Family history goals come in all different sizes


BY JENNIFFER WARDELL

When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, one size doesn’t fit all.

Thankfully, there are plenty of family history resolutions available for all sorts of involvement levels. From writing in your journal more to planning a family history-related trip, anyone and everyone can resolve to get a little more family history in their lives in 2018.

Write in your journal more

Family history starts with you. Journals are an invaluable record of people’s lives, so make sure future generations get to know you by resolving to write in your journal regularly throughout the year. Journals can also give you a sense of your own history, showing how your life has changed throughout the year and reminding you of impressions you had.

Even writing once a week can produce an amazing picture of your life. If you don’t think the events of the past week were worth writing about, write down your feelings in that particular moment or what your hopes are for the future.

Read up about an ancestor

The best way to get excited about family history is to see your ancestors as more than names or dates. If you don’t have a family tree, see if you can find out more about your grandparents.

If you do have a family tree, choose an ancestor and find out what information they have about them on sites like FamilySearch and Ancestry.com. Ask living family members what they know. Sometimes, even putting their name and a birth year or city into Google can yield up a story or two you might not have otherwise known.

Find an ancestor’s missing information

When starting to research your family tree, a good place to start is to fill in the details on a single family member. Some will have a birth date but not a death date, for example, or they’ll have a death date but not a burial location. Even if a person’s name has already been taken to the temple, researching more information about them can both be great practice and serve as a way to get closer to your ancestor.

Take a name to the temple

If you’re already familiar with your family tree, and have spent time making sure your ancestors’ information is complete and accurate, the next step is finding a family member’s name to take to the temple. Those who have large blank patches on their family tree will have plenty to work with, particularly since Family Search has several records from the 1800s.

Even if your family tree has a lot of work already done, however, there are still options. See if any of your ancestors are missing siblings, which can sometimes (though not always) be revealed through large gaps between known siblings. It’s also possible to find cousins up to four generations away that might have been missed.

Plan a family history trip

If you’re feeling really bold, you can take a trip to an area where you have a high concentration of ancestors and experience their world firsthand. If you’re looking to do some research while you’re there, particularly with documents that might not be available online, call ahead to see when the best time would be to set up a research appointment. Even if you’re not looking for research, however, it can be rewarding to get a feel for the city or town where your ancestors spent most of their time.

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