The generations on either side of me link me to my past and my future. My view of family history involves revealing the roots and the branches.

Throughout this blog you will find perspectives related to the doctrines of temple and family history work from revealed revelation given to living prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

From Hours to Seconds - Time to Find a Record

The FamilySearch Family History Library just turned 30! I remember going to the library as a teenager in the late 1980's. At the time, I didn't know the library was "new" as it was all new to me; family history, microfilm, old books. I remember spending entire days there with my father as we searched and searched through microfilm trying to locate just one document about his family.

Recently I was able to quickly access some of those same records we found nearly 30 years ago right from my home computer. Technology is amazing! I think the above infographic is a great representation of what I have personally experienced.

As I started this post, I felt inspired to share this quote from Elder David B. Haight about technology from 22 years ago:

“The Lord has poured out His Spirit upon His children—which is manifest in new technology, simplified procedures, and expanding resources, which enable us to accelerate our progress in the redemption of the dead.”  
– Elder David B. Haight, “Personal Temple Worship,” Ensign, May 1993, p. 25.

I can't wait to see what technology changes the next 30 years bring!

FamilySearch's Family History Library Celebrates 30th Anniversary

FamilySearch’s Family History Library (FHL) in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, celebrated its 30th anniversary on October 23, 2015. When the new facility was completed in 1985, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was already considered the foremost authority on family history research. During the past three decades, the library has been hailed by genealogists as the top research and collections library in the world—a designation it still maintains—in part, because it has evolved to keep pace with the changing demographics and demands of family researchers and the communities it serves. 

“The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is unique in all the world,” said Diane Loosle, director of the world-renowned library. She explained the focus of the library has always been to increase access to the world’s genealogical records and help patrons make personal family discoveries 

“To the family historian, this library is like Disneyland,” says Loosle, “There’s no place like it. People dream for years of coming. It is the largest facility of its kind and the largest of FamilySearch’s 4883 family history centers globally. Many people begin their journey of discovery at one of our facilities.” 

The Family History Library has been attracting guests and visitors from all corners of the world for three decades due to its expansive collection of resources and knowledgeable staff. “Most mornings before the library opens, people begin to queue up in front of the doors waiting to get in,” Loosle said.  

It appears the masterminds behind its construction had a vision of future demands. Plans that seemed almost grandiose when construction of the edifice was announced in 1983 have not only materialized, but have also led the way through the years to accommodate ever-improving research and information gathering options. It has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1894 as a one- room repository of the Genealogical Society of Utah, just around the corner and up the street in a small building called the Church Historian’s Office at 58 E. South Temple. 

The five-story building in downtown Salt Lake City today continues to serve as a repository and physical point of access for FamilySearch’s now billions of records. Instead of growing numbers of microfilm and microfiche, the influx of new records today continues digitally through online indexing, patron submissions, partner exchanges, donations from various government, religious and private entities and local records preservation and access initiatives world-wide—most of which is made available at 

The library continues to move with digital innovations, benefiting from the latest technology to preserve and provide access to the world’s genealogical records and increase the success of personal discovery. Progress in gathering, copying, and making records available has been dramatic and fast. Over 300 camera teams are digitally preserving historic records worldwide—over 100 million images per year—that are published directly online.  
In this age of 24/7 access to information and growing thirst for digital services, libraries across the nation are evolving to meet the changing demands of the communities and patrons they serve, and the Family History Library is no exception.  

About 25 percent of the 2.4 million rolls of microfilm stored at the Granite Mountain Vault have been digitally published online. The Family History Library itself has about 1.5 million rolls on site. As physical films are digitized, they are removed from the library. Insofar as possible, the records teams plan on digitally publishing all of the microfilm online for 24/7 access. 

In 1985 family history research was a very individual experience requiring each person interested in a specific record to scroll through microfilm or search microfiche. In 1985 over 600 microfilm and fiche readers were housed in the Library. Though microfilms and fiche still play an important, though less frequently used role, a large portion of today’s research is now computer-based. Today the Family History Library boasts 550 Internet-enabled patron computers while still providing access to over 200 film and fiche readers. The Library also offers free access to film, book, and photo scanning equipment to help patrons digitally preserve and share family records.  

