Expanding Our Understanding of Family History

Even if your family tree is complete, there is still work for you to do.

"Take advantages of opportunities to serve your ancestors, not just by doing their ordinance work but by preserving their stories." -Katherine Olson

Photo by Thomas Martinsen

When we think of family history, we often think of perusing birth and marriage records in order to connect generations of families together. In some cases, however, our family trees might already be complete, or there simply aren’t enough records to continue the line. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, what can you do?

When author Katherine Olson realized that most of her family history work had been completed by relatives, she wasn’t sure how to get involved. But after reading “Your Family History: Getting Started” by President Boyd K. Packer, she came to the conclusion that there was something she could still do.

In her article “Family Stories Turned My Heart,” Olson encourages other young adults to record their personal histories and the histories of their parents and grandparents. After the histories are gathered, she recommends “[taking] that information to a Church family history center to learn about the many tools available to help you preserve it and share it with others.” Olson also urges young adults to use all of the resources on familysearch.org along with the FamilySearch app to effectively record their family histories. 

As we preserve our own family histories, we can help fill any gaps in our family trees that might have been overlooked. We can “come to find and cherish [our] own eternal family” and create a stronger connection between ourselves, our present family, our ancestors, and the generations to come.

To learn more about Katherine Olson’s personal story and find the family history resources she suggests, read “Family Stories Turned My Heart.”

Source: Ensign

—Leah Emal, Mormon Insights

feature image by joanna kosinska

Find more insights

Read President Boyd K. Packer’s article “Your Family History: Getting Started to learn more about how to get started with family history work.

Watch “Family History: What I Found” to learn about how discovering more about family history helped a young man strengthen his relationship with his deceased grandfather.

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  1. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have my entire family tree filled out. I have a few relatives who are very good at family history and I do feel like they have done the majority of the easier work. I usually feel frustrated when I try and find names of people since most of my relatives are from Europe and their records are hard to find. I do still have one of my grandmothers and I realize there is a lot I can learn from her. Searching names is not the only method to do family history work.

  2. Pingback: Family History: Level Up  - Latter-day Saint Insights

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