We recently received an email asking:
What do people do for their charts if there has been a divorce and a remarriage?
We recently received an email asking:
What do people do for their charts if there has been a divorce and a remarriage?
Following April 2018 LDS General Conference, I set a goal to do 100 Days of Genealogy. I haven't been perfect, but quite frankly I've done WAY more family history work than I have since doing a family history project for one of my Young Women in Excellence projects. What I've allowed to "count" as family history has evolved, but it basically boils down to: searching for ancestors records in FamilySearch and Ancestry, indexing and doing temple work.
To keep track of my progress, I use HeyHabit. It's this awesome app (accessible as a Chrome extension so your calendar and to-do list come up every time you open a new tab in the browser, an iPhone app, or simply by going to HeyHabit.com) that my husband built to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and focus on creating habits. You can see how I'm doing on my family history goal below. It's been 51 days since I set my goal and I've done some family history work 39 of those days. As you can see from my metrics, I really struggle with Fridays and Saturdays :)
As I've put an additional focus in my life on working on family history, I've felt a much greater love for my ancestors and closeness to them, and on days when I feel I haven't accomplished much else despite my best efforts it's been particularly helpful to me to feel I've done something incredibly worthwhile, even if it only took me 5 minutes to index a batch of names. Want to learn more about the joy of indexing? Check out this blog post. For more details on what I did to get started on my family history this go around (and an easy-to-find, concrete place you can start too), check out this other recent blog post.Continue reading
Indexing is a fantastic way to get involved in family history, especially if family history seems intimidating and you aren't sure where to start. I've found it has become even more meaningful for me as I've engaged in the search for my own ancestors because of the gratitude I've felt for those who have indexed records before me to allow me to find information about my own ancestors lives—for me it feels like a way to pay it forward.
The change to web indexing (it used to be a program you had to download on your computer) makes it fast and easy to get started from anywhere and pick up right where you left off.
Start by going to FamilySearch.org and then clicking Indexing > Web Indexing.
Once you sign into FamilySearch, you'll be dropped onto this Indexing home page. You'll be able to set goals here and track your progress, but to get straight down to business, click the blue Find Batches button.
This will show you all the batches currently available to index. You can choose the difficulty level, language, etc. that you're up for too!
Once you're in your indexing batch here are a couple of my favorite features.
1) Handwriting examples! If you just can't figure out what a letter is, open up this panel and it will give you examples of different ways that letter has been written historically. These have been a lifesaver to me in the past.
2) Special instructions. When I start indexing a new type of record, I like to click through the "?" icon for each field, so that I know what I'm doing—it makes a big difference. For example, did you know when typing a height listed as 6' 1", you should type 6 1 (without the foot and inch symbols)? I'd been doing that wrong for years!
As I index, I can't help but wonder who these people were and what their life story was. I look for connections to my life and family (one person with my birthday so far!) and each time I find one it makes me smile. The greatest joy comes from knowing that as I index, I'm helping make these records searchable so that someone who loves this person and is looking for them can find them. How cool is that?Continue reading
I'm mostly a paper person. I mean, don't get me wrong, the digital age is AMAZING, and the resources we have at our finger tips (specifically in reference to genealogy in this context) are truly amazing. But I have SUCH a hard time keeping everything straight in my head as I click back and forth between different records in FamilySearch (or Ancestry). What's the solution? Use paper too... but be smart about it.
I once tried to print our my entire family tree from FamilySearch in group sheets. I think it works for some people. I mean, I got the idea seeing ladies with gigantic binders of genealogy 4 generations at a time. But it didn't work for me... it wasn't visual enough to give me the full picture.
This time around committing to genealogy, I've done something a little different. First off, we have our custom family tree print hanging on the wall that I use to ground myself in the big picture.