The library is the hub of a worldwide genealogical library system—including 4,883 satellite branches in more than 100 countries—called FamilySearch Family History Centers or affiliate libraries.  The library began serving about 2,000 patrons a day or 700,000 a year in 1985, and today, with and its satellite branches, it serves over 45 million guests per year.   

“We know that many people will never have the opportunity to visit the Family History Library in person,” said Loosle. So FamilySearch has been expanding its reach. We want everyone who desires to discover their ancestors to be able to do so, no matter where they live. 

Managing the Library Requires a Village 
Visitors to the Family History Library find an amazing collection of resources collected over 120 years and hosts of friendly people with expertise available to help them. The Library delivers with an impressive cadre of 45 full and part-time staff, and perhaps unprecedented for libraries, 550 full- and part-time volunteers or “missionaries.”  The volunteers hail from all over the world, many of them dedicating up to 18 months—at their own expense—to help patrons make successful discoveries. 

The main floor of the library is specifically designed to assist inexperienced patrons in getting started. The floor has been outfitted with computers supported by volunteers trained to assist beginners. Volunteers and expert reference staff are also available for more in-depth research on the other floors dedicated to records from certain areas of the world.   

On its lower level, for example, is found the largest number of Chinese clan genealogies outside Mainland China.  This level is also used for storing family histories, and overflow films, and books available by request.  Requests for digitalization of these and other personal books can be requested here, and is  done at another facility in Salt Lake or at many of the Family History Centers and affiliate libraries.   

“The library is not a repository for original documents as is the case with specialized archives; it is not an archive in that sense,” noted David Rencher, chief genealogy officer for FamilySearch.  “But it accepts donations of published works of genealogical significance.”  Books and serials are continually added to the library’s shelves—over 600,000 in fact—and the library is heading up an initiative with other public libraries to digitally publish historic books of genealogical relevance online—over 225,000 have been digitally published online to-date.  

Future of the Family History Library 
The library is focused on continuing to expand access to the world’s genealogical record collections to satisfy growing consumer demands.  In 1985, the average patron was mostly retirees or professional researchers.  Today, the patron faces are changing.  It is common to see working professionals, families, and even a growing number of youth amidst the stereotypical retirees and serious researchers,” said Loosle 
Loosle sees a bright future for the library. “The library is still the best place to do family history research and will continue to serve that purpose. In addition, the library has created a lab for testing discovery concepts called the Discovery Centera family-friendly area where families, and particularly young people, can begin the journey of self and family discovery through fun and engaging activities.  Over time, similar experiences are planned to be incorporated in the Family History Library. We anticipate the exciting additions will attract thousands of new patrons who want to discover their family history. 
The library will continue to develop and offer timely, free guest classes broadcasted as webinars.   The schedules, necessary connection links, downloadable handouts, and recordings to past webinars are accessible online through the FamilySearch Wiki. 

The library also hosts a community block party in June.  This year over 3,200 participants came and enjoyed a free family day including bounce houses, face painting, cultural entertainment, family history centric activities and classes.  The 2016 party is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 11.  

Begin your family discovery at the Family History Library, online at or through a local FamilySearch Family History Center.   

RootsTech Announces the First Three Keynote Speakers for RootsTech 2016

SALT LAKE CITY, October 29, 2015— RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, announced today the first three keynote speakers in its all-star lineup for RootsTech 2016. The first general session (Thursday, February 4, 2016) will feature three inspiring speakers, which include New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler, award-winning journalist Paula Williams Madison, and the president and CEO of FamilySearch International, Stephen Rockwood.

Bruce Feiler is a bestselling author and columnist for The New York Times, where he writes the “This Life” column about today’s families. He is also the writer and presenter of the PBS Series Walking the Bible and Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler.

