The Sabbath can be one of the sweetest, most rewarding times to do family history. The article “Sweeten the Sabbath with Family History” in this month’s Ensign and Liahona magazines give some family history activities that are great for Sundays. For example:
1. Gather Family Stories
Take time on a Sunday to interview family members. Parents, grandparents, and other relatives have precious memories that can be captured. It’s easy to record audio on a cell phone or other devices. Look online for lists of questions that can spur your thoughts and help flesh out the interview. Once the interview is complete, you can upload the text or audio file to FamilySearch.org. Not only does this keep it safe (FamilySearch has one of the most protected databases in the world), but it makes it simple to share with others—family members can access the information simply by logging in to the website. Older children and teens can help with this project, creating lasting connections.
2. Share Family Photos
Add items to the Memories section of FamilySearch. Photos and documents can be scanned and added to your ancestors’ records, making them more complete and interesting. Many people have the technology necessary right in their pockets, with many free scanning apps available for cell phones. As with interviews, uploading photos and documents to FamilySearch safeguards them and makes them readily accessible to the whole family, who can view them simply by logging in to the site. Paper scrapbooks are wonderful, but many people have concerns about repeated handling of delicate documents, or they simply live too far away to easily share a paper scrapbook. Collecting these items online in the Memories section of FamilySearch resolves these concerns.
3. Add Living Relatives
Maybe your four generations are complete. Have you added your living relatives to FamilySearch? Because records of the living are private, living persons must be added to FamilySearch manually. For example, if your sister has added her living children to her family tree, they won’t show up on your tree automatically. A great Sabbath project would be to add these living relatives to your own tree. There is something beautiful about seeing both the branches and roots of your tree, giving your family a sense of the eternal. And now that FamilySearch can show profile pictures on various charts and pages, another Sabbath project could include uploading and attaching photos to the living records you create. This fills the pedigree with faces, increasing our sense of connection. Choose from traditional pedigrees, vertical tree charts, or fan charts, which can be printed out and framed.
4. Write Down Your Stories
Write your personal history or a history of your parents or grandparents. FamilySearch provides a place for both stories and life sketches—use them in whatever way suits your family.
One way to tackle this project is to visit FamilySearch and learn about the #52Stories project (see familysearch.org/blog/en/52stories). You’ll find 52 questions designed to spark memories about the people, places, and events that have mattered most in your life. Start anywhere. You’re more likely to stick with the process to completion if you allow yourself to tell the stories that feel the most compelling in the moment. You can always rearrange the order later. Encourage other members of the family to participate. Choose or modify some of the questions so they appeal to younger children.
Read more ideas in the article “Sweeten the Sabbath with Family History.”