Then I use computer paper, or even better, a large piece of IKEA roll paper to map out the specific family whose genealogy I'm fleshing out, and work on that sheet of paper until it gets too crowded. I make sure that I have all the information I've found recorded in both Ancestry and FamilySearch, take a picture of it and then stick it with my genealogy stuff. In theory, I'll keep it, but if anything happens to it, no harm, no foul.
For me, the big advantage of this paper system is I know where I'm at, and where I'm going, and I can easily track my progress and be thorough and methodical about it, without getting lost in the weeds. There are a million ways to do genealogy, but here's the paper outlining technique that works best for me:
Here's my current working sheet, hanging on the inside of our coat closet for safe keeping. I have it taped such that I can pull it off to work on it, and then mount it back up to keep it out of the way in our tiny student apartment!
And here's a close up of the color system! I'm using purple to represent a marriage record, red to represent a death record and green for if I've entered the information I've found (in Ancestry) into FamilySearch!
What's your favorite system for organizing your genealogy work? I'm always looking to improve mine and would love your suggestions!
As I was perusing stock photos for some inspiration, this gigantic poster hung with binder clips caught my eye, reminding me of the awesome and unconventional way that @magnifyingmotherhood framed her family tree print with binder clips!
I'm no art expert, but this gigantic poster looks like it was hung purely with binder clips (without modge podging onto a thicker board!), using binder clips at the bottom both for symmetry and for a little weight to keep the poster from blowing all around or curling. Genius! It got me thinking, and I continued to browse specifically looking for more unconventional framing solutions.
Turns out there aren't as many as I was hoping to find, but I also loved these two examples of photos hung just with a thin strip of wood at the top and bottom.
It's something I've done before with super lightweight posters in our home, just using rubber bands to hold the two slats of wood together (typically the poster is sandwiched between two slats at the top from which the hanging apparatus is hung, and then also between two slats at the bottom to provide weight and prevent curling.)
If you aren't feeling a DIY on this one, this company sells slats with embedded magnets which look super cool. (Disclaimer: I haven't tried them!) If you are looking for a DIY option, you could go with my rubberband idea (you'll need to replace the rubber bands occasionally because they get old and snap!) or you could follow City Farmhouse's tutorial here. The only downside to this tutorial that I see is that she's nailing her picture into the slats... so you need to be committed to not wanting to do some other framing job with it later, or place your nail holes strategically so they won't show later!
My perusing also led me to these pictures mounted with pushpins onto wooden slats (how cool would this be with a huge family tree chart mounted on a pallet!) as well as this DIY acrylic floating frame. If you're a crafter... happy crafting! (Disclaimer: I haven't done any of these DIY's myself... so craft at your own risk!)
Ready to create a rad family tree chart to frame? Start from one of our family tree templates here.Continue reading
Each person who listens to General Conference has the opportunity to listen to the messages prepared and have different messages speak to their hearts. This most recent General Conference, one of the central themes that stuck out to me was the importance of doing family history work, so I wanted to take some time to collect what was said for my personal edification and thought I would share it with you all here as well!
Sister Oscarson mentioned family history work as one of many areas that young women can be involved in in contributing to their wards and families. She noted the example of
"several young women in the Las Vegas area who have been called to serve as ward temple and family history consultants. They were glowing with enthusiasm about being able to teach and help members of their ward find their ancestors. They had valuable skills on the computer, had learned how to use FamilySearch, and were excited to share that knowledge with others. It was clear that they had testimonies and an understanding of the importance of seeking out the names of our deceased ancestors so that essential saving ordinances can be performed for them in the temple."
Elder Renlund shared an example of the healing power of family history as he told the story of brothers Orson and Parley Pratt--brothers who had had a falling out and were then able to reconcile following the softening of hearts brought about by family history. Elder Renlund shares:
"When God directs us to do one thing, He often has many purposes in mind. Family history and temple work is not only for the dead but blesses the living as well. For Orson and Parley, it turned their hearts to each other. Family history and temple work provided the power to heal that which needed healing."
