Friday, April 19, 2019

Family History Missionaries Wanted

Many of you know that my main "retirement project" is family history.

I am presently in the 4th year of my third part-time ("stay at home") mission with the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (specifically in

But I have a problem. We are losing missionaries faster than we are gaining them. Issues such as declining health are preventing many of our family history missionaries from continuing. We really need recruits.

What is involved?
  • Previous experience in family history is expected.
  • You need a computer with at least Windows 7 or an equivalent Mac, and high speed internet.
  • You need to be able to serve at least 15 hours per week (more during training),
  • You apply to serve a part-time mission from home.
  • When you are accepted, you are called by your stake president and set apart by your bishop as a Church Service Missionary assigned to serve in Family History. 
  • The mission trains you to use our online tools to help our patrons.
  • You do a few hours of mentored help with phone calls and chats with Registration and Log-in issues.
  • You select a specialty: Family Tree, Historical Records, Indexing, Family History Centers, Outreach
  • You are trained in your specialty.
  • You are assigned to a team based on where you live.
  • You do a few hours of mentored help in your specialty.
  • Now you take cases yourself, supported by our teams.
  • There will be a weekly team meeting and a specialty training meeting to help you keep up to date with the latest changes and technology issues.
It is a wonderful opportunity to serve! 
Sometimes when the phone call comes in the patron is in tears, and in a few minutes you can send them on their way rejoicing. Do you ever wonder whether you really receive inspiration? When you are serving with us, you will find your thoughts led to answers you would never have thought of on your own. A member of my team, said, "I have had more spiritual experiences in a few short months of this mission than during my entire full-time mission!"

I served for many years in a Family History Center, Most evenings we drove to the city for our shift, no patrons came, and we drove back home again. It was a great opportunity for my own personal research, but I could do that at home. In contrast, our mission currently has a 4-day backlog of email cases waiting for answers, and during busy times of the day we may have 10 or 20 patrons on hold waiting to talk to us. We need help!

I sometimes get asked, why do you keep applying for a family history mission? What makes you keep coming back? When I have prayed to know "How can I be of the greatest service?", my answer has been "Serve a family history mission."

Are you interested? You can email, or call 1-855-346-4774 toll-free.
Online info

Do you know someone else who might be interested? Please give them this information.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction

Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction

If you missed this session of RootsTech, be sure to watch the recording, as Elders Bednar, Renlund, Stevenson, Anderson, Christofferson, Soares, and others gathered with members of a ward council to show us what we should be doing in our wards. 

Also suggest it to your Bishop, Elder Quorum President, Temple and Family History Leader, and others. 

1, 2, 3, or 4 ... which structure does your ward use?

Sunday, March 3, 2019

RootsTech 2019

It was a wonderful conference. I sneaked as much viewing of the live streaming as as possible. At present I see links to the following at


Thursday General Session: Patricia Heaton
February 28 2019

Connecting Your DNA Matches: Diahan Southard
February 27 2019

Friday General Session: Saroo Brierley
March 1 2019

Getting the Most Out of Billions of Records on MyHeritage SuperSearch: Mike Mansfield
March 1 2019

Finally! German Church Records and How to Use Them on FamilySearch: Trish Melander
February 28 2019

Perilous Assumptions: Revisiting Those First Finds: Kris Rzepczynski
February 28 2019

Making the Leap - Becoming a Professional Genealogist: Luana Darby, Valerie Elkins, Anne Teerlink
February 28 2019

Saturday General Session: Jake Shimabukuro
March 2 2019

The Silent Language of the Stones, Reading Gravestones through Symbols and Carvings: Joy Neighbors
March 2 2019

Trace the Story of Immigrant Ancestors in 3 Steps: Susan R Miller, D. Joshua Taylor, Frederick Wertz
March 2 2019

Uncovering Family Stories with British and Irish Historic Newspapers: Myko Clelland
February 27 2019

Why and How to Put Yourself into Your Family History: Scott Fisher, Amy Johnson Crow, Curt Witcher
March 29 2019

Leading with Science at 23andMe: Sarah Laskey
March 2 2019

Connecting through Music and Dance: Derek Hough
March 1 2019

Hear them Sing! Social History & Family Narrative: Rebecca Whitman Koford
February 27 2019

What's New on FamilySearch: Ron Tanner
February 27 2019

Heirloom, Documentation or Junk: What to Keep or Toss: Janet Hovorka
February 28 2019

What You Don’t Know about Ancestry: Crista Cowan
February 28 2019

Examining Your DNA Matches with DNA Painter: Jonny Perl
March 2 2019

The Research Road Map, Your Path to Success: Amy Johnson Crow
March 1 2019

Discover Your Japanese Ancestors: Valerie Elkins
March 1 2019

Essential Considerations for DNA Evidence: Blaine Bettinger
March 1 2019

Wednesday General Session and Opening Event: Steve Rockwood
February 27 2019

Jake Shimabukuro’s Musical Keynote Pays Tribute to Those Who Came Before
March 2 2019


The story of Saroo Brierley, the boy from India, adopted in Australia, using Google Earth to find his lost home in India was particularly amazing.

