Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

RootsTech 2014 Official Blogger

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Everything you need to know about findmypast's Parish Records is one of the three huge, online, genealogical subscription database programs that are now free to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is an extremely valuable program for anyone whose ancestors came from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand or even the United States. The website regularly adds millions of new records. In addition, has a valuable blog. The latest post is entitled, "Everything you need to know about our Parish Records." As the post explains:
Parish records are those made by the church after a law passed in 1538 in England and Wales that required all baptisms, marriages and burials to be recorded in the parish register. With religion being such an integral part of daily life during this period, they can offer a fascinating window into British life from the Tudor period onwards.
Their website contains a number of helpful suggestions and tips from "Get started with your family history" to "20 Things to Do When You Are Stumped."

It is time to get busy and take advantage of this and other online resources.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Decide now to do your family history

At the recent October, 2014 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Allan F. Packer of the Seventy said, in part:
To assist members, the Church has gathered records and provided tools so that much of the work can be done in our own homes or in the ward buildings and the temple. Most obstacles have been removed. What ever your past perception, it is different now! 
However, there is one obstacle the Church cannot remove. It is an individual’s hesitation to do the work. All it requires is a decision and a little effort. It does not require a large block of time. Just a little time on a consistent basis will yield the joy of the work. Make the decision to take a step, to learn and ask others to help you. They will! The names you find and take to the temple will become the records for “the book."
Elder Packer explains his reference to "the book" earlier in his talk:
From the Doctrine and Covenants we read: “The great day of the Lord is at hand. … Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, … a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation.” See Doctrine and Covenants, Section 128:24.
One of the great tragedies that impedes the salvation of the dead, is when the individual hesitation referred to by Elder Packer involves a leader in the Ward or Stake with responsibilities to inspire, train or help the members. The printed version of Elder Packer's Conference talk from gives a footnote citation to the following statement:
There has been a renewed emphasis on family history and temple work from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.
The footnote gives us a list of the recent statements from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve:
See Thomas S. Monson, “Hastening the Work,” Ensign or Liahona,June 2014, 4–5; Henry B. Eyring, “The Promise of Hearts Turning,”Ensign or Liahona, July 2014, 4–5; Russell M. Nelson, “It All Starts with Love” (video),; Russell M. Nelson, “Adding ‘Family’ to Family History Work” (video),; Russell M. Nelson, “Generations Linked in Love,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 91–94; Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,” Ensign or Liahona,Nov. 2012, 93–95; Quentin L. Cook, “Roots and Branches,” Ensign orLiahona, May 2014, 44–48; David A. Bednar, “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 24–27; Neil L. Andersen, “A Classroom of Faith, Hope, and Charity” (address to Church Educational System religious educators),; Neil L. Andersen, “Find Our Cousins!” (address at RootsTech Family History Conference, Feb. 8, 2014),
I am disappointed when I observe Ward and Stake Leaders that have apparently not yet gotten the message about the importance of hastening the work of salvation in their respective congregations. It seems to go back to Elder Packer's statement that "there is one obstacle the Church cannot remove. It is an individual’s hesitation to do the work."

What's New on

In addition to the changes in the Memories section of the website, there have been a number of other changes over the past month or so. Here is a list of the new features:
  • More Ordinance Information on the Traditional and Descendancy Views
  • Changes to Memories Are Included in the List of Latest Changes
  • Members Can Edit Their Own Name and Birth Information
  • You Can Filter Names in the History List
  • Getting a Free Partner Account for 13-17 Year Olds
  • Single Sign-In for and
  • Learning Center Pages
  • Add a Person: Improved Wording for a Found Match
  • View Image From the Record Details Popup
  • Location Information in Search Map
These changes are explained in detail in a blog post by Steve Anderson entitled, appropriately enough, "What's New -- September, 2014". If you thought that the changes in FamilySearch Family Tree were slowing down, I guess you will still have to wait a while. I'm sorry for not getting this out sooner. I get almost 100 emails a day and sometimes things get pushed down on the list really fast. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Online FamilySearch Training Now Available—October

From a blog post from FamilySearch:
Several new classes have been added to the FamilySearch Learning Center. These new classes include:
  • A class on descendancy research
  • A class on how to separate names that were incorrectly combined in Family Tree
  • Four classes on using Spanish records in Spain, Latin America, and Mexico. These classes are presented in Spanish
I don't think too many people realize the huge number of online classes available in the Learning Center on In fact, in my experience, few people even know that it is sitting there in the Get Help link from the startup page.

