The summer and early fall has been busy for our family. But in between all the busy-ness, I’ve attempted to build our family tree at Family Search. It’s a little different than Ancestry, which I used until I cancelled my account last fall.

howtousefamilysearchLate this summer I noticed Legacy Family Tree had a webinar called: “How to Use FamilySearch.org for Beginners by Devin Ashby, a project manager at FamilySearch. He’s been working for them for nearly a decade. It’s nice he works for the organization he’s explaining, gives him more credibility in my mind! Although I was unable to view the webinar during it’s live broadcast, it’s in the “free” gallery for anyone to watch anytime.

At the beginning of the webinar he briefly goes over the history of Family Search. Did you know they originally started out as The Genealogical Society of Utah? That was clear back in 1894! The number of records, the number of people participating, as well as the number of people in their tree has increased over the years. At the time of the broadcast (September 21, 2016) there were 5.4 Billion searchable records.

In 2015 they had 1.1 billion people in trees and nearly one and a half million contributors. That’s a LOT of family history from a LOT of people!

This next statement by Devin caught my attention:

We believe free is best. Free access is something Family Search works very, very hard for. However, there are instances where we go out and do deals with archives or governments or companies and in the agreement that’s drawn up, sometimes access is limited to certain audiences…or there is an embargo for records that might take a couple years….but when we can, when it’s possible and when it’s doable, we always try to make the records and the tools we provide free for everyone.

After an introduction about how Family Search works, he does brief demos on using Family Tree, Memories, Search, and Indexing. I just love it when webinar presenters go out live and “show” how to do things instead of just explaining it.

One of the cute things he mentioned while showing how to view your family tree in fan chart mode were the families who say, “Oh yeah, we all have printed fan charts. We use them as place mats so our family can eat with their ancestors!”

Devin also adds, “We’ve printed off some of these family fan charts so our daughters can see their family members, and we put it next to their bed so they can remember who they come from.”

I love these ideas. This excites me! Getting children interested in genealogy early ensures our family line/history will be carried on by the next generation. I didn’t get interested in family history until much later in life, even though my family had reunions religiously every year. It wasn’t presented in a format that was at all interesting to my brain as a child. I remember whining, “Please, Mom, do I have to go this year? Again?”

Family Search not only believes in preserving records and making them available in your tree, they also believe in preserving who YOU are. He says it’s like a museum of ‘me’ or ‘we’. Don’t wait until your obituary comes out to tell your story. Do it now, and save it in Memories in Family Search.

If you don’t watch the webinar for any other reason than to see the memories his kids have added and preserved in their own Family Search accounts, go view the webinar. Absolutely darling! I am positive their kids and grandchildren will love what they thought needed to be preserved in their younger days.

He also explains and shows examples of the apps available: Family Search Tree, and Family Search Memories. I can speak from experience about these, because I have both on my phone. And tablet! They are great ways to find ancestors on the go. Or show living family members their ancestors. They also work great if you’re out researching in a library or cemetery, and you need info about a specific ancestor.

But the best part is you can catch stuff when it happens, either by photo or audio. Once that moment is gone, it’s gone forever as far as capturing it. Yes, you can write about it, but seeing or hearing it in the moment is so much better. Quickly capture family history with the Family Search Memories App and immediately upload it to your tree on Family Search. How easy is that?

Legacy Family Tree WebinarsAlthough the Family Tree webinar says it’s 1 hr and 56 minutes long, don’t let that scare you away from all this helpful, useful info! The actual webinar is less than one hour. There’s the intro, then the full webinar. After the webinar, there’s a wrap-up, prizes, questions and answers.

At the end the host, Geoff Rasmussen, does what he calls an “After Webinar Party” where he explains how Legacy Family Tree’s genealogy software can be used with what you’ve learned in the webinar. That’s about a half hour. If you can sit through the four minutes of welcome and intro, I promise the Family Search for Beginners webinar will be worth your hour investment of time.

If you’re not familiar with FamilySearch.org, this webinar is a great intro to it’s dynamic features. If you’ve been using Family Search for a while, you might even find some features you haven’t used.

How has Family Search Tree worked for you, or have you ever used it?

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