Family History Lesson – Partner Sites

This is a lesson that I created for my family history class. It helps students to walk through the process of signing up for the family history parter sites. When you access these sites, you will be able to use their genealogical records to help find your ancestors. This lesson is intended for members of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, who have free access with their membership.

Researching: Partner Sites

Now comes the fun! It’s time to start seeking information and evidence to prove and complete the information on your family in FamilySearch. You will be going beyond Record Hints in your pursuit of sources. FamilySearch has many sources that do not automatically appear in Record Hints that require more advanced search skills.

Additionally (with your Membership in the Church) you have access to American Ancestors, Ancestry, FindMyPast, and MyHeritage where you can search for additional information and sources. Becoming confident in your ability to search is a skill you now need to master. 

For this assignment:

  1. Watch this video for background
  2. Tips for Finding Your Ancestors in Genealogy Databases (Links to an external site.) is another resource that will give you tips on researching ancestors.
  3. Create accounts with all four Partner sites by going to www.familysearch.org/partneraccess (Links to an external site.)  (these accounts are free with your membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
    • Notes:
      • FamilySearch –  does not allow you to download a GEDCOM from the site
      • My Heritage  – will bring over a full FamilySearch Tree (takes a while to download) but will create a GEDCOM
      • Ancestry – will only import 4 generations from FamilySearch, but will create a GEDCOM
      • American Ancestors – allows an import from FamilySearch but this is what they say on their website – 
        • You can import up to 4 generations of ancestors and one generation of their descendants, or up to 8 generations of ancestors without descendants.Because we import not only facts and relationships but also stories and media, importing more generations would take a long time.You can import additional generations at any time by navigating to an end-of-line ancestor and selecting Download more from the FamilySearch icon in the toolbar.
      • Find My Past – will only take GEDCOM (will not import directly from FamilySearch)
      • Geneanet  – will only take GEDCOM (will not import directly from FamilySearch)
  4. If you are unfamiliar with a GEDCOM (Links to an external site.), it is a computer file for genealogy. In fact the word is short for Genealogical Data Communication. Here is a video from Ancestry on how to create a GEDCOM from their site. It should give you a good idea of what it is and how it is used. 
  5. Assignment: Using Google searches and help found on the sites listed above, pick one of the five main family history sites you will use for research and become an expert on advanced searching techniques for the site you selected.

Thank you!

Help! I can’t find my ancestors on FamilySearch!

Help! I can’t find my ancestors on FamilySearch!

Are you in this category? You know that there are lines and lines of ancestors linked together in FamilySearch (you’ve seen them on your mom’s or grandmother’s tree) or you are trying to get linked to your spouses’ long ancestor lines, but you just can’t figure out how to do it! Then this post is for you.

What you need to do is to create what I call a “Ghost Record” or a “Bridge Record from yourself through your living relative to your first deceased ancestor. Once you hit that deceased ancestor, then it will populate your tree with all of the deceased relatives in your (or your spouses’) lines.

I have a video on YouTube: FamilySearch Ghost or Bridge Records that walks you through it –

A few quick reminders hat you can find in the video:

  • You have to create a record for a living person (let’s say it’s your mom).
  • That record is NOT your mom’s record. Your creation and her living record are two different records.
    • For privacy, only you can be in your own record.
  • Don’t do much with that record
    • It’s best not to add documents (census records, etc.) to your ghost record. those should be added by your mom into her living record.
    • Add only a few pictures or memories if you wish, but they will not show up for the living person, unless your ghost record and their living record are merged after their death – which of course we don’t want, but I speak of it as an eventuality in the FAR FAR future of course!
  • Make a note that it is a bridge or ghost record to help with confusion when the person dies and you need to merge the records together.

In 2016, Ron Tanner from FamilySearch talked about sharing living records with family members in a video called: How to Share Living Family Trees on FamilySearch. In that video, he said that we would soon be able to be in another’s record (with a permission or password, etc.) but that was 4 years ago and I will update this post when that exciting feature does emerge!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share below.

