Monday, June 5, 2017

"I don't like FAMILY HISTORY, I just like the HISTORY of my FAMILY"

We just got home from our friend's house and he was telling us some wonderful & fascinating stories about his family's history.  He didn't realize he was a closet "family historian."  In fact, my favorite quote of the night was, "I don't like family history, I just like the history of my family," which he insisted was different until we pointed out this quote by Elder Alan F Packer to him:
"Family history is more than genealogy, rules, names, dates, and places. It is more than a focus on the past. Family history also includes the present as we create our own history. It includes the future as we shape future history through our descendants. A young mother, for example, sharing her family stories and pictures with her children is doing family history work."
(One of my favorites, I might add). So the point is, after listening to his stories and witnessing the pride he had in his heritage it made me reflect on the fact that we all likely have many fascinating stories in our own family trees. Though I consider myself a family historian, I don't even know many of my own.  We seem to focus on the same lines over and over, so some I've heard snippets of here and there, but others I've never had the opportunity to hear because there's so much work to be done on a family tree that sometimes the stories of the grands and the great-grands get neglected.

So...thanks to the great resources at, their approved app "All the Stories," and the fact that only 5 generations back I already have 56 GREAT grandparents to discover; I've decided to take a challenge, and issue a challenge to you, #aFamilyStoryaDay -- Read, write, tell, or share a family story a day

So let me introduce you to some resources to help you succeed at this challenge.

Find a story about a grand or a great-grand and dig in. 

The FamilySearch Family Tree App is a great tool for starting on your own pedigree.  Pick a line and work your way up. I like to pick the first grandparent I didn't know and start digging into the stories that are there.  A second option would be to login to the "All the Stories" app, which syncs with your FamilySearch tree and pulls all the stories that are already connected to your ancestors and compiles them into a list.  On the list it shows you your approximate read time so you know the length of each story.  It also compiles your tree with blue circles--the darker the blue of the circle, the more stories on that ancestor.  This is awesome for helping you to find where you may be able to track down some stories from your living relatives.

Write, or record your story or a story from a loved one.

StoryWorth is one of my favorites for this. StoryWorth is a subscription account, but it's been worth every penny to me for the 3 years I've been using it.  You can set up multiple "storytellers" to your account.  When you add a storyteller, StoryWorth sends them an email once a week asking them a random question that you can populate from their creative list of unique questions.  The storyteller can respond via email, or request a phone call and record their answer orally.  I've had huge success using this with both my parents and grandparents, learning unique stories about each of them.  I also have myself as a storyteller and I really enjoying answer the unique questions.  It's definitely a fun way to capture more interesting things about your life.

Or you can turn to a standard journaling app, where you can journal on any device in any location.  There are some great apps out there.  I personally use Journey: it's a great free app that includes some fun bells and whistles like tagging, locations, calendaring, photos, etc.... It also syncs with your Google account, which I really like.  Here's the best article I found that sums up the Best Journaling Apps, every one I would recommend is on that list.
Day One     Journey     Momento     Penzu     Diaro

Tell a story about you or one you've recently learned to someone who might enjoy it.

Telling someone in person is a great option.  It's a fun way to share in the fun of the story, but if you find that you aren't sure whom to tell, you can always whip out your FamilySearch Memories app and record yourself telling the story, then attach it to whomever the story is about.

Share a story you've found. Upload a new story from your family records.

Head back to to their Memories feature to upload a story about your grandparents or great-grandparents.  You can also use the Memories app for this, and you can take a picture of a document, story, or picture that has a related story.

There you have it.  Share your #aFamilyStoryaDay on social media and encourage others to share in the fun.

My first story is brought to me by Almeda Bell Atkinson, my great-grandmother on my mother's father's side. My favorite moment of her story was her testimony that, "...whatever we are asked to do, if we do our very best, God will take care of the rest.

Happy Story Reading, Writing, Telling & Sharing!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Family History for Busy Parents–4 Easy Steps

Ever since I heard the topic for this month's blog link up, the excitement to write has been hard to contain.  I love this topic! Why, you ask?  Because I AM a BUSY--scratch that--an EXTREMELY BUSY mom; and I still find time for Family History. Why, you ask again?  Because I make it a priority! I make it a priority because I’ve experienced the difference it can make in my life and those I share it with.

Genealogy and Family History Work has long been thought of as a hobby for OLD PEOPLE: “another season of life,” “when I’m less busy,” are what I often hear when talking with my peers. BUT to them I ask,

Children ImitateWhy should the “old people” get to have all the fun?!!

Besides, if I wait until I’m older, all the people who have the precious memories I can glean from will be gone!  I’d argue that I’m at the PERFECT age! With the crazy advances in technology that happen almost daily, which I was raised with, the absurd amount of records becoming available each month, and with 3 perfect little imitators at my ankles, learning & absorbing everything I can feed them, how can I afford to not start now??

