Linda Clyde | Jul 11, 2018

20 Ways to Do Family History in 5 Minutes a Day

If you love spending time on your family history but find yourself overwhelmed, know that you can make significant progress with just five minutes a day. 2018 RootsTech presenter Deborah Gamble shared 20 five-minute tasks with attendees that they can use to keep themselves motivated and progressing in their family history efforts. So, when life starts feeling too busy for family history, give these tips a try:

1) Create a FamilySearch account.

FamilySearch is loaded with billions of searchable records, and millions more are added every year. One of the most exciting things about FamilySearch is that it’s free! Create an account today.

2) Add living people to your family tree.

Adding living relatives into your family tree on FamilySearch takes just minutes. FamilySearch doesn’t add living relatives on its own, so you have the opportunity to manually add your loved ones and ensure that their information is correct. Make sure to mark Living to protect your relative’s privacy.

3) Upload a picture to FamilySearch Memories.

FamilySearch Memories is like a big family photo album that anyone in your family can add to. Take a few minutes to add your own photos and tag them so others will know who is in the photo.

4) Upload a picture to Ancestry.

Ancestry.com is a great family history resource, and you can easily add photos to this site as well. Unlike FamilySearch Memories, photos uploaded to Ancestry must be attached to an individual.

5) Import photos to FamilySearch from Facebook, Instagram, or Google Photos.

Did you know that you can pull pictures directly from your social media accounts to FamilySearch? Once you have a FamilySearch account, visit your gallery and click the green plus sign. This will provide you with the option to import photos.

6) Tag a photo on FamilySearch Memories.

If you’ve recently added photos to FamilySearch Memories, take five minutes to make sure you’ve tagged the photos. Someday, your descendants will thank you.

7) Record a personal memory on FamilySearch.

Did you know that FamilySearch has a special app for your phone called Memories? Through this app you can add photos and information to your gallery. The next time you have a few minutes, download the app and give it a try.

8) Prepare yourself to do a family history interview by visiting the FamilySearch wiki.

Gathering oral histories is a wonderful way to do family history. Check out this helpful resource on the FamilySearch wiki.

9) Create short videos.

Creating short, easily digestible videos is a wonderful way to do family history in five minutes a day. In her presentation, Gamble mentioned a mistake she’d made years earlier: a 90-minute video of her six-month-old on his stomach on the carpet. She explained that nobody will ever watch that video in its entirety. Short videos are easy and preferable to watch.

10) Convert a video file to audio and add it to FamilySearch Memories.

Gamble took a video of her 90-year-old grandmother recently. Because she couldn’t upload a video to FamilySearch Memories, she opted to convert the video file into an audio file that she could upload. She used an app called Video to MP3 Converter. The process took less than five minutes.

11) Complete a FamilySearch Recommended Task.

Once you’ve created a FamilySearch account, you’ll begin to see Recommended Tasks on your homepage. Take five minutes a day and tackle a family history recommendation.

12) Attach an Ancestry source to FamilySearch using Record Seek.

Have you ever found something on Ancestry and wished you could create a source on FamilySearch? Gamble recommends trying RecordSeek.

13) Upload a FamilySearch tree to Ancestry.

This may sound complicated, but it’s super easy! Go to Ancestry.com and click Trees. At the bottom, look for the last option, Import Tree from FamilySearch. At this point you may be prompted to sign into FamilySearch. Give your family tree a name (“FamilySearch” is a good name for this tree), and then click Save. A pop-up window will tell you Ancestry is pulling the data over. Click Continue. When it’s finished, you’ll see a green check mark.

14) Address a Shaky Leaf hint on Ancestry.

Hop on Ancestry.com and address a shaky leaf. This is similar to the Recommended Tasks you’ll find on your FamilySearch homepage. Just look for the green leaf hints, and pick a task to spend five minutes on.

15) Attach Ancestry sources for an individual to FamilySearch.

Have you ever been working on Ancestry.com and found yourself wanting to attach your work for an individual to FamilySearch? Rather than moving the sources manually, did you know you that can link them directly through the sites? On Ancestry.com click Trees, and navigate to the individual you’d like to link to FamilySearch. When you click on the individual, you’ll see in the upper right-hand corner a tiny FamilySearch icon. Clicking on this link will allow you to search for the same person on FamilySearch and then directly link your sources from Ancestry.

16) Watch a short family history video from the LDS Media Library

Have a look at these helpful family history videos.

17) Find a family history center.

Plan a visit to the nearest family history center. Go to FamilySearch.org/locations, type in an address, and click Submit. This will bring up a map. The red icon is the address you’ve entered. The green icon(s) are the nearest family history centers.

18) Search records on FamilySearch

Take five minutes to learn more about a specific ancestor. Visit your Family Tree on FamilySearch and click on an ancestor. Once you pull up their page, you’ll see the option on the far right to search their records on other websites such as Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, and Findmypast.com. Take a minute to see what new information you can discover about someone in your family tree.

19) Mail copies of photos for identification purposes.

Have you inherited photographs from your parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles? It can be impossible to identify people in photos whom you never personally knew. Gamble suggests making copies of the photos on your printer, circling the faces of those you don’t know, and then mailing the copy to someone who might be able to identify them. Make sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope to increase the likelihood of response.

20) Print a family group record for a non-online family member to review.

Those of older generations are not always keen on the idea of spending time on the computer. For those of your loved ones who are less comfortable using a computer, you could take a minute to print off a family group record from FamilySearch and ask them to review it for accuracy.

Click here to watch Deborah Gamble’s full 2018 RootsTech presentation.

Linda Clyde

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