Please take a look at some of these posts –

Family History – An Introduction

Family History – An Introduction

This semester (Spring 2020) I am teaching a class on Family History at BYU-Idaho, and unfortunately, as it is the end of my three-year contract as a visiting professor there, this blog must once again become a repository for all of the things that I want to remember, so that I can use those ideas in the future. That was the original purpose of this blog, you know – a digital place to store what I had gained as a Seminary teacher of 7 years. As I tried to get all of those talks and scriptures in one digital setting, my purpose and motivations changed and this blog became a place to store my religious writings, thoughts, poetry, etc.

My Great-Grandfather Arthur Wooster in WWII, 
colorized at MyHeritage
My Great-Grandfather Arthur Wooster in WWII,
colorized at MyHeritage

However, I just cannot lose things like the Family History Course, and so as I teach it to my students in this strange time of COVID-19 isolation, where I teach them virtually, I’m going to adapt the lessons here in the hopes that it can help some readers, and refresh my mind later when I’m called on to teach it again – it has been my experience that the Lord NEVER wastes our learning, and so I am sure that this will not be the last time that I teach it.

So to begin, here are some talks and ideas to “whet your whistle” and get you excited to learn about family history. Come on, I know you’ve always meant to get moving with your family history, and right now – during the coronavirus isolation – here’s the perfect opportunity!

Gathering God’s Family

That’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Gathering together in one as much of God’s family as we possibly can, we and they all have their agency as to whether we’ll accept our place at Aslan’s table, but we need to make sure that it is set and that there is an invitation for all of God’s children to be there. This is taught so beautifully in President Eyring’s talk, Gathering the Family of God, General Conference, April 2017. I assigned this talk as the first day’s reading and they were asked to come prepared to share insights in our opening class.

You see, the names “brother” and “sister” are not just friendly greetings or terms of endearment for us. They are an expression of an eternal truth: God is the literal Father of all mankind; we are each part of His eternal family. Because He loves us with the love of a perfect Father, He wants us to progress and advance and become like Him. He ordained a plan by which we would come to earth, in families, and have experiences that would prepare us to return to Him and live as He lives. ~President Henry B. Eyring (see link above for the full text)

Here is a link to a short video of excerpts from President Eyring’s talk. I shared it in my lesson after we discussed what stood out to us in the talk.

Family Search – the Place to Begin Gathering People, Records, Memories, and Families

While there are MANY wonderful sites for digital family histories, we will focus mainly on FamilySearch (though I will be showing some other really helpful sites and places throughout the course).

When you sign in on the FamilySearch website there is a tab entitled “Family Tree”. The goal of Family Tree is a place in which a common pedigree of mankind is linked together. Hopefully the day will come where we can all go on “Family Tree” and see how we relate to everyone. What a lofty and marvelous goal! However, we need to have each individual represented on the tree, and to have them appear only once. Sometimes, the information on Family Tree is poorly sourced, duplicative, inaccurate, and unreliable.

Our generation has the opportunity to verify and correct the information on Family Tree so that we can be confident about who our ancestors are and whether they have received the ordinances of salvation. In future lessons, you will learn how to combine duplicate records and provide sources to information that is found in Family Tree so that we can continue filling in information on our family with confidence.

To begin, I’m going to give an assignment –

FamilySearch Beginning Assignment

The purpose of this activity is to help you access FamilySearch in preparation for future assignments. You will log in to FamilySearch.

  • If you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, you will use your church account username and password (you can find your Church Record Number by contacting your bishop or by locating it on your temple recommend).
  • If you are a member and do not already have one, create a churchaccount now. You will need your birth date and membership record number. Again, your record number can be obtained from your ward clerk, your temple recommend, or on the Churchs’Tools Website. If you can’t remember your username and password this article, “I forgot my FamilySearch password or username” may help.
  • If you are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that’s perfectly fine, you can also have a free account. Simply do not mark the box that states that you are a member (for a reference to what I am talking about, see the image below):
Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 1.20.39 AM
  • If you are having difficulties, you can call 1-866-406-1830 for assistance.

Do as much of the following as you can and you can ask questions in the comments below for areas in which you are stuck.