There was lots of practical and inspirational material presented.

In one session, Anne Teerlink, one of the speakers referred to the fact that when she started RootsTech in 2010 it was a much smaller event. I thought she was just referring to the first time she had attended RootsTech, then I saw a slide of her university degree. It said "Anne Roach". Wow, she really was the dynamo who launched RootsTech! Suddenly everything she said took on a whole new dimension.  (Of course, in 2010 she was 9 years younger, and had short black hair, but she was the same person.)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Current Tech Issues on FamilySearch

We have been experiencing some tech issues over the past few weeks. The engineers are working on them, but we do not know when they will be resolved.

1. The GEDCOM system is working again. Patrons can upload GEDCOM files to Pedigree Resource File, and then view the records and add them to FamilyTree if they wish.

2. The 1851 jurisdiction maps for England and Wales are not working.

3. The Source Linker sometimes fails, especially if Microsoft Edge is used as the browser. For best results use Chrome.

4. The current version of Edge brings up a server error when trying to open sources and some other historical records.

When Microsoft finishes transforming Edge to use the Chromium rendering engine, the issues should disappear. We do not know when this transformation will be completed, but we expect it to be completed as soon as possible.

5. When viewing the list of people tagged in a story, Firefox will only show the first 5. There should be a scroll bar to scroll through the list, but there is not. Chrome works fine.

6. Ordinances Ready is a replacement for being given unrelated names by the temple. It works nicely for this purpose, and the names will usually be related to you.
Patrons should not expect Ordinances Ready to reserve large numbers of names, as that is not its purpose.
To print names for a patron you will need to sign in as their helper, on the website or the app.
If Ordinances Ready prints cards for sealings where the parent's ordinances are not completed, we suggest that you use the cards. It is preferred that the parents' ordinances be completed first, but if they are done out of sequence, they are valid ordinances that become effective when the previous ordinances are completed and they are accepted by the deceased people and by the Holy Ghost.

Reminder: The process of replacing the computers within a family history center is handled directly from the Family History Department. This is done on a replacement cycle and based on budget availability. Centers should not be directed to the FM group for replacements.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

2-Year Temple Reservations Expiring Soon

A recent posting on the home page of refers to this. It may be confusing, as the article it points to in the FamilySearch blog is from last year. Oops!

But the November-December time period is when Temple Reservations have expired in recent years, so we expect it will happen soon.

What Happens:
Ordinances reserved prior to 1 May 2016 will be released.

1. Any ordinance for that person has been completed since 1 May 2016. (This re-sets the clock.)
2. The ordinances have been shared with the temple.

If you have printed a card but the ordinances have been released the card remains valid. But just before using it, check that no one else has printed a card for the same ordinances. If they have, please destroy your card to avoid duplication of ordinances.

For further information, please click the link above.

Ordinances Ready

Ordinances Ready
A recent addition to the FamilySearch Family Tree mobile app is Ordinances Ready. It allows you to quickly find a few family names to take to the temple. The basic concept is to provide you with enough to accomplish during a single visit to the temple. So you can print cards for up to: 5 baptisms and confirmations, or 5 initiatories, or 1 endowment, or 5 sealings to spouse or 10 sealings to parents. And you are allowed 90 days to complete them, or they revert back to their previous status. This tool is for hastening the work, not for reserving large numbers of ordinances that never get done. I like it. To print additional cards for youth baptisms, I need to sign in as a Helper. Or have the youth print out their own cards.

From Ordinances Ready you can print the temple cards, or give the 16-digit number to the temple office and ask them to print the cards.

A web-browser based version of Ordinances Ready can be tried out on the Temple tab at  When the beta testing is completed, we expect it to be available at In the meantime it works in the iOS and Android versions of the Family Tree mobile app.

For the latest information, a good source is Ron Tanner's video blogs. He is the general manager of the FamilySearch Family Tree.

Ron's blogs gave me additional information on using Ordinances Ready, beyond what is given in the
knowledge article Using the Ordinances Ready feature to easily find names for the temple (542303)

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Missing Apps and Missing App Gallery

A few weeks ago the FamilySearch App Gallery became the Solutions Gallery. The link at the bottom of most screens takes us to the re-designed page.

What is the difference? Presumably it allows the scope of offerings to be expanded beyond apps. But in the short term, about 30 apps have ceased to be available there. This includes some favorites such as Find-a-record, and All-the-stories. According to the information at, a change to the FamilySearch API (application programming interface) makes it too costly to conform to the new specifications. That is really unfortunate. I hope that new Solutions will become available to fill the gaps, but old favorites will be missed.

One popular use of find-a-record was to find family names to take to the temple.Some other apps for that purpose seem to have vanished as well. But there is something new. Check out the Ordinances Ready function in the Family Tree app.