His latest book, The Secrets of Happy Families, reviews best practices for modern-day parents from some of the country’s most creative minds, including top designers in Silicon Valley, elite peace negotiators, and the Green Berets.

“RootsTech is the premier event for people who care about family history,” Feiler said. “I've become a passionate believer in the importance of telling your family history as a foundational tool for having a happy family. I can't think of a better audience to share my own story with.”

Paula Williams Madison is an award-winning journalist who is a former NBC executive. Currently, Madison serves as chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, a media consultancy company based in Los Angeles with global reach. She’s been named one of the “75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise Magazine and was recently honored by the East West Players and AARP with their Visionary Award.

After a successful career in news journalism, Madison retired in 2011 and embarked on a search for her grandfather Samuel Lowe, who returned to his native China after living in Jamaica. Madison produced a documentary film on the topic, Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China. In April of this year, HarperCollins published a memoir of the journey Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem.

Attendees can expect to hear about Madison’s compelling journey, including the resources that helped her. “I used to research and try to locate my family in China. This system will help people like me find their families,” said Madison. “Family to me means bloodline—past, present, and future. You have to honor the past as you live in the present so that you can guarantee a future for your family.”

Stephen Rockwood is the new president and CEO of FamilySearch International and managing director for the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Prior to joining FamilySearch, Rockwood was a successful entrepreneur, creating unique service offerings for worldwide customers and building several businesses from the ground up. 

 “We look forward to another great RootsTech conference as we invite attendees to discover their families in a world-class setting. We are thrilled to welcome Bruce Feiler and Paula Williams Madison,” Rockwood said. “Their personal experiences will be highly inspiring for many as we kick off this exciting conference.

Visit to reserve your seat now to hear Bruce Feiler, Paula Williams Madison, and Stephen Rockwood at the Thursday morning general session on February 4, 2016. Passes start at just $29.

RootsTech 2016 will be held on February 3–6 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I am 2016 RootsTech Ambassador and will be sharing these press releases on my blog in preparation for RootsTech in February 2016.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October is Family History Month

Did you know that in 2001, 2003, and 2005 Congress passed resolutions under the leadership of Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah to designate the month of October as Family History Month.

Here is the text of the October 2005 Resolution from the 109th Congress.

Designating the month of October 2005 as `Family History Month'.

Whereas it is the family, striving for a future of opportunity and hope, that reflects our Nation's belief in community, stability, and love;

Whereas the family remains an institution of promise, reliance, and encouragement;

Whereas we look to the family as an unwavering symbol of constancy that will help us discover a future of prosperity, promise, and potential;

Whereas within our Nation's libraries and archives lie the treasured records that detail the history of our Nation, our States, our communities, and our citizens;

Whereas individuals from across our Nation and across the world have embarked on a genealogical journey by discovering who their ancestors were and how various forces shaped their past;

Whereas an ever-growing number of people in our Nation, and in other nations, are collecting, preserving, and sharing genealogies, personal documents, and memorabilia that detail the life and times of families around the world;

Whereas 54,000,000 individuals belong to a family where someone in the family has used the Internet to research their family history;

Whereas individuals from across our Nation, and across the world, continue to research their family heritage and its impact upon the history of our Nation and the world;

Whereas approximately 60 percent of Americans have expressed an interest in tracing their family history;

Whereas the study of family history gives individuals a sense of their heritage and a sense of responsibility in carrying out a legacy that their ancestors began;

Whereas as individuals learn about their ancestors who worked so hard and sacrificed so much, their commitment to honor the memory of their ancestors by doing good is increased;

Whereas interest in our personal family history transcends all cultural and religious affiliations;

Whereas to encourage family history research, education, and the sharing of knowledge is to renew the commitment to the concept of home and family; and

Whereas the involvement of national, State, and local officials in promoting genealogy and in facilitating access to family history records in archives and libraries are important factors in the successful perception of nationwide camaraderie, support, and participation: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--
(1) designates the month of October 2005 as `Family History Month'; and
(2) calls upon the people of the United States to observe the month with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

The texts of the other resolutions are identical.
October 2001 Resolution from the 107th Congress
October 2003 Resolution from the 108th Congress

What are you doing to celebrate Family History Month?

