Family History: Ways to celebrate Genealogy Month this October (+video)

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

Plan a visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City to take advantage of accessing the world's largest private library and its extant archives.


October is Genealogy Month. Even though we are past mid-point of the month, it's not too late to get started or pick up on a line you are thinking about. Here are a few ways to observe Genealogy Month.

Gather items

President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has given us valuable tips on getting started. In the “Your Family History: Getting Started” (see Ensign, August 2003), he advised, “Get a cardboard box. Any kind of box will do. Put it someplace where it is in the way, anywhere it cannot go unnoticed. Then over a period of a few weeks, collect and put into the box every record of your life."

Each time you collect something, put it in the box. Accumulate all you can in the way of these important items. Types of things to gather are photos of ancestors, friends or past homes lived in; information on businesses and employers worked for; diaries or journals; and other mementos of good memories. Also, take precaution to keep these precious gems from fires, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and other acts of nature. One of the greatest rewards of research is finding photos and posting them in a scrapbook or family album.

Get inspired

It's great to start looking for your ancestors' records by watching TV shows such as "Genealogy Roadshow" on PBS and "Who Do You Think You Are?" on TLC. Check local TV programming for show times, or watch them online. Watching these can help fuel the "fire" of the work and get you moving on gathering and organizing your records, photos and mementos.

Check your online pedigree

Register for Family Tree by going to www.lds.org/topics/family-history and creating your account. This is a great way to find out where you and your ancestors fit on the family pedigree. Registration is available regardless of memberships in the LDS Church. For help on registering for this benefit, go to a local family history center or the Family History Library and receive help from friendly volunteers and knowledgeable consultants.

Get help

A trip to the LDS Church's Family History Library or any of its centers may also be in order. While there, you can receive help on accessing microfilm rolls, records, books, digitized documents, search engines and other things. Classes being offered at the library are on a variety of genealogy subjects.

There are online websites where you can find sources on your ancestors' information. The best is the new.familysearch.org website. Typing names of ancestors into the site's search engine will produce listings of different references and documents which the LDS Church has. These records include censuses, vital records, etc.

You may want to consider joining a good family history association such as the Association of Professional Genealogists. Membership is not confined to genealogists alone, but librarians, archivists and school teachers in the history fields. You can also check an organization's digitized magazine to get tips on how to go ahead with the research on your lines.

Work together

To enlist closer help, put together a family organization for you and your relatives. See what a professional organization can do to get work like this going. Ancestral Connections starts with your research and works through family file cards.

Complete temple work

Take your ancestors' names on family file cards processed through Family Tree to the temple for ordinance work. If you do not have your own cards, then help someone who does.

All these things and more help us get going on our research. Other suggestions are available, and you may be able to think of your own that will suit you best.

Have the right attitude

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