How can YOU afford to not start now?

We need these stories, we need to know these people, and your children need to know them.

So toss off your past perceptions and prepare to introduce something into your life that will radically improve your world! And surprisingly, NOT make you more busy.

Step 1 – LET GO OF all your preconceived notions about family history or genealogy work. Open up your mind to possibility.
I’ll expand… family defined
History defined
Taking into account the definitions of both of these words & considering now the following, (one of my favorite quotes):
“Family history is more than genealogy, rules, names, dates, and places. It is more than a focus on the past. Family history also includes the present as we create our own history. It includes the future as we shape future history through our descendants. A young mother, for example, sharing her family stories and pictures with her children is doing family history work.” –Alan F Packer

Step 2 – Take a quick look at your daily life.  Where do you spend your down time.  Don’t tell me you don’t have any, we all have some unwind time…playing games, watching television, pinning on Pinterest, stalking peeps on social media; what’s your vice?

Okay, NO, I’m not going to ask you to give it up.  I’m only going to ask you to consider taking 10 mins of that, 10 minutes only. Then I’m asking you to commit 21 days.

21 days?!? It’s only 10 minutes, don’t stress!!

Step 3 – On day one of your adventure, start on the following checklist.

*I actually recommend getting that checklist done the first day even if it takes a little longer than 10 minutes.  Just so you can move onto the fun stuff sooner. OR you can continue to work on it with each passing day.

Step 4 – Each day use the following list to select just one thing to do relating to family history that day.

*Psst! If you’re a member of the LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) church, add “attending the temple” to that list.  If you’re a member of another faith, include your family history in your worship, via prayer or ponder. It will enhance the entire experience.

That’s IT! You’ll be doing your family history every day.  4 easy steps to get going, and I guarantee you won't to quit when the 21 days is up.  I also recommend recording your experience in brief journal entries as you go.  It counts as family history and will help you remember all that you are learning. My favorite part is to read back on my journal entries from those weeks and see how much happened, even though during the 21 days I didn’t necessarily realize it.

I like to refer to this quote by one of the women I look up to most in my life:
"If you’d like a little more joy in your life, a little more meaning, more heart-to-heart connections, more focus, energy, motivation, more of so many wonderful things, make time to [participate in Family History Work]." --Wendy Nelson
I hope that you’ll accept this challenge and listen to the voice that is nudging you to try it.  Whether you’re an experienced family historian or someone who’s just getting started, participating in 21 days of family history is completely rewarding and teaches you new things each time. I’ve done it 3 times now and intend to start again.

I also absolutely recommend that you check out some of the posts from other amazing busy people at the #FHforChildren Blog Link Up. In fact, after you’re done with the challenge you might just have a post your own you’ll be dying to add.

Until then . . . !

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why—Teach your Kids Family History

Why do you think it’s important to share family history with children?

Admittedly, I struggled with this post. Not because I don’t believe that it’s important to share family history with my kids, but it’s hard to put my finger on WHY.

In preparation for this post the following video kept coming to mind, so I dug it up to share with you.

If just the simple concept of the importance of family to kids can be so powerful  (all for a food commercial, might I add), how powerful then can family be if you include generations of them? Generations of ancestors who came before, who sacrificed, who worked hard, who both succeeded and failed…generations of love and of hurt…generations of pressing on, and generations of families.

It's been my personal experience that Mulan isn't too far off.
 I say that with a bit of a tease, but there is something true about drawing on your ancestors' power, their strengths, and their help; and if you don't know them, and you don't know their stories, how can you draw on those strengths?  I've experienced it and even my young kids have experienced it.  In fact, my 8 year old daughter recently made up her own family history game. I recommend trying it with your young kiddos.
Grab a pedigree chart and a set of dice.  Gather the family or friends around and start rolling.  For each number that you roll, add that many items to the pedigree chart.  Sounds simple, but my husband and I, our two older kids, and my in-laws had a great time exploring our tree together.  The first one to complete their full pedigree chart wins.
Truth be told I couldn't pull the hubs and the grandpa away once they got going. They're the ones who usually pooh pooh it. ;)

The point is, try it.  Try it with your kids.  It doesn't need to be intricate or a well thought out approach--just start exploring your family tree and see how it feels.  There are so many resources out there--go tap into just one.  Then share your experience and help someone else to catch the same fire.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas about sharing family history with kids and teens. Use #FHforChildren to help keep the conversation going, and go visit our blog link up for more great insights:

Happy parenting, until next time!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Untangling the Knots in Your FamilySearch Family Tree

So...this class was born from my recognition that I really do have a very distinct process for managing the messes that I find when doing my family history in FamilySearch. I learned it through picking several peoples brains about their process then adapting it to be my own.  That said, consider this all a guideline then adapt it to fit your brain. I have a very strong conviction that it's important, as a member of the LDS church, to help contribute to the clean up and improvement of the great big tree known as FamilySearch Family Tree.  I've honestly spent most of my time as a genealogist cleaning up messes and have learned nearly all of my researching skills from working through those messes.  It wasn't until recently that I realized that even some who have been doing genealogy for years are just avoiding the so called "messes" because they don't really know how to tackle them.