I knew that October was Family History Month, but I had never read the resolutions until today.

I love this particular section of the resolution:

"Whereas as individuals learn about their ancestors who worked so hard and sacrificed so much, their commitment to honor the memory of their ancestors by doing good is increased;"

That is what I try to do. I strive to honor my ancestors by doing good to others and by respecting my ancestors' sacrifices for my freedom.

How do you honor your ancestors?

Back to the Future and Time Travel

In July I had the opportunity to teach the sisters in my ward Relief Society about family history at our monthly activity night. The theme was "Night at the Movies" and I was assigned the movie "Back to the Future". I have been thinking about that night for the past week as the world just celebrated Back to the Future Day. The date of October 21, 2015 when the movie character Marty McFly went into the future 30 years ago.

I asked the sisters this question and shared with them the highlighted quotes in this post:

If time travel was possible, and you were given a chance to either go backward to see your ancestors or forward to see your descendants, what would you choose and why?

Many chose that they would go back to see their ancestors. A few indicated they would only go back if they could take running water and electricity with them. Some wanted to go forward to make sure everything turned out okay for their descendants.

Well, I believe we can do both!

"We don't have to wait for the ability to time-travel if we do family history now." – Sarah Poe

I love that quote from my sister! We don't have to wait for time travel technologies. We have the ability to go back in time right now to learn about our ancestors. We can search them out from among all the documents and histories in the world. We can find pieces of their lives that we can put together to show the full picture of lives richly lived. We can discover photos and stories and documents that can help us better understand our ancestors and ourselves. We can do all of this right now with the technology we currently have available to us.

I believe we can even ask our deceased ancestors to help us find information about their lives and they can do it! We may receive impressions through the spirit or through dreams. We may have experiences that we cannot explain or are too spiritual to even attempt to describe to another. Though we know they are real! Just as we have a great need to know about our ancestors, they have a great need for us to know them and to serve them by performing sacred temple ordinances in their behalf. We cannot do this work without each other.

President Brigham Young declared: When you lay down this tabernacle, where are you going? Into the spiritual world…Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes they do…. Do they go beyond the boundaries of the organized earth? No, they do not…. Can you see it with your natural eyes? No. Can you see spirits in this room? No. Suppose the Lord should touch your eyes that you might see, could you then see the spirits? Yes, as plainly as you now see bodies [Widtsoe, pp. 376-77].

“According to Latter-day Saint doctrine, the spirit world is the place of residence for all those who have died and are awaiting the resurrection and the inseparable connection of their spirits and bodies. Thus, it is not the place where God the Father, the resurrected Lord, and other resurrected beings dwell. Rather, it is an intermediate condition or state where people await the resurrection—a sphere where disembodied spirits live in one of several conditions according to what their mortal lives have merited.” – Dale C. Mouritsen

“Here those who did not have an opportunity in mortality to receive the gospel and those who had a partial opportunity but rejected it will be taught. In 1893, President Lorenzo Snow, then president of the Quorum of the Twelve, declared in general conference his strong belief “that when the Gospel is preached to the spirits in prison, the success of that preaching will be far greater than that of the preaching of our Elders in this life. I believe there will be very few indeed of those spirits who will not gladly receive the Gospel when it is carried to them. The circumstances there will be a thousand times more favorable.” (Millennial Star 56:50.)” – Dale C. Mouritsen

“We want to sacrifice enough to do the will of God in preparing to bring up those who have not had the privilege of hearing the Gospel while in the flesh, for the simple reason that, in the spirit world, they cannot officiate in the ordinances of the house of God. They have passed the ordeals, and are beyond the possibility of personally officiating for the remission of their sins and for their exaltation, consequently they are under the necessity of trusting in their friends, their children and their children’s children to officiate for them, that they may be brought up into the celestial kingdom of God (DBY, 406).” – Brigham Young

So, yes we can go back in time by discovering the records of our ancestors. As we more fully understand the doctrine of the spirit world we know that after we leave mortality we have the ability to continue to influence our posterity for good. So, yes we can go forward in a sense as well. We can still influence our descendants and can watch over them.

