Maegan Kasteler | Oct 10, 2018

10 Easy Tasks to Enhance Your FamilySearch.org Experience

During the 2018 RootsTech conference, presenter Devin Ashby discussed 10 easy tasks to help you get started in FamilySearch. Devin currently works for FamilySearch helping to make family history easier for people in Latin America.

Here are Devin's 10 quick start tasks for FamilySearch:

Task 1: Create an Account

This may sound a bit redundant, but it is truly the first step in getting started using FamilySearch. FamilySearch has always been completely free, and always will be. Devin explained that the reason why FamilySearch believes in being a free resource is because "Family is exciting, and it's fun, so the experience of discovering them should be as well."

Signing up for a free FamilySearch Account gives you access to free storage, mobile apps, collaboration of resources, and billions of records from around the world.

Task 2: Add a Name

Adding names and discovering our ancestors allows us to stay connected to them and learn about them. Devin explains that the autofill features on the website are helpful when adding names and making sure dates and locations are standardized.

A member of the audience also pointed out, as Devin affirmed, make sure you check to see if your ancestor is already there before you add someone new.

Task 3: Download Your Fan Chart

 

This one is a pretty easy task to complete. You can download your fan chart and save the document to your computer, send it to others through email, and all sorts of other things. Print one out today to share with your kids and other family members.

Task 4: Find a Record or Hint

FamilySearch has billions of records to search through to find sources for your ancestors as well as to help you fill gaps in your family tree. FamilySearch allows you to search records from all over the world. Many records also include images you can look at either on FamilySearch directly or on one of their partner websites.

With more records being added every day, FamilySearch has also employed the help of record "hints" to help users sift through the masses of records. These little blue boxes that pop up lead to potential matches to your ancestor in indexed records.

Task 5: Index a Batch

Users who index records are the reason that all these record hints are possible. Previously you needed to download software onto your computer in order to index. Now it is all online! Devin also pointed to the need for indexers who are familiar with languages other than English.

Task 6: Download the Mobile App

FamilySearch has developed two different apps to help you with your family history. The FamilySearch Memories app allows you to focus on and manage your memories. The FamilySearch Tree app provides the full FamilySearch experience with some added mobile benefits you can't experience on a traditional browser.

In the FamilySearch Tree app you can view memories, access hints, map your ancestors, and add documents, write stories, record audio, and add photos. All this together really allows you to take family history with you wherever you go.

Task 7: Upload a Photo

 

Recently the developers at FamilySearch have added the ability to import photos directly from Facebook, Instagram, and Google Photos. As a final hint, Devin encouraged us to make sure we tag people in the photos that we upload so those images can be attached to them.

Task 8: Add a Story

Adding stories to your personal profile and attaching them to your ancestors can help add greater depth to your family history. Devin explained that you can think of FamilySearch like a filing cabinet. You can use it as a way to file away those stories, photos, and documents of you, your children, and your ancestors, and they will be stored safely and never destroyed.

Devin also encouraged you to make it a family activity. It really is the simplest way to keep a journal. All you have to do is upload a photo and write about it!

Task 9: Upload a Document

Before you upload any document, make sure it does not contain sensitive information. However, uploading documents like obituaries or other newspaper articles, pages from family bibles, letters, and other documents can help add more details about your ancestors' lives.

Task 10: Record Audio

 

The last task, and consequently the last type of source you can add to your family tree, is to record audio. This allows you and those who come after you to hear your family members tell their own stories in their own voice. Think of how priceless an heirloom that will become for your family and the generations to come.

Recording audio to add to FamilySearch is easy with the FamilySearch app, and Devin gives the advice that "if you can hear it, you can record it."

Watch the whole session here.

 

Maegan Kasteler

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