"As Church members, we do have a divinely appointed responsibility to seek out our ancestors and compile family histories. This is far more than an encouraged hobby, because the ordinances of salvation are necessary for all of God’s children."
He then goes on to provide a bulleted list of healing blessings we gain access to by participating in family history and temple work. "
After sharing the story of a heart transplant recipient, Rod, with his donor family and the blessings experienced there, he reminds us of the words of President Russell M. Nelson.
"We can be inspired all day long about temple and family history experiences others have had. But we must do something to actually experience the joy ourselves...I invite you to prayerfully consider what kind of sacrifice—preferably a sacrifice of time—you can make [to] do more temple and family history work"
This talk was one of my personal favorites from this conference on family history, and I love the list of blessings he gives, as well as the reminder of the directive from President Nelson! Read the full talk here.
Speaking of receiving revelation, President Nelson said:
Speaking of the restoration of priesthood keys in the Kirtland temple, Elder Cook reminds us that Elijah restored the
keys of the sealing power in this dispensation, which is family history work and temple ordinances enabling salvation for the living and the dead.12".
He goes on to say:
"Family history work, heaven-blessed by technology, has dramatically increased in the past few years. We would be unwise to become complacent about this divinely appointed responsibility and expect that Aunt Jane or some other committed relative will take care of it. Let me share President Joseph Fielding Smith’s jarring comments: “None is exempt from this great obligation. It is required of the apostle as well as the humblest elder [or sister]. Place, or distinction, or long service in the Church … will not entitle one to disregard the salvation of one’s dead.”16
We now have temples across the world and the resources of the patron assistance fund to help those in need who are far from a temple.
As individuals, we would do well to evaluate our effort in pursuing missionary work, temple and family history work, and preparations to meet God."
While not overtly referencing family history as the previous talks have done, I thought that President Nelson's parting words deserved a place here as well. He admonished:
"I exhort you to study the messages of this conference frequently—even repeatedly—during the next six months. Conscientiously look for ways to incorporate these messages in your family home evenings, your gospel teaching, your conversations with family and friends, and even your discussions with those not of our faith. Many good people will respond to the truths taught in this conference when offered in love. And your desire to obey will be enhanced as you remember and reflect upon what you have felt these past two days."
Then later continued:
"Our message to the world is simple and sincere: we invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Savior, receive the blessings of the holy temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life.2"
I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to have guidance and direction from living prophets and look forward to studying their messages in the coming months? What were your favorite quotes from General Conference? Share them in the comments below!
Also, if you're a visual person and think that having a visual representation of your family history would help motivate you, come check out our modern family tree charts and preview your personal family history in the template of your choice for free!
*For those of you who aren't familiar with LDS General Conference, it is an opportunity for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (and anyone else who would like to participate!) world-wide to hear inspiring messages and direction from our living prophets and apostles.You can watch and read sessions of General Conference at lds.org.Continue reading
What sizes are your family tree charts available in? How large can I print my genealogy wall print?
Common questions we get that are really questions relevant to the entire printing industry. You have a digital file, but what size should you choose to print to bring it into the physical world?
Many vendors will give you a specific size with the digital file, but when in doubt a good rule to follow is
In computer speak this is often seen as 300ppi or 300 dpi (pixels/points per inch or dots per inch). Printing actual photographs, you may want to go even higher res, but we'll leave that up to the photographers! Here we're focused on family tree charts. And 300 ppi will be plenty!
But how do we take this 300ppi information and answer the question of how big you can print your chart?
The short answer is that we designed most of charts (except for the themed children's charts!) to be printed as large as 24" x 36". If you're looking for a more precise answer, here's how to find the dimensions of your unique piece of digital art on a Mac!
Step 1: Right-click on the file name in your Finder window.
Step 2: Choose "Get Info" from the menu that appears.
Step 3: Divide each of the "Dimensions" by 300, to find the number of inches you can print your family tree chart!
Then just print any size smaller than that, and you'll be good to go! Looking for some more printing recommendations? Check out our printing guide!