I love this quote from Brigham Young about how our spirits can move once we are no longer confined to mortality.

“But yonder, how different! They move with ease and like lightning. If we want to visit Jerusalem, or this, that, or the other place—and I presume we will be permitted if we desire—there we are, looking at its streets. If we want to behold Jerusalem as it was in the days of the Savior; or if we want to see the Garden of Eden as it was when created, there we are, and we see it as it existed spiritually, for it was created first spiritually and then temporally, and spiritually it still remains. And when there we may behold the earth as at the dawn of creation, or we may visit any city we please that exists upon its surface. If we wish to understand how they are living here on these western islands, or in China, we are there; in fact, we are like the light of the morning. … God has revealed some little things, with regard to his movements and power, and the operation and motion of the lightning furnish a fine illustration of the ability of the Almighty (DBY, 380).” – Brigham Young


And though this is not family history related, our government forces us to experience time travel twice a year with daylight savings ... remember to set your clocks back (in time) 1 hour this weekend!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Memory Jogger Monday - October 26

How did you meet your spouse?

I met Scott online in July 2000. Over the weekend of the 4th of July that year, I had created an account at It was sort of my last ditch effort at finding someone to date. I told myself that I would only keep my account open for one month and if I didn't meet anyone, then I would close the account and be single forever.

It was also Scott's last attempt at finding someone to date. He had been on the service for a little while longer than I. We started writing to each other back and forth over the service.

I was living in Logan, Utah working at Utah State University. Scott was living in Bountiful working at KSL in Salt Lake City. Scott had graduated from Utah State and his family was from Wellsville (in the same valley as the University).

We met in person for the first time at the end of July. I had been in Washington DC for a work conference and flew back into Salt Lake City. I went to Scott's condo in Bountiful to meet him. I had wanted him to come to the airport to meet me; he was concerned about large crowds. I was concerned about going to his place until I found out that his Mom was temporarily living with him while she was serving a LDS mission in Salt Lake City.

So the first time I met him in person I also met his Mom. The three of us went to dinner at Marie Callenders. That was our official "first date". I was 28 and Scott was 29.

See this post for more information about "Memory Jogger Monday": 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

They Called Upon Us, Knowing That We Held the Keys and Power to Redeem Them

Eminent Spirits Appear to Wilford Woodruff
“For the last eighteen hundred years, the people that have lived and passed away never heard the voice of an inspired man, never heard a Gospel sermon, until they entered the spirit-world. Somebody has got to redeem them, by performing such ordinances for them in the flesh as they cannot attend to themselves in the spirit.” He declared, “The Lord has stirred up our minds, and many things have been revealed to us concerning the dead. … The dead will be after you, they will seek after you as they have after us in St. George. They called upon us, knowing that we held the keys and power to redeem them.” 

– Elder Wilford Woodruff, September 1877, Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff: History of His Life and Labors (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1964), p. 495.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Memory Jogger Monday - October 19

Were there two or three food dishes your mother or father made that were especially memorable?

My father made Missionary Breakfast. When he was serving his mission in the Great Lakes Mission in the late 1960s the missionaries only had one frying pan in their apartment. So he would cook the breakfast meat (bacon, ham, sausage) and then remove the meat from the frying pan. In the meat drippings he would cook either shredded or diced potatoes. Then he would add back in the meat (all chopped up) and add in eggs and stir it all together and cook until the eggs were set. Then serve. My father made this for us all the time. Now we make it for our families all the time too. Yum!

My father also made Sourdough Pancakes. When I was little I used to think that they tasted really weird and I would prefer my mom's homemade pancakes or pancakes from a mix. As I got older I appreciated more the taste of sourdough and I loved his pancakes. Now the smell of sourdough brings back so many memories of sourdough pancakes and weekend breakfasts. I want to make some for my family soon.

