“Four Ways to Share Family History That May Surprise You,” Ensign, March 2018
Family history can be rewarding in surprising ways. Doing temple ordinances for our ancestors brings eternal blessings to our kindred dead and to us. But sharing photos and stories about them can also bring blessings we may not anticipate.
Once upon a time, in order to share ancestor photos with others, you’d have to transport a scrapbook that was possibly bulky and fragile. But now you can create a specific link to share items digitally. Links that lead to ancestor photos, stories, documents, or audio files loaded in FamilySearch Memories can be sent via email, text, or social media. Once family members click the link, not only will they be able to access the item, but they can also add their own memories and stories associated with the person or photo, increasing the trove of information and creating stronger bonds. These added memories can then be accessed by the entire family, creating an easily shared and extremely safe storage site accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.
Don’t forget—FamilySearch is available for your family members and friends whether they are members of the Church or not. This tool can become a way to build bridges and reach out to people in a variety of circumstances.
The Family Tree mobile app has a fun new feature that allows you to see your relationship to other people almost instantly. To see how you are related to another person, both of you must be signed into Family Tree. Click “More” on the bottom right for iOS or the dropdown in the top left for Android. This opens a page with a green button labeled “Scan for Friends.” Anyone signed into the app and within range will show up in a list on your device, and you will show up on theirs. Selecting the person’s name will bring up a pedigree graphic showing your common ancestor and your relationship. You might be surprised to see how many cousins you have.
Design a family home evening or other gathering centered around ancestors. A meal featuring an ancestor’s favorite foods or native cuisine could be prepared. Stories can be told from the ancestor’s life, and the group could even play one of the ancestor’s favorite games together.
A variation of this idea could be to celebrate the different cultures represented in your family tree. Explore the foods and traditions of each country, and learn a little about the history and geography too—thus helping to bring your ancestors to life.
One family honors ancestors in an activity inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). A shelf in the home is arranged with pictures of ancestors, together with objects that represent favorite belongings and pastimes. This is just one more way to help ancestors feel real to us, creating warm family ties.