Haven't made your chart yet? Get started using one of our amazing family tree templates here.
We love being inspired by our customers and when Kelly over at @magnifyingmotherhood posted this gorgeous picture of her family tree chart we were beyond impressed!
Traditional framing can get expensive (shop the sales!), so DIY non-traditional framing can be a great way to save some money and create an even more custom piece to complement your unique style and space.
How did Kelly create this beautiful display? In her own words:
It was so easy!! I glued it with modge podge onto MDF board and then grabbed clips from Office Depot and hooked them on a nail - simple!!
Note: To save you all some googling, if you're not familiar with it, MDF board stands for medium density fiberboard, and you can get it at pretty much any home improvement store (Lowes, Home Depot, etc.) When I've bought it before, they've cut it to size for me as well, so don't be afraid to ask!
Back to Kelly's setup. Since everyone was also asking about her adorable DIY flower box underneath we'll let you in on her secret. Again in her own words (thank you Instagram comments!)
They were on an old wreath that someone gave me and then it broke. So I ripped off the flowers (they are made of thin wood pedals) and glued them into the wood box. All about repurposing right?
Amen to that! Ready to create your own custom family tree so you can get framing? Choose a starting template here.
Want to check out Kelly's original post? View it here.Continue reading
When we attended Rootstech this year, we had our personal family tree chart on display at our booth, and people were in love. (No joke, 85% of the family tree charts we sold were this black circle template!)
And we can't blame them--it's a personal favorite. But here's the problem. Our chart displays eight generations, and there is not a single blank. It's not a problem in and of itself. On the contrary, we celebrate that those ancestors are known and thank our aunts, great-aunts, grandparents and ancestors who were diligent family historians and worked tirelessly to find those who were lost--we personally can take very little credit. The problem is that it gave our booth visitors the false sense that to be beautiful and impressive, their genealogy wall chart had to be 100% full. Which is 100% not the case. In fact, we're big believers that charts with missing ancestors look amazing! Since it's something we get asked about with regular frequency, we've thought about it quite a bit and will happily recommend techniques for creating beautiful charts with missing ancestors to those that are concerned.
But why do we (in general) have this aversion to gaps? On the deepest level, I believe it comes from our honest desire find and save all of those who came before us and to whom we owe a debt of love and existence. Unfortunately, gaps may also occasionally carry with them feelings of guilt, frustration, and distress. We think to ourselves: "I really should spend more time doing family history!","I'll never be able to find so-and-so's parents! I'm not a professional genealogist.","If Aunt Sue couldn't figure it out, I'll never be able to.","Why don't I have pioneer ancestry going back to Adam like Sally Sue!" and so on. But it's not a competition. Nor is it even a race. Each family is unique and each family history comes with its own unique challenges: lack of records, adoption, family tensions, language barriers, etc. The good news is we can celebrate what we DO know, because we are LOVED and we are a part of something bigger.
During our Rootstech stint, we had a visitor who changed the way even I thought about gaps. She didn't want to just acknowledge them. She wanted to know if there was a way to highlight her missing ancestors, and help them stand out. She wanted to see exactly where there was work to be done and have that be front and center. How amazing is that?
Note: For anyone interested, you can change individual cell colors like this.
There's no one right way to create a family tree chart, and our intention with this post is not to guilt trip anyone into showing every single ancestor they've found regardless of how many almost entirely blank generations they'd have to squeeze into their chart to make that possible. Why didn't we go out to the ninth generation (that does have some gaps!) with our own chart? Maybe we will next time we print it, but we wanted to make sure the text would be large enough to actually read. Display size, readability, and desired aesthetic quality are all important factors not to be discounted. But do be encouraged and not discouraged by the gaps in your family history. Feel the love for those not yet found, as well as for those who are known and choose to be motivated and think of these yet unknown names as opportunities for additional love and bonds yet to be forged.
Ready to make your own custom family tree? Choose a starting template here.