And so this class was born.

First of all lets define "knots" from the title, or what I've referred to as "messes".  If you've ever worked on FamilySearch you've noticed that you'll often come to families who have A LOT of data problems! Yikes! How did that come to be? Years and years of duplicate work, followed by great attempts to merge, and lots of contributors.  I complain about none of this, because it's the process FamilySearch had to go through since the first declaration that members of the church were given to do their own 4 generation pedigree charts.  In fact, I praise the church and FamilySearch for all that they contribute to the world of genealogy.  Let's face it, without them genealogy couldn't possibly be where it is today, they got a head start by at least 60 years given that the Genealogical Society of Utah (FamilySearch's former name) began microfilming record in 1938 and Ancestry wasn't even thought of until 1990.  So the point is, I'm grateful for every leap forward that FamilySearch makes, which happens often. Thank you FamilySearch!

Sidenote: I think a fascinating class would be the history of Family History!

Okay so let's get to the content.
Here are my slides for the class:

Monday, February 20, 2017

WeGather for Photos and Stories

So this little puppy came in the mail today!
I was super excited to win the WeGather raffle at RootsTech. I feel like I never win, and I honestly didn't know I entered to win, so winning was a complete surprise.  But--I do not write simply because I won.  I have to report on WeGather because it's awesome, and I love the developer!

Stories are the currency of our past, present and future. Without them, we are bankrupt. Since family photos trigger those stories, we should save and share them.
-- Rachel LaCour Niesen

So I met Rachel at her booth at RootsTech, but I had been following her site for months before that. I absolutely love her, I love her passion, her drive, her mission, and all that her site stands for.  We share our passion for photos and stories and she's got some amazing resources. I've learned some great tips and tricks from following her.  She has great insight into photos and stories and how they can impact who we are and who we can become. She has guest posted some great articles for FamilySearch's blog and other great sites.  One of my favorite reads was her guide to metadata. Here's a few of my favs:

I absolutely recommend checking out and subscribing to her site if you're interested:

Also check out her latest tool, featured at RootsTech, WeGather.  I've already used it for a few photos that I didn't know who was in them.  I posted it to WeGather, shared the link with family via FaceBook and watched as the memories, and information flooded in about the photos. It was THAT easy!  A great resources for those of us who have inherited old photos, and have no idea who's in them.  Check it out:

Best of all it's all free, so you can't go wrong! Thanks Rachel for sharing your wealth of knowledge with the rest of us!

Happy photo preservation.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Everyday Genealogy for the Crazy-busy Life - RootsTech 2017

So just finished my last classes at RootsTech today.  I had the opportunity to teach 1 on Wednesday and 2 more today.  It was an incredible experience to have the opportunity share the things I love with so many interested and anxious learners.  If you came to my class, thanks for coming, and I hope that you have tons of success moving forward. I hope that some of you will take the time to share some of those experiences in the comments.

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out in the process.
For those who attended and wanted the links here's a copy of my syllabus and the slides:

Download the Syllabus PDF to use the links

UPDATE: Use the following URL for Zoning 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Preserving your Family History in Fun & Modern Ways -- RootsTech 2017

I've been teaching this class for a few months now and have quickly gathered so many great resources that I want to share, but 1 hour just never seems to be enough.  So I'm going to share some of the class info here, just so class participants can come here to learn more since we won't have a change to address all of the cool programs out there.

First of all here's the class syllabus and slides so you can go visit the links and play around with the programs yourself:

Download the class syllabus with live links.

Then here's a playlist of tutorials I created on YouTube for helping you see how you can use the different programs for your family history creations.  DISCLAIMER: They are FAR from professional, just tutorials I put together quickly using free programs, so I'm sorry they're not higher quality, but hopefully they'll still be helpful.

If you have questions, feel free to comment here, or on the videos, or just email me.  Hope you have tons of fun and success as you start working on your family history creations!

Monday, November 21, 2016

21 Day Family History Challenge

So in December 2015, I was invited by an old friend to participate in a challenge that was issued by Wendy Watson Nelson during her April 2015 BYU Women's Conference address.  If you haven't read the address, you must!! It's long, but super insightful and I LOVE it, I've read it and shared it many times.

