Monday, April 16, 2018


This is the second in a series of blog entries about the program called “Discover, Gather, Connect.” In the last entry, I discussed the advancements in the world of family history since the 1970’s from my own personal experience, ending with the idea that we have finally “arrived” at the point of readiness for the “Discover, Gather, Connect” process. In the first of these three interconnected  stages, “Discover,” we are encouraged to use a wide variety of methods to find out more about our family, both living and deceased. We follow the spirit to find out whom we should discover information about and how we should go about finding it. Additionally, we find that our own particular skills and interests will guide us to a focus within family history that allows us to be creative and to share our skills and knowledge with others in our close and extended families. For instance, we might choose to focus on: restoring old family photos, planning family reunions, visiting courthouses and cemeteries in areas where our ancestors lived, writing about ancestors, understanding and teaching the science of DNA, using social media to connect with distant cousins, creating newsletters, gathering family recipes, creating videos, researching, etc. As we discover new information in an area that interests us and for which we have a natural inclination, we are able to add our creative knowledge and skills to those of other family members.  We strengthen each other, and the work of connecting families is accomplished. “Discovering” how we can best serve others is critical as we “discover” our ancestors. Next week I will focus on the “Gather” stage of the “Discover, Gather, Connect” process. I hope these ideas have been helpful.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Discover, Gather, Connect

Advancements in Technology
Advancements in the world of family history moved somewhat slowly prior to the availability of personal computers. I remember doing family history as a young adult in the 1970s. Many records I needed to prove birth, marriage, or death were still only available in book or manuscript format, with the more modern ones of the time stored on microfilms and microfiche.  These storage devices seemed highly advanced during that time. Most records were not indexed, so searching them was a long and tedious process and often did not yield results.

Then the age of computers began to gain momentum, and the rapid changes it has brought to family history work is phenomenal. The ease in which we can locate primary and secondary records seems almost impossible when compared to the work it once took to find them. I’m not complaining! I marvel at the way we use the new technology in the field of family history, and I am humbled to see the Lord’s hand in these rapid advancements. Because of the rapid changes in technology, programs in the LDS church relating to family history work have changed a number of times over the past few decades in an effort to keep up.

Discover, Gather, Connect
The newest program in family history is a process called “Discover, Gather, Connect.” As we learn and grow in our efforts to connect our families, we will find this new program a natural step in our progression. The previous program, called “Find, Take, Teach” helped us to encourage LDS members to become more prayerful in their efforts to find and take ancestors to the temple and then teach the process to others. “Discover, Gather, Connect” is the next logical step for us to take as we learn to take advantage of all of the information and technology available to us today. While “Find, Take Teach” was a linear process, the new program is interactive and circular.

Additionally, while “Find, Take, Teach” focused on finding names to take to the temple, “Discover, Gather, Connect” helps us focus on our ancestors as real people. We find out more about who they were and come to love them as members of our families. Since this blog is not the place to write a book, I will come back next week and discuss the first in this process, the “Discover” phase, followed in succeeding weeks by “Gather,” and “Connect.” Please log in next week for some good ideas in putting these steps into action.

~~Sister Mary Flegel~~

Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas Traditions Around the World

Last year we started a Christmas tradition called, "Christmas Traditions Around the World" and is great fun for the whole family.  We have continued the tradition this year and have had a wonderful response from the community.  All of the evenings have been well attended and enjoyed by all.  We only have one week left for this special event.  We hope you will look at the attached calendar and come and join us.

Christmas is a special time when people all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in many different ways.  It is wonderful to hear about traditions where families and friends come together to celebrate this special season.

We hope you will all have a wonderful Christmas and that we can all be a little more kind and patient with each others and find ways to help each other.  Life holds many challenges for all of us.  Let's help each other and help create peace on earth.
Merry Christmas from all of us at the FamilySearch library!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Have You Ever Wondered What to Do With All Those Photos of Your Ancestors?