  1. Log into your FamilySearch account.
  2. The goal is to have your tree contain accurate information about you, your spouse (if you have one), parents, and siblings on your Person Page (NOTE: bear in mind that if the person that you are creating a page for is living, then you are creating a bridge or ghost record (see video below) for them, and NOT their own family search person page. Currently, the only person that has access to their own personal living record is the living person. More on that later.
  3. Put the following on your Person Page:
    • A picture posted to the left of your name on your Person Page,
    • Adding or edit your Vital Information (birthdate, place, etc.)
    • Add a spouse, parent, or child
    • Using a record hint (if any)
    • Create a story, document, or audio file posted and tag it to you
    • Connect yourself to your deceased relatives by adding living relatives and then connecting to your first deceased ancestors.
  4. Watch this Video: FamilySearch when your family Tree is Empty (Links to an external site.) to help with that.
  5. Navigate Family Tree (click on “Family Tree” and then “Tree” and then the dropdown arrow next to “Landscape” see picture below) by viewing the following:
    • The Landscape View
    • The Portrait View
    • The Fan Chart View
    • The Descendancy View
    • Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 1.49.02 AM
  6. Spend a few minutes orienting yourself with FamilySearch.
    • Click on the tabs at the top – “Family Tree”, “Search”, “Memories”, “Indexing”, etc.
    • See where they go.
    • Don’t worry! If you get lost, you can always click on the FamilySearch logo in the top left of your screen (see image below) and it will take you back to the homepage.
    • Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 2.04.01 AM
  •  While on the home page, orient yourself with the tools that are there –
    • Such as the rolling list of memories that your relatives have added about your common ancestors.
    • The “Recommended Task List”
    • The “Recent People Viewed” List
    • And the “To Do” List

Just go in there and have fun figuring out the different features. Don’t get hung up on anything, you will learn as you go. Right now, the important thing is to orient yourself with the website.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them below, and I would love it if you shared it with someone you know who would like to learn about family history.

A poem

Something I’ve been thinking about lately.

When I’m really questioning my faith, I look to who I am. I love the woman that I am when I live the gospel (full of joy, inner peace and love). I don’t like the feelings I have when I am doubting, despairing, and discouraged about the gospel. So I wrote this as a reminder to “doubt my doubts before I doubt my faith” (Come, Join with Us, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2013).

Galatians 5:22-23

Matthew 7:15-20

Talks to Study on Studying Religious Literature

Working on a class for REL 215 (Scripture Study) and Monday’s lesson will be on literary styles in scripture –

Literary Styles in Scripture

Another way to help understand scripture is to understand the techniques that the authors used to write. For today’s study, we are going to spend some time familiarizing ourselves with some of these techniques (kind of like learning how notes and chords in different patterns create music or how light and composition bring photography to life).  In addition to bible literature comprising the following: Law, History, Poetry, Prophecy, Genealogy,  and Narrative, their works also included literary styles that would make it rich in meaning, but to the modern reader (who is used to Western traditional poetry and prose) scriptures can be confusing.

Hebrew writers would use:

  • Parallelism
  • Chiasmus
  • Figurative Imagery
  • Dualism

In order to learn some of these techniques, please choose to study two of the following articles and be prepared to share your findings:

 

Just leaving a few more talks that I came across here for study:

Video –

 

Very, very intrigued by the poetry style.

Being a Powerful Woman (part 2 – Spiritual Gifts)

(This cake was created by my daughters to celebrate Father’s Day last year. While not perfect, it’s amazingly creative for girls making it from scratch [that’s homemade fondant] and without any prompting on my part!)

My dear sisters, you have special spiritual gifts and propensities. Tonight I urge you, with all the hope of my heart, to pray to understand your spiritual gifts—to cultivate, use, and expand them, even more than you ever have. You will change the world as you do so.

Sisters’ Participation in the Gathering of Israel, President Russell M. Nelson, October 2018.

To continue my discussion about how I am training my girls to be powerful spiritual women, I want to talk about spiritual gifts and propensities as well as physical talents.

I believe that the keys to “cultivate, use, and expand these gifts” are to teach them to practice and to be creative.

The power of small moments

The first is be wise with time. The thief of developing talents is not be in the habit of daily practice. Are we truly aware of the difference that small moments (15 minutes or so) can make when taken advantage of each day? (And obviously, if I am in a consistent pattern and miss a day here or there, it will still be okay as long as I continue.) Practice must be intentional. With all of the distractions of life, talents and gifts can be procrastinated out of existence!

I’m encouraging my children to find what they like, and to work on those things daily (while they’re young and the days are more unstructured than life will be when they reach older teenage years and adulthood). When I see them on a device, we run through a list of things that they need to do (homework, chores, etc.) and then areas in which they would like to improve (music, art, special projects, creativity, etc.). We made a calendar so that they could track daily practice to see progress.

Perhaps these things are little, but I think too many women are engaged in the smallness of spending life scrolling on social media, or shopping sites, or binge watching, or playing games – constantly comparing, constantly looking for the “newest and the best”, constantly being entertained – rather than living life. (And, yes, I’m pointing the finger at myself here too! 🥴)

Creativity to develop gifts

The second area that will train my girls to “cultivate, use, and expand these gifts” is to learn to be creative.

Let me give two examples of this.

In our family of daughters, it’s pretty easy for my husband to feel overwhelmed. Last year, our youngest daughter (age 4 at the time) finding out that it was Father’s Day, decided to “throw him a giant party!” She enlisted the help of her older sisters and they decorated, made gifts, games, and food and we had a special day celebrating their Dad. (See the picture of the cake above.) The amazing thing was, they didn’t enlist my help or money. They did it all themselves with things that we had around the house. Creative ingenuity and problem solving will be a blessing in developing gifts and talents.

Second, with the many blessings that technology has brought to us, there are myriads of creative ways that one could use to help develop talents. If I don’t have money for dance lessons, I could look for YouTube videos on the basics of dance and practice at home. And if I couldn’t find videos, I could look for books at the free public library that taught basic dance steps. And if I couldn’t get to the library, I could play music and create dance steps. And if I couldn’t play music, I could sing and then dance. (You get the picture!)

I believe powerful women take advantage of time and opportunity to creatively develop and train themselves. In this way, they improve and beautify the world, both around and within themselves.

We are expected to develop ourselves

From here, I could move on to talk about the parable of the talents, (Matthew 25:14–30) and how if we don’t develop them we could be in serious trouble when the judgement comes. I love the fact that though the parable talks of talents (as in money from that time period) it is easy to use the parable to teach about talents (as in gifts, propensities, etc.). I will leave you, the reader, to explore and ponder this parable in light of the discussion.

Not just physical talents

At the end of the day however, physical talents are not the only thing that a powerful spiritual woman needs to cultivate, though these are important.

There is a whole world of spirituality that will bless her life and the lives of many for the eternities. If I teach each daughter to be aware of how the Holy Spirit prompts her individually, our home now and her future will be rich. The Spirit will refine her and help teach internal beauty such as how to be kind, how to listen, how to reach out and put another’s need above your own, how to love and befriend those who are difficult to love and befriend.

She will then follow in the footsteps of the Savior who spent His days and His gifts and talents, blessing and serving all around. There is no denying how the Lord’s unique ministry and teachings have blessed and lifted the world.

Internal goodness and spirituality are qualities that this world desperately needs but the world at large is seldom, if ever, teaching women to gain. At least, I rarely see these qualities taught in video games, online shopping, news articles, or in music, movies and shows. They would craft women to be self-serving, self absorbed, self obsessed, and even violent. “Sex and violence sells” so they tell me, but these qualities don’t have the power to lift and bless. So, if my works never sell, what does it matter? I’m looking to generate the true spiritual power of womanhood that I believe can change the world for good. And if all I change and better is my little corner of this vast universe, so be it.

Moving forward

My next job is to help guide my girls to uncover and develop those spiritual gifts and teach them to use the gifts (both the physical talents and spiritual gifts) for uplifting and edifying others (as is taught in Doctrine and Covenants 46).

And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God. (D&C 46: 26).

And that will be the topic of my next post. For now, thank you for reading and I welcome your comments. I’d especially love to hear your thoughts, scriptures, and quotes about spiritual gifts.

Being a Powerful Woman (part 1 – Edification)

(Someone kindly left these beautiful flowers in my office last week – what a kind and very appreciated thing to do!)

On Friday I read this scripture from Proverbs 14:1

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

It was the day after I had been emotionally triggered by an awkward situation in which a woman who I was sent to for help was quite rude to me. (Now, I’m not sure who the woman was, nor what kind of day she had, but her words held nothing to help during a situation in which I was already quite vulnerable.)

As I pondered that scripture and the behavior of the night before, I began to think about womanhood. And what I’m teaching my daughters about being a real woman. I decided to write a few pieces of advice here to give to them later.

Building Up and Tearing Down

To edify means to build something up. I think women who build others are quite remarkable.

I’ve read many articles lately about “being a woman in a man’s world” and about how if a woman is in a position to correct then she is seen as a “witchy woman” and “oh! The unfairness if it all.” And maybe it is unfair. But perhaps, we’re doing it wrong when we’re doing it in the way that everyone else does it.

Perhaps, it’s because (whether male or female) we’re tearing other humans down instead of using our unique gifts and talents to bless them.

Yes, we will need to correct, and yes, feelings can and will get hurt as we deal with others, but we can still be kind. We can build a person up after the correction or disappointment. (See Doctrine and Covenants 121: 41-43 on the correct pattern for both how to maintain power and influence as well as how to correct) in fact, the promise is that doing this shall –

greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy and without guile – [.]

What a heaven on earth this world would be if we treated each person with the main goal of leaving them better than when we first met them!

An Example of Correction

I’ll give an example of correction. A while ago, a student was flustered and began to yell at his teacher. In a soft but firm voice, she told him that it was evident that there was some major emotion that he was feeling about the situation, but she wasn’t the one to cause those feelings. Then she assured him that she’d be happy to talk to him about it after he had some time to settle down those emotions.

After resolving the situation, she expressed the belief that they could come to areas of agreement and then pointed out some of the strengths that she had seen in his work to make sure that he knew that there were no hard feelings. She also wanted to ensure that the relationship could live and thrive well past that moment.

Perhaps one may think it’s silly, but I believe that we can practice and succeed in taking the anger and rudeness out of relationships.

Criticism versus Kindness – who are we training ourselves to be?

One way to start is to begin to train ourselves to be less critical of others. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Virtue of Kindness“, April 2005 stated,

The things you say, the tone of your voice, the anger or calm of your words—these things are noticed by your children and by others. They see and learn both the kind and the unkind things we say or do. Nothing exposes our true selves more than how we treat one another in the home.

I often wonder why some feel they must be critical of others. It gets in their blood, I suppose, and it becomes so natural they often don’t even think about it. They seem to criticize everyone—the way Sister Jones leads the music, the way Brother Smith teaches a lesson or plants his garden.

Even when we think we are doing no harm by our critical remarks, consequences often follow.

It is a marvelous talk with some very simple and yet profound principles. My favorite of which is –

Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others.

Working to build others instead of tearing them down is a mark of greatness and is just one way in which women can truly find the nature of true spiritual power.

Home Centered, Church Supported Learning Survey – Henderson 2nd Ward

Hello Henderson 2nd Ward Members,

Would you please fill out this survey, Home Centered Learning Survey  as soon as possible for our meeting on Sunday, December 9th ?

 

If you  are not in the Henderson 2nd Ward, would you please fill out this short poll:

 

Thank you for your help!

To God, Equality is A Little Different

pexels-photo-131723.jpeg

To define equal in our modern society, one would say equal means –

Being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value.

A person or thing considered to be the same as another in status or quality.

Be the same as in number or amount.

same, uniform, equivalent

But, it seems that to the Lord, equal means something different, and thankfully

pexels-photo-132774.jpegso. For example, If I were to give everyone “equal” or “same” in terms of a car, we would all get a sports car, but that would be problematic for some, especially those with a large family.

In Church History when the Lord’s people, were introduced to living the law of consecration, the Lord assigned the first Bishop of the Church to give properties and goods to the people, this is what He said –

“Wherefore, let my servant Edward Partridge, and those whom he has chosen, in whom I am well pleased, appoint unto this people their portions, every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs.”

Doctrine and Covenants 51:3

Isn’t that interesting?

♦ every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs

God’s measuring of equal sometimes is a little different than ours.  Ours is exact sameness. His is equal in terms of opportunities, needs, wants, circumstances, etc. Even in terms of trails, spiritual gifts, blessings, assignments, etc.

Some thoughts to ponder –

  • How have you seen evidence of this in the gospel?
  • As a parent, how is this definition of equal more fair and beneficial for my children?
  • How does knowing this, help you to understand His ways (see Isaiah 55: 8-9) a little bit more?

Further study –

See Equal in the Topical Guide

All Things Are the Lord’s”: The Law of Consecration in the Doctrine and Covenants, by Steven Harper