Monday, October 20, 2014

FamilySearch Memories Pages Updated has implemented some addition features to the Memories Page primarily dealing with changes to the Photos. The announcement was featured in a blog post by Jeff Hawkins on the FamilySearch Blog, entitled, "Updated Features on the Memories Page." The post explains:
When you attach or detach a memory (photo, story, document, or audio file) for a person in Family Tree, you can add a reason statement to whatever you’ve added. A reason statement helps explain why you are attaching or detaching the item. Sometimes this helps provide a useful historical perspective to the memory being added.
In looking at the program, I see that additional information has been added to the tagging view page. Here is a screenshot with an arrow showing the new information:

The post explains this new function as follows:
When you view a page that shows a photograph and the names of the people in the photo are attached to people in Family Tree, more than just the names of the people are displayed. Now some of the personal information from Family Tree is also displayed for each person in the photo.
The post presents two more changes. The first is the ability to include a "reason statement" when attaching or detaching an item that are tracked in the change log. I find this to be helpful, but what would be more helpful is the ability to edit or remove photos, such as wrong identifications or duplicate photos, from other users. The last change is the addition of a verification screen when you add a link by using the PID (identification number) rather than a name.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Temple Garments

In a dramatic break with tradition, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through its official Newsroom, has issued a post about Temple Garments. The post is introduced by the following statement:
From ancient times, men and women have embraced sacred music, different forms of prayer, religious vestments full of symbolism, gestures and rituals to express their innermost feelings of devotion to God. 
The variety of these forms of expression is as wide and diverse as the human family. Yet all have the same ultimate purpose: to connect the believer with the object of their devotion in the most personal way—to draw close to God.
The post concludes with the following statement:
Because of the personal and religious nature of the temple garment, the Church asks all media to report on the subject with respect, treating Latter-day Saint temple garments as they would religious vestments of other faiths. Ridiculing or making light of sacred clothing is highly offensive to Latter-day Saints.
I am sure that, like most members of the Church, I have had some interesting and sometimes embarrassing experiences with this topic. I will close this post with one more quote from the Newsroom article:
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there are no outer religious vestments in ordinary worship services. 
However, many faithful Latter-day Saints wear a garment under their clothing that has deep religious significance. Similar in design to ordinary modest underclothing, it comes in two pieces and is usually referred to as the “temple garment.” 
Some people incorrectly refer to temple garments as magical or “magic underwear.” These words are not only inaccurate but also offensive to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is nothing magical or mystical about temple garments, and Church members ask for the same degree of respect and sensitivity that would be afforded to any other faith by people of goodwill. 
Temple garments are worn by adult members of the Church who have made sacred promises of fidelity to God’s commandments and the gospel of Jesus Christ in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
To Church members, the modest temple garment, worn under normal clothing, along with the symbolic vestments worn during temple worship, represent the sacred and personal aspect of their relationship with God and their commitment to live good, honorable lives.
I assume if you are interested in this topic you will read the entire article. See the link above.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Plan now to attend RootsTech 2015

RootsTech 2015 is coming up fast. All of the member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should be aware of the planned Family Discovery Day, described as a fun and informative day for LDS Church members, including families, to discover and share their family stories across generations. Here is a quote from the website describing the activities of this special day:
Families and members of The Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-day Saints are invited to attend FDD at RT on Saturday, February 14, 2015. This free one day event is a day of inspirational messages, instructional classes, interactive activities, and exciting entertainment to help LDS members to discover and connect with their families across generations. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced family historian, there's something at Family Discovery Day for everyone.
 The activities planned for the day include:
Inspirational Messages
General Authorities and other well-known LDS speakers share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences that will inspire you to:
  • Discovery your family connections
  • Offer ancestors the blessings of the temple
  • Share your experience in family history with friends and family
Interactive Activities
Family Discovery Day includes access to the huge expo hall where hundreds of exhibitors are available to help you with things such as:
  • Recording your personal and family stories
  • Creating a visual family tree to print and share
  • Taking photos with family and friends
  • Calling and recording your conversation with grandma
Family Discovery Day Classes
Choose several classes each hour designed to teach you how to:
  • Find and prepare family names for temple work
  • record, preserve and share family stories
  • Utilize and My Family booklet
  • Share your experience with others and teach them how to get started
Youth Participation
In 2015, we are encouraging members of the Church to attend Family Discovery Day on Saturday, February 14th as families where possible. Everyone is welcome to attend Family Discovery Day at RootsTech and all classes and activities will be geared to all ages and experience levels (ages 8+). Ideally, the youth who experienced the excitement at RootsTech in 2014 will invite their parents and siblings to join in the fun next February. As we make this transition, however, we anticipate there will still be some youth groups who attend together.
There will also be a Special Closing Event featuring the the cast of Studio C from BYUtv and other popular entertainers to be announced soon.

It is probably a good idea to remember that the rest of the RootsTech schedule will be going on at the same time along with the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference (FGS). You may want to look into the schedule of classes for these other events and make a choice of where you want to be.