My mother made Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies. The recipe was from her grandmother Elizabeth Lavon Finch Peterson. I loved helping make those cookies. They are so fluffy and full of bananas and chocolate chips. I make them now for my family and neighbors and friends a few times a month! They are so good. I'm going to share the recipe for them sometime soon on this blog.

See this post for more information about "Memory Jogger Monday": 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

More Sacred Temple Time

Idaho Falls Temple - Photo From LDS Media Library
“Any work you do in the temple is time well spent, but receiving ordinances vicariously for one of your own ancestors will make the time in the temple more sacred, and even greater blessings will be received. The First Presidency has declared, “Our preeminent obligation is to seek out and identify our own ancestors.” 
- Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,” Ensign, November 2012, 93-94.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Memory Jogger Monday - October 12

What foods do you like? What foods do you dislike? Did you have any food or medical allergies?

I love all pasta related foods. I could eat pasta all the time. Breakfast foods are great too and not just at breakfast time. I love fresh fruits and vegetables. I could eat a meal of just corn-on-the-cob; unfortunately my family wants something in addition to "just corn". I love seafood - lobster, shrimp, and crab. Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Italian, and Hawaiian are some favorites!

I am sure there are foods I dislike; I just can't think of them right now. I have a hard time with foods that are too hot or too spicy or meats that are not cooked all the way.

Once when I was younger I had a strange reaction to watermelon. My lips and mouth swelled up. So for awhile I was scared of watermelon. Then one day I bravely tried it again and nothing happened. I love juicy watermelon now. So, perhaps I was allergic to that variety of watermelon?

Sometimes I am scared to try new foods. Particularly if something I already really like is also available. If I'm doing the choosing, it is hard to choose. If someone else chose something new for me and I didn't know there were other choices, I would try the new food and probably like it.

See this post for more information about "Memory Jogger Monday": 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Lord Will Bless Us

Salt Lake Temple ~ © Stuart Gardner
“There are millions upon millions of spirit children of our Heavenly Father who never heard the name of Christ before dying and going into the spirit world. But now they have been taught the gospel and are awaiting the day when you and I will do the research necessary to clear the way so that we can go into the house of the Lord and perform for them the work that they themselves cannot perform. My brothers and sisters, I testify that the Lord will bless us as we accept and respond to this challenge.” 

- President Thomas S. Monson, “Hastening the Work,” Ensign, June 2014.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Memory Jogger Monday - October 5

God the Father and Jesus Christ - Photo From LDS Media Library
Was religion an important part of your family life? If so, what religion did your family practice, and what did it mean to you? Is it still an important part of your life today? If religion was not a part of your life, why wasn’t it?

Yes! Religion is the strengthening threads in my life. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS-Mormon).

My mother was baptized as a youth and gained her testimony in college. Her 3rd great-grandmother and 3rd great-grandfather both joined the Church on the same day in 1832; though they had not yet met. Some of the generations in between her and these pioneers experienced inactivity.

My father was a pioneer in his family; joining the Church at age 19. My parents chose to be married in the St. George Temple in 1969 without their parents present. Their sacrifice to start a new eternal family gave me and my siblings the blessings of being born in the new and everlasting covenant; blessings they did not have for themselves.

My religion is very much who I am today. It's threads are what make my life. The assurances of the Savior's Atonement and Plan of Salvation bring comfort and strength to me. The ordinances and covenants of the temple strengthen me and through them I am able to bless the lives of family members who have gone on before me. The ordinances of the temple are the crowning blessings that binds my heart forever to my ancestors. This is the purpose for all of my family history research; to know my ancestors and to provide earthly temple ordinances for them.
See this post for more information about "Memory Jogger Monday": 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Something Changes Inside Us

Jordan River Temple - Photo From LDS Media Library

“When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves. Our inborn yearnings for family connections are fulfilled when we are linked to our ancestors through sacred ordinances of the temple.” 

- Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Generations Linked in Love,” General Conference, April 2010.