When I first read the talk and was invited to the challenge I kind of shrugged it off, "why did I need to do this, I already have a testimony of family history work", BUT something nagged me and I decided to do it.  Let's add to this that the girl who invited me, chose to start the challenge the first week of December, so as a busy mom, that was reason enough to say no, but I decided to bite the bullet.  The next 21 days were filled with discovery, excitement, joy, lots of prayer, and some amazing experiences for both me and those who I was praying for.  I learned more about the power in family history and temple work that week than I had in the previous 4 or 5 years I'd been doing it.  Changed my life, as cliche as it might sound!

So...I did my 21 days, had these awesome experiences then went back into normal life, a year and a half later I found myself in a bit of rut with family history.  The problem was not that I wasn't doing any family history, I was recently called to be an Assistant Director at our local FamilySearch family history center, and was helping others with family history all the time. I was just never doing my own, and I recognized the funk that it had left me in.  I really think once you've experienced the joy & peace that attends doing family history work, you crave it and ache for it when you haven't gotten to experience it in a while.

So with my BYU classes looming around the corner, 21 days out to be exact, I decided to start the challenge again.  It was a WONDERFUL experience yet again, and with the class in my foresight's I felt like I kept getting tons of insight into what ideas I could turn around and share.  This time it also inspired me to make family history a part of my daily life for the long haul, not just for the 21 days, I got to experience how easy it actually is to do this, and more importantly how worth it is.

So my 21 Day report:
21 Days Challenge---
Here's to starting again. I'm going to be dedicated about writing in my journal because I really want to take this seriously this time.  I'm starting the 21 day Family History Challenge again in preparation for my next set of classes I'll be teaching at BYU.

Day 1 -- Eric and I just spent over an hour tagging, sorting, and deleting extra pictures.  It was fun to see what we've been doing the last few months in a nut shell. It's been a crazy summer and fall.  We really do have wonderful kiddos, they make our life so much more meaningful.  I feel very blessed to have my wonderful hubby, he makes my life fun and interesting.  Without him life would just be meh!  I truly love him so much, I'm grateful every day for all he does for me, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to reflect with him.  We are blessed!

Day 2----
Tonight was delightful! I was going online to download the indexing app, because somehow I've never put it on this computer. Weird!! But anyway, I went to to download the Indexing app, and stumbled upon a couple cool things, 1 was a #52stories outline they've come up with for writing your own personal history, definitely something I'll use later this week. 2 was just on the newer version of the site, when you log in it has a feed of recent happenings on your tree.  My "cousin" who I've been working with a bit on getting some of her mother's work digitized has been doing a TON of uploading.  It was SO wonderful to sift through the photos that she had uploaded of my grandfather, his childhood and his mother and even her parents.  Unveiling those types of "memories" is seriously one of my favorite parts of Family History, my heart is changed and filled every time I get that experience.  It makes me so grateful for those who came before who had the preservation bug, what a gift!  I also indexed but only 2 records before I got sucked into the show Eric and I are watching.
Until tomorrow then...

Day 3--
Very tired, so this will be quick. I stayed up too late watching shows with hubby, so I had to slip in a batch of indexing at the end of the night.  Alabama Marriages, they were pretty easy.  I'll be more creative tomorrow.

Day 4--
Today was slightly frustrating in the Family History department.  I actually allotted time today to devote to family history, I even invited a couple friends over, but it almost seems like every time I sit down with that intention, I can't seem to focus in on a purpose.  So I sat there, I read some family history articles, I looked through some uploads, I peeked at my tree and viewed some hints, I attached a couple records from "record hints", but I can't say that I felt like I actually accomplished anything. :( Oh well, hopefully it'll open some doors for some future research.  It was at least fun to hang with some of my friends while sifting mindlessly through stuff.
Happy researching!

Day 5 & 6--
Last night I couldn't get my phone to pull Journey up so I never typed.  I did some record hints through Ancestry last night while I was watching TV with hubby.  Today I'm digging in since it's the weekend.  I just applied to do "zoning" a newer feature with FamilySearch that has you selecting and submitting sections of newspaper to be available for indexing.  Kind of a nice twist to indexing, or a good alternative, a little more mindless. :)  Then I downloaded the #52Stories

