This article is the first in a series on how family history consultants can get ward members started with their family history research. These articles are based on information found in a new infographic that was developed by FamilySearch.
Over the next six months, we will publish articles that focus on two or three steps outlined in this infographic. Visit this web page to view the infographic as a complete step-by-step process.
Step 1: Have Them Write What They Know about Their Immediate Families
The first step in getting ward members excited about family history is to have them write down what they know about their parents, brothers, and sisters. If they are married, be sure they include information about their spouse and children. This is usually a fairly easy step since they most likely remember a lot about these family members.
When doing this, use the My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together booklet. It’s an easy to use booklet that ward members can use to write what they remember about their family. There are places for them to attach family pictures, write important dates and places, and space for writing memories of family members and special events. This booklet is easy to use and it’s a great way to organize the information they remember.
Once a ward member has recorded their information into this booklet, ward consultants can help them take that information they wrote in their booklet and add it to their own personal Family Tree. This simple and easy to use booklet can also be used to record information they remember about their extended family as well.
Step 2: Have Them Write What They Know about Their Extended Families
The next step is to have ward members gather from their extended families, the same kind of information that they gathered about themselves in step 1. Extended family members include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Remember to use the My Family:Stories That Bring Us Together booklet to store this additional information.
Some people may not be very familiar with their extended family members. However, encourage them to find and contact just one or two distant relatives. These relatives can often provide them with contact information and other details of who is alive, who has died, and how to contact those who might have other useful family history information.
You can sometimes find extended family by using the Internet. Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter make it easier to find those relatives you haven’t seen in years. Search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others can also be helpful.
In these first two steps the focus is on getting the easy-to-find information and writing it down so you can preserve it and create a plan of action for gathering missing information on your family. Encourage them to create some kind of action plan. It will show them what information they already have and where they need to focus their attention to find what’s missing. All of this is done with the goal to enter data in the FamilySearch Family Tree—which you can help them do as a consultant.
In steps 3 and 4, we will focus on finding photographs and stories you have around you home. We will talk about working with relatives to find more information about family and how to add the information to the FamilySearch Family Tree.