A few months ago, FamilySearch had an interesting blog on the process of digitizing these photos.  They broke things down to six easy steps to help you get started.

If you are interested in reading more about this process, click on the blog link below.

Link to Digitizing Photos

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Using Your Smartphone for Family History

Image result for smartphone imageBelow is a great article from FamilySearch on using your smartphone for Family History.  It bears repeating.   It is found at this site:

In the old days, researching your family’s history probably required making a trip to the library while lugging around a briefcase stuffed with pads of paper, pens, old journals, newspaper clippings, cameras, and various other documents.

But things are different in 2016.

While today’s family history enthusiast will likely carry a laptop and an audio recorder, research trips no longer need to be bogged down with briefcases full of information. In fact, you’ve probably got all the tools and information you need right in the palm of your hand, thanks to your smartphone.

Smartphones today are essentially small, powerful computers with the capacity to connect to the Internet, take high-definition photos, and even record audio. Some smartphone apps allow you to take your genealogical data with you wherever you’re researching.

You can use your smartphone for genealogy work in many ways. Here are three of the most useful.

Find Ancestors Using Cemetery Apps

Image result for cemeteryAt one time or another, we all hit a brick wall in our research. Perhaps you just can’t seem to find your great-great-grandfather’s place of birth. It’s easy to get discouraged when this happens. So what should you do? Why not hop on your smartphone and use a cemetery app?

“A lot of times I’ve had success finding information about my ancestors using cemetery apps,” said Crystal Beutler at the 2015 RootsTech conference. “You can look for your ancestors in these databases, which are made up of information submitted by cemeteries, historical societies, and volunteers like you and me.”

Beutler acknowledged that many cemetery apps are available but said that her favorite is Find A Grave. “Not only have I found pictures of headstones [with Find A Grave], but I found obituaries, biographies, photos of individuals. It’s really exciting.”

The app also provides a place where genealogists from around the globe can collaborate and assist one another in their research.

For example, if you can’t find an image of your great-grandmother’s headstone within the app, you can request that a photo of the headstone be taken and uploaded. One of over 200,000 volunteers worldwide could respond to such a request, taking and uploading the photo in a short amount of time.

The Find A Grave app is available for download on the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Edit and Enhance Family Photos

Let’s say you use your phone scanner to get an image of an ancestor, but unfortunately the image appears grainy and unclear on your smartphone screen. How do you improve the quality of this precious image? Well, lucky for you, there are apps for editing and enhancing images right on your phone.

“Facetune is a great way for fixing portraits that are old and damaged,” said Rhonna Farrer at the 2015 RootsTech conference. The photos below were edited using this app.

Edit and Enhance Using Your Smartphone

 is available for download on the App Store and the Google Play Store.

But Facetune isn’t the only photo-editing app to choose from. If you’re looking to make your family photos shine just a little more, consider downloading Farrer’s own Rhonna Designs Magic app.

“Rhonna Designs Magic is a photo-editing app that I developed, and, among other things, this app allows you to not only improve the quality of photos but also make them pieces of art so that you can use them for family scrapbooks, personal histories, or planning family reunions,” said Farrer.

You can also download Rhonna Designs Magic on the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Record Family Voices

When it comes to preserving family memories, perhaps nothing brings family history to life like hearing the voice or the laugh of a grandparent or cousin.

“FamilySearch Memories is an app where you can organize photos and stories,” Farrer said, “but the thing we love about this is that you can record and save interviews of family members. It’s easy to record just from your phone.”

To record a family memory in the app, simply tap the Audio button on the bottom right. To record a family interview, tap the green + in the upper right corner of the screen. Record a family story, and then tap Done at the bottom of the screen.

Download the FamilySearch Memories app from the App Store or the Google Play Store.

What smartphone apps do you use in your genealogy work? We’d love to hear about them! Tweet us at @RootsTechConf.