Day 7--
Whoa what a weekend!!  Major success!
Saturday I went up to my sister's house for her daughter's baptism.  It just so happens that my "cousin" (my mom's 1st cousin) lives just a couple exits down the freeway from my sister, so I coordinated staying the day at my sisters and heading to my cousin's to do some family history.  She  inherited loads of boxes of Family History albums that her mom put together.  Her mother was a huge genealogist and saved everything.  So we have gotten together on several occasions to work our way through the stuff.  This time I brought my mom and my sister, in hopes that having them assist in the process might be the "hook, line, & sinker" that I've been looking for for them.
We ended up taking the babies, so it didn't go quite as smoothly as I was hoping, but it eventually got rolling, and they both got to experience a little bit of the process.  We were there for a few hours, and got some stuff uploaded, etc...
That day my mom kept bringing up that she couldn't really decide if it was all worth it.  She kept saying we spent a lot of time and didn't really find anything.  You could tell she was troubled about whether that really was an effective use of time.  So after assuring her several times that it was, she had kind of dropped it and moved on.  Then that evening when we were getting ready for bed, she checked her email to discover an email from FamilySearch that indicated that she had a relative with temple work that was ready to do.  I immediately pointed out that this was her evidence form Heavenly Father that her time was in fact NOT wasted that day.  :)  I got super excited, but we got interrupted so it got put on the back burner.  Then...

Day 8 --
My mom was excited and got to work first thing, she even came and woke me up because she needed help knowing what to do next.  So I came up with her and we worked on this family all morning.  We were able to attach several records, and work through the process, experiencing several of the issues that can arise so she got a one-on-one tutoring session working through each of these.  We verified birth, and that they all lived to be 8, and had tons of success, it was hard to stop because we just kept finding more information.
The best part though, not sure exactly what did it but my dad got wrapped up in it too.  He got an email from FamilySearch stating that he had a relative with a record to attach, so we got him going on it and he ended up attaching 3 or 4 records from beginning to end.  It was AWESOME.  I had to take a couple quick pictures because I was so excited that they were both working on their family history.  That is success for the whole challenge if you asked me. ;)

Day 9 ---
Last night I realized it was the end of a long Monday and I hadn't done anything for the challenge yet, so I decided to hop onto memories while laying in bed before going to sleep.  I went to my Great Grandmother Almeda Atkinson Chatterton, who happened to have a recently uploaded Biography written by her first hand.  It was pretty long and it took a while, but I was enjoying myself so much I didn't even notice.  It was so fun to learn more about her, I had no idea what their life was like.  They used to ride a horse to their house when they were first married, the road wasn't good enough to take a car, so they'd park the car at the end of the road and ride the horse the rest of the way up the canyon.  WHAT?!?? That's just my GREAT GRANDMOTHER, not someone several generations back.  She also said really sweet things about her son my grandfather, Willis A Chatterton, which just made me proud.  I love him, though he died when I was only 2, ever since I started researching his wife, Thelma Gilbert Chatterton, I have fallen in love with him via associated research.  I am so incredibly grateful for the time and sacrifices that were put in to getting personal histories written.  I got to read 2 this week, and both experiences were priceless.

Day 10--
I'll write more later, but I thought I'd document that first thing this morning I called my mother and told her that she was causing me not to sleep, because the family we'd found and worked on on Sunday we hadn't reserved their temple work because she wanted to find more information first.  This morning I told her for my sanity she needed to reserve them then we could finish more research later. :) So she reserved her first 8 or 9 names officially! Yay!

Day 10, 11, 12, & 13 --
So obviously I did Journaling on Day 10, so check.

Day 11 --
I finally gained access to do the Zoning website, so I tried it on Wednesday.  Eric was watching game 7 of the World Series so it seemed like a good time to try it out.  The "Cubbies" pulled it off, which also counts as family history or at least the history part, because it was the first time they'd won in 108 years. WHOA!!  It was a pretty good game too, extra innings, and exciting plays to close it out.  Zoning was pretty neat too, it took a while, but it was my first time, I'm sure I'll get the hang of it a little better as I go.  It was fun to see the types of stuff in the paper.  I'll have to try it again soon and see if I can get a more systematic approach.

Day 12 --
Last night I rolled into bed and was about asleep around 11:30PM when I suddenly realized I had completely forgotten to do any family history.  I was SO close to just writing it off and just skipping a day, but I had that nagging thought that no, I needed to do this.  So I grabbed out my list of ideas to do during this challenge that I keep on my phone via Google Keep, and viola "record hints" jumped right out, easy, quick and asleep....BUT I jumped into Ancestry to see if I could just attach a record quick, AND thanks to a shaky leaf, I now have a whole new family that I just found.  I got the marriage record for the couple, and 3 census' verifying the families existence.  I obviously have some additional research to do but I was so excited to find some new family and likely get some new temple work because I haven't had a chance to get any recently.  SO EXCITED!!

Day 13 --
Today was much anticipated.  I met my "cousin" at BYU today, she was kind enough to travel all this way.  She brought her big book of genealogy that is in reference to the family that I've been working on for pretty much the whole time I've been doing family history.  We used the book scanner and scanned 2 of them, the Crunckhorn & Mitchell lines that my great aunt Emmeline Chatterton McKay had put together.  It was a great experience, my cousin and I both really enjoyed just chatting and getting all that info copied was super! I'm starting to sound old, yikes!!  Anyway it was neat and one more thing that I'd like to share, that I've had to work through but it was a cool realization I had today.  So...there's this ongoing debate, like many other's, in the genealogy/family history world about who's work you can do.  So I sincerely feel, like in all things, but I've experienced the clearest in Family History--that it's super critical to be aware of the spirit and allow it to direct you.  There's been lots of times when I've felt the spirit just prompting me to take "cousin" names to the temple.  I'll debate and then end up feeling good about it.  But in May'ish I had a family that I had found, really close to my line that I just didn't feel like I should reserve.  The direction wasn't so clear that I thought I could never reserve it but something just felt like I should leave it for a little while.  So fast forward to a month or so ago, and I was all caught up on temple names, and really wanted get some more.  Well I didn't have time to do any research amidst the PTA and traveling in my life, so i returned to those names intending to reserve them, only to find they were all reserved. BAH!! I kept calm but the more I looked into it the more frustrated I got.  The person hadn't sources, they hadn't added anything they just took them without verifying, which they all could have used some additional sources.  I tried to stay Christ-like about it, but no question it was a constant struggle.  Then it would come up every time I worked on family history, just that kind of frustrated feeling.  Then I was on the phone with one of my cousins last week some time and she mentioned one of her sisters who had never done family history before who was just recently getting really interested in it. She told me that her sister had found a whole bunch of temple names, and was really enjoying it.  After inquiring about her sister's name I discovered that it was the person who had reserved those names I'd found.  I obviously was failing at the trying to be Christ-like thing because my immediate reaction was frustration because I thought, if she has so many (she was giving them to siblings to do the work), why is she taking mine. Blah, blah blah----I've still been struggling to not be upset about it when finally today it struck me.  I had a prompting not to take them, her sister needed some immediate success to get her going on family history, she needed those names I had found, I didn't need them, I've been able to do temple work without them, but she did!  The Lord knows best, and possessiveness isn't part of his plan.  It was a sweet little affirmation that things are in the Lord's hands and I need to trust that, even if it seems "unfair" or whatever.  I'm so grateful for all that I'm learning.  I woke up this morning with the most incredible feeling, I had forgotten how good it feels to be on the Saviors path, I woke up motivated and ready to start the day, read a "gospel topic essay", watched 3 general conference talks while I exercised and just kicked things off wonderfully.

Day 14--
I really truly can't remember what I did this day.  I don't think I forgot to do it, but for the life of me I just can't remember.  I know I worked on something because I was on the FrontRunner on my way back from a party at Jessica's house in Salt Lake and I remember doing something while I was on it, but can't think of what it was.  Oh I do remember uploading all the documents that I had scanned the day before at BYU, and organizing a few things in my family history files.

Day 15--
Sunday I tried this new site, I had tried it in the past but it had been a long time and I couldn't remember how it worked.  I loved it! It's really cool, you can create "stories", built out of pictures, images of documents, audio, and I'm not sure about video.  You date the things and it puts them on a timeline too, it's pretty sweet.  I'm definitely going to play with it some more in the future.  I also helped one of my friends with some of her family history.

Day 16--
Yesterday I didn't have a lot of time because I was working on some Reflections stuff for PTA.  But I wanted to go to the temple today so I took the time to go in and check a few things on my tree, then went over my reserved names to verify which ones I wanted to print.  Then last night I hopped back onto Ancestry to verify some more records.  I'm kind of stuck on this one family.  We have several census' but some of the dates aren't matching so I need to look at it on my computer to clear some things up.

Day 17--
So my Aunt Ruthie (my Grandpa Lyman's sister) passed away over the weekend.  She was such a sweetie and I always enjoyed visiting with her.  So I'm currently in the car with my dad and two of his sisters, and we're headed to Mesquite for the funeral tomorrow.  I'm excited to see Aunt Maime, my kindred spirit auntie and it's really nice to be with my dad and aunties.  So we've been chatting on the way down and I recorded a bunch of the conversation to preserve for later.  It's been great!  I also talked Eric into coming to the temple with me earlier.  For his lunch break we went and did baptisms and confirmations.  It was the names I'd helped Jan and my mom find, so now they can get to work on the rest of the ordinances.  It was great to go with my hubby to the temple, he performed the ordinances when I was being proxy too, which is always cool.

Day 18--
Yesterday was awesome.  I went to my Aunt Ruthie's funeral, not only did I get more memories out of my dad and his sisters, but I got to see a lot of my extended family 2nd and 3rd cousins, my favorite Great Auntie Mame, and many of her kids. Then after we went to Ruthie's house where we found a few gems that we took some pictures of a family heirloom and a photo I don't believe I've ever seen, which was suprising.  Then on the way home I played with my tree a bit, but mostly my family history yesterday was all of the gathering of info and heirlooms, super neat to get to know that extended family better, I felt like it put me in better touch with my country roots. :)

Day 19
Tonight I started creating an online story using Adobe Spark.  I found the program several weeks ago and got really excited about the prospect of using it for family history projects.  So tonight I started building a story of my grandma Chatterton's life.  Doing her life is kind of cheating because I already have everything gathered and in order since I made her a book, but it's good go to images for trying out a new product.  I'm excited about the way it's coming together.  I feel like it could be a good replacement for Google Stories, that Google discontinued earlier this year.  Super cool!

Day 20
So I didn't have success with an actual upload, but I spent some time reviewing some documents for upload from my Great Aunt Emmiline's work.  I checked around to verify that the document didn't already exsist in FamilySearch or other sites, then cropped it and labeled it.  I even uploaded it twice but it was really late and I was running into problems with the labeling part, so I gave up and went to bed.  To be finished another day.

Day 21
Attended the temple.  I woke up early this morning and was lying in bed wondering if I should get up.  None of the ideas I had, exercise, reading, prepping for classes sounded good, until I thought I could go to the temple and still be back in time to get everything ready for Lily's birthday. So I got up threw myself together and headed over. It really struck me then just how grateful I am to have a temple so nearby.  I did some initiatories for the baptism's that I had done on Tuesday, and it was a sweet experience that made for a wonderful day!

A few days later....
It's super late. I'm only writing briefly because everyone I know is asleep, but I was super excited to announce that I just found 20 new people, researched, with several records attached in about 5 hours.  I have their temple work reserved and ready to go, but what I just have to acknowledge is isn't it amazing that I can accomplish that kind of work in that little of time.  This isn't me just reserving "green temples" that someone else took the time to find, it's me finding new family members based off of records, attaching those records, and verifying that they're not already in the system.  Now several of them do likely have spouses and children that I will have the opportunity to find another day, but for now I am just so inspired by the fact that it has become so easy.  The linking tool between Ancestry and FamilySearch makes a world of difference.  Thank you FamilySearch and Ancestry!!
I'm tagging this with 21-day challenge because part of the reason so much came together was because of all the record hints I attached during the challenge. Yay!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Grandpa Winn

So I come from a split home, but only sort of, because I was only one when both my parents got remarried so I never really felt the affects of the divorce.  It was more just a two family world for me.  In my world it was 2 families, 2 Christmases, 2 birthday’s, no problem!!  Obviously there were some challenges related to the situation but no more than your average kid.  In a lot of ways I feel like it helped me to be more well rounded, and I knew from an early age that people have different beliefs, standards, and traditions, and I’ve never really struggled to accept that.  That said, I was blessed with a whole lot of love given the circumstances.  My step parents were both always good to me and their families were always completely welcoming and loving.  My step-dad literally took me in as his own, and given that I lived with he and my mom for the most part, it made me feel like I had a normal family. 

Now that’s just my background for the purpose of my post which is my Grandpa Winn, a man whom I love more than words could express.  He has always loved me like his own, he’s my step-dad’s (it feels weird to even refer to him as a step-dad honestly) dad.  He is literally one of the sweetest men on earth, I love and adore him.

Anyway, so in honor of his birthday this month, I made him a little present, and I wanted to share.


So true to form, I didn’t think about making him something until last night.  I thought it would be fun to do something with family history, but I couldn’t think of what.  My hubby convinced me to drop it because in his words “I would probably spend the whole night trying to put something together, get stressed, then it wouldn't’ work out because it’s too last minute, and I’d just end up angry”.  I could see his point, so I dropped it.  BUT after church today I just REALLY wanted to do something, so I opened up my Pinterest board “Family History Crafts”, and saw an idea like this.  I whipped this together using Photoshop Elements, and photos I stole from FamilySearch combined with some I had scanned.  I didn’t have any photos of the generations before my grandpa’s, thank you FamilySearch Memories.

Voila….I feel like it came together quite nice for a 30 minute project. I tried to print it and put it in a frame, but of course the printer chose to not work, as hubby had predicted. So I ordered it on Costco and it’ll come in the mail to his house this week. Sweet!  Thank you modern technology!  I’ll have to go to the party empty handed, but at least I can tell him his present is on it’s way.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Zoning for FamilySearch

Alright so I had a super busy weekend.  I taught 3 classes this last Sunday at the BYU Family History Library, and what I hadn’t thought to prepare mentally for was the fact that if you’re teaching in the same room 3 classes in a row, you’ll also be chatting & on your feet not only the whole class hour, but also in between classes too.  So from 3-7:30 pm I was talking straight through.  That said, I was exhausted when I was done last night and my feet were killing me. Note to self, no heels when teaching at RootsTech.  Today I’ve been dragging a bit too, BUT I promised my class some info about Zoning on here today, so here it goes---

Zoning, a new tool from FamilySearch.  It’s in beta mode, so it’s likely to change from what I give here, but for now this is where things are at.  It’s a great alternative to indexing for those peeps who are burnt out from Indexing but are still not quite ready to dig into research, OR for those of us who research and just need a new thing to “mix-it-up”.  *This is also a great addition to my Everyday Family History class. 
I heard about Zoning from my neighbor a few weeks back and was excited to try it out.  The first time you log in, as of now, you have to request access to be a zoner, but I got an email back a couple days later and was able to get started.  The wait time gave me time to read the Getting Started Guide provided by FamilySearch and educate myself on the process. It’s well written, concise and I felt confident zoning once I’d read it. I definitely recommend reading before you get started.
Here are a few screen shots to help you get started:
  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Zoning Getting Started”.zoning step 1
  3. Read the “Getting Started With Zoning” page.
  4. Scroll down & complete the form at the bottom of the page, to request access to be a zoner.zoning step 2zoning step 3
  5. Scroll back up to mid-page and download the “Complete Users Guide”. zoning step3.5
  6. Familiarize yourself with the Users Guide while you wait for your access,  it has some excellent images of examples of what to zone and what not to, as well as all the “how to’s”.
  7. Once you receive access to be a zoner via email, visit again. *Make sure that you’re logged into your FamilySearch account.
  8. Click on the purple Zone box.zoning step 4
  9. Voila!! Zone away!zoning step 5

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall Youth Family History Event -- SUCCESS!!

So I haven’t blogged about it yet, but amidst my chaotic summer/fall transition, I was extended a call to serve in the Family History Center here in town.  In the LDS church, we are offered callings to serve in the church, as the church has lay clergy, and thus part of our membership is service in the church.  So, I was ecstatic, or should have been, but due to my over worked, over scheduled, and stressed out life, I didn’t feel a ton of excitement at the time.  I completely switched into SURVIVAL mode, and I think I’m finally starting to surface again.  Big PTA events are behind us now and we just successfully hosted our first big Youth Family History Event at the center, and I’m starting to feel that super excitement that comes with a new calling, especially one that you already have such a passion for. But I must acknowledge the fact that I had awesome fellow volunteers who made the last couple months rewarding amongst all of the chaos, I’m super blessed to be surrounded by so many fantastic people…
The activity was this morning, and was what I would consider a huge success.  One of the youth in our area who has a newfound love for Family History was my sidekick in making plans, and it came together super slick.

We started with refreshments, Rootbeer Brew, and socializing.  Then we got things rolling by introducing them to Relative Finder, an awesome site that draws your Family Tree from, and compiles a list of historical figures that you are related to as well as information about how you’re related to them.  It also has the ability to create a group so everyone at the event can join that group and see how they’re related to one another.
After my cute youth sidekick taught them Relative Finder we handed out some Scavenger Hunt lists.  They teamed up with a partner and off they went.  It was surprisingly fun and successful! They truly seemed to have a good time, and I was enjoying helping them find the hidden treasures of the center.
FHC Scavenger Hunt
After the Scavenger Hunt we grabbed lunch in the classroom and once again my youth sidekick taught them to use various family history apps of her choosing.  It was a great success, the youth had fun and several were interested in being invited to any future events the center puts together. Yay!!
I had to sneak out during this part because I had a date with the devil (my cute hubby) and BYU Football.  Kicking off our trip to the Boise game as a family.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Thank you MyHeritage--link to FS tool

I was super excited to read the news about this new feature earlier this week, but I wanted to take the time to play with the new tool before I blogged to profess my love.
It is a WONDERFUL feature, I'm so excited to have it available now, thank you MyHeritage for being on board. Now if we could just get Ancestry and FindMyPast on board.  I can honestly say that having this tool will drive my research to MyHeritage first before I go searching on the other sites for records, just for convenience purposes.  The tool works slick, and easy.  The only problem I've stumbled upon so far is that it wasn't available with all the records I've found, but the ones it was available on, it worked like a charm. Thank you for making my busy life just that much more simple!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Preserving & Sharing Family History in Fun, Creative, & Modern Ways -- BYU Family History Library Class

This week's class for BYU

One of my favorite parts about Family History is finding unique ways to display my finds, especially the stories & photos that I happen upon...I feel like I constantly find new fun ways to share my family's history, so this class was designed to help you have that same kind of fun.