Where Do I Start?

by | Aug. 28, 2006

LDS Life

Welcome to the Family History page, LDS Living’s new, each-issue column designed to help you do your family history—and have fun doing it! This column will provide tips on how to get started, where to go, and what has already been done by others. We’ll cover new tools and technology to make it easier, fun, and rewarding. 

It will help you identify and link your ancestors together, and learn more about your family’s place in history. It will teach you to work together with family members, reduce duplication of the work, share your discoveries with other family members, and connect with your relatives from all over the world. Let’s get started!

New Tools

More than a decade ago, President Howard W. Hunter said, “In recent years we have begun using information technology to hasten the sacred work of providing ordinances for the deceased. The role of technology in this work has been accelerated by the Lord himself, who has had a guiding hand in its developments and will continue to do so.”  

Computers and technology have revolutionized the way we do family history today. We can search farther and faster than ever before, and we can record everything we find with just a few keystrokes. Computers allow us to discover, access, store, and share family history information with speed and convenience. In fact, we can accomplish as much in fifteen minutes as our parents or grandparents could in several years.  

The Internet is an excellent and powerful tool to get started searching for your ancestors and family stories, gathering the information, and finding out who still needs temple ordinances. It has become the best and easiest way to access all of the vast resources of information available.  

Some of the most useful web sites are collections of links to other sites, such as Cyndi’sList.com and RootsWeb.com; some are more specific with genealogies from people, such as GenServ.com; some offer useful data like transcribed census records and land records, such as Census.gov, AfriGeneas.com, and the Bureau of Land Management at BLM.gov, and some specifically help you learn how to do family history, such as DearMYRTLE.com. 

One of the most amazing things about using the Internet to search for your family is the ability to network with other people researching the same ancestors. For example, Ancestry.com (a part of the MyFamily.com network) hosts over 100,000 family history message boards devoted to surnames and other genealogy-related topics. And FamilySearch.org points you in the right direction, helps keep you on track, and provides access to the largest family history library in the world—right at your fingertips. 

There many more helpful web sites. For example, you can use the Internet to find out who still needs temple ordinances at FamilySearch.org. The Internet also provides an easy and inexpensive way for you to publish your family history, adding to a rapidly expanding depository of shared family history information. By sharing your information, you can help others in their research and reduce the duplication of effort.  

Most web sites allow free searches, but some require a fee or user registration. If you don’t have a computer or an Internet connection at home, you can use one at a family history center, or your local library or university.  

We are blessed today with computers and the Internet to help us communicate easily with people around the world. Email makes the sharing of family data almost instantaneous. By sharing our information with others, we can reap a rich harvest. Don’t be afraid of learning how to use the computer and Internet. You can do it! 

Loving Our Ancestors

You do not need any previous experience to do your family history today. Everyone can do it! And we’re here to help you learn how. You don’t have to become a genealogy or computer expert. But you do need to become an expert in loving your ancestors. Just trying to find your ancestors and family heritage, and finding out if they need saving ordinances is an expression of your love for them.

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