I’ve been interested in family history and genealogy for about ten years. With some gaps in between, I’ve been reviewing and identifying old family photos and entering family history data into a genealogy program on my PC and on a genealogy wiki called We Relate. This being Memorial Day Weekend, it is an opportune time to write briefly about researching family history.
In the past, if you wanted to access the full resources of the Mormon family history library, you had to travel to Salt Lake City or visit one of the regional research centers.
More recently, the church has been electronically indexing all of their records and developing web applications for allowing anyone to find and see those records, using a browser from the comfort of their own home. The Mormon’s online research portal is called FamilySearch.org. I have used it to find and download historical documents about our families. I then upload those records to our family history wiki at WeRelate.org.
The FamilySearch.org site is changing and improving again. A new beta site has been released. It is impressive in both scope and simