Resolve to spend more time with your family.
Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have encouraged members to add doing more family history to their list of New Year’s Resolutions, but it’s a goal that can be overwhelming for some people. If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, here’s are several smaller resolutions that let you get more involved in family history without getting lost in the branches of your family tree.
The time commitment varies depending on the resolution, but even the bigger ones can be broken down into smaller steps that take only a few minutes at a time.
Get to know an ancestor
Though this is the simplest family history-related resolution on the list, it can serve as a spark that inspires a lifelong love of family history. All you have to do to fulfill this resolution is find one of your ancestors, preferably one you never met while they were still alive and has several sources attached to their name.
Then read everything you can about them, using the facts contained in the various official documents to put the stories together in your mind. Use census records to trace how they moved, and whether other family members ever stayed with them. Follow them through marriages, births and children.
Once you’ve finished with their profile page on FamilySearch, go over to Google and type their name, year of birth, and city into the search bar. Maybe you’ll find nothing, but you might also find parts of their life you’ve never heard of before.
Find an ancestor’s missing child/sibling/parent
Many families on FamilySearch aren’t complete. Though people searching through their family trees will often connect parents and children, they may have siblings out there that haven’t yet been connected to their parents and siblings.
Also, spouses of family members weren’t created out of thin air – they have their own families they were born into, that they may or may not be connected to on the family tree.
Many family records, particularly census records, will include the names of other children and siblings. Some marriage records will also include the names of an in-law’s parents, or elderly parents might end up living with their children on later census records. It’s also possible to do extra searches of the parents, whose names will be on the birth records of all their children.
Seal a family together
If you find any of your ancestor’s missing siblings or children, you might be able to squeeze in this resolution, too. While placing people with their families is important, it’s even more important to do the ordinances that will seal them together in the temple. Even if two family members have already been connected, you should check and see if everyone’s been sealed – many people have had their temple work done for them individually, but never got their sealings done after they were put together with their families.
To check and see if family members have been sealed together, click on the “Ordinance” tab in their profile. As long as they’re an ancestor and born more than 100 years ago, you can reserve the opportunity to do their ordinances without having to get any outside permission.
Get an ancestor to the temple
When you’re fulfilling some of the previous resolutions, it’s possible you’ll run into an ancestor who hasn’t had their ordinances done yet. Whether it’s one of the extra siblings, a parent, or a child that no one had found, you can take that ancestor to the temple as long as they were born more than 100 years ago. No matter what time of year it happens, it’ll be worthy of a celebration.