Easy Ideas for Family History this Summer

By Lauren Madsen

It is that time of year again, when many of us who rely on the rhythm and routine of the school year have to work a little harder to create something good, and maybe even productive, out of what could turn to chaos. In our house, the kids have more free time than they know what to do with, and I find myself looking for inspiration on suggestions I can give. 

Below are a few simple ideas that might help you or someone you know to engage in the important work of family history. This paragraph from the Gospel Library gives beautiful insight into the why and how: “We can connect with our ancestors by performing essential ordinances for them in temples. As we help our deceased family members progress on the covenant path, we can increase the influence of the Spirit in our lives and deepen our testimonies of the plan of salvation. Family history can also strengthen our relationships with our living family members. As we share discoveries, stories, photographs, and other memories, we establish family bonds and strengthen the love between our family members. In this sense, family history is much more than just researching names, dates, and places.” Gospel Library>Topics and Questions>Family History 

Easy Ideas for Family History this Summer


Family Search

Take some time to explore Family Histories Activities under the Activities option on Family Search. There is even a section of in-home family activities, ranging from “time capsule questions” to “eat what they ate” to “saving a memory that could be lost.” There are ideas for every age range, things that can be done solo, and things that can be accomplished together. 

Indexing records in Family Search is a crucial part of preparing individuals for proxy work in the temple. When a volunteer indexes a record, it is made searchable, and is ready to attach to a person. Sometimes there are no batches of records for beginners in Family Search, but there are more opportunities being created all the time. On the website, if you select Get Involved>Opportunities, you will see options for quick name reviews, full name reviews, family reviews, and verifying places. 

Billion Graves

Registering for an account with Billion Graves is quick and easy. You can then volunteer to transcribe photos of headstones, or verify information another user has already transcribed. Even young kids who can read and use a keyboard can help with this one! If you need some time outside, consider looking into taking photos of headstones at local cemeteries to upload to their database. 

Photos and Interviews

Are you visiting siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents or grandparents this summer? Consider using some of the time together to ask questions and record answers. Open up the Family Search Memories app, click the add button and indicate if you are adding a written story or want to record audio. You can then attach it to people within Family Search. 

Are you attending a family reunion? At several of the reunions I have attended, there were photo displays, many with photos of family members who had passed on. It is so simple to take a photo of a photo with your phone and add them into the Memories app. Tag the people in the photo while you are there at the reunion, because they can help verify the names of the individuals in the photos if you are unsure.

I love what Henry B. Eyring taught about this important work of family history: “The work of gathering Heavenly Father’s family is not just for young people, and it is not just for grandparents. It is for everyone. We are all gatherers.” If you haven’t already, prayerfully consider how you might best gather this summer, and involve the younger generation too!

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