I love summer picnics—sampling all the fresh tastes of the season, enjoying a variety of outdoor games and activities, and basking in the sunny weather and fresh air.
But what really makes a gathering special is the people who come to enjoy it with me. It’s those friendships and family relationships that give the event its life and make it memorable. Each person who comes, whether old or young, adds something special to the mix, making the whole gathering better.
So it is with FamilySearch.org. Your presence here, whoever you are, adds life to the site and enjoyment for those who come behind you. In fact, it’s almost impossible to do anything on FamilySearch.org without making the experience better for someone else.
Think about it. Have you found and added a name to your Family Tree? If so, you have likely helped dozens of people to make a connection to their ancestors. Have you uploaded a photo or story of an ancestor? Then you have possibly enabled others to have a life-changing experience when they see or learn about a member of their own family for the very first time. Have you added a source to a record? Then you have likely helped verify information for someone who is looking to extend their family line to a cousin or the next generation.
Every story you upload, every detail you add to a person’s record, and every cousin you discover and connect is adding to the experience that others like you will have going forward. Even if you think you’re only doing it for yourself, you are still having a positive impact on many others. So don’t pass up the party thinking no one will miss you. Everyone is wanted; everyone is needed.
Making the Party Even Better
Now, there are ways to turn a good party into a great party. For example, have you ever been to a celebration where you were invited to bring a can of food to donate to the local food pantry? Or perhaps the host set up a quilt and invited people to add a stitch or two so others could have that comfort in their lives. Or maybe it was some other service opportunity that didn’t take much time but that you knew would really matter to some stranger down life’s road.
FamilySearch.org offers the same kind of opportunities to everyone who attends its “party.” Thousands of people come to FamilySearch.org every day for the express purpose of giving back to make life better for others. The most visible of these opportunities is FamilySearch indexing.
Do you realize that most of the billions of searchable names on FamilySearch.org were transcribed (or indexed) from historic documents by ordinary people? The vast majority of this work is done by volunteers, individuals like you and me who want to use their spare time to do something good for others. Like a stitch or two in a quilt, every record indexed really matters. In fact, all it takes is one indexed record for someone else to find a missing connection in their family tree.
So next time you visit FamilySearch.org, how about you take a few minutes to give back? I would like to extend to you an invitation in 2014 to join us in the full FamilySearch experience. For example, if you like to search for records, learn to index and submit a batch of indexed records. If you’re already a regular indexer, how about adding a photo, story, document, or source to help others find or learn about their ancestor? Or how about performing the ultimate act of service of using your time to submit a name to the temple?
With everyone doing a little and some doing a lot, we can all enjoy and be a part of this entire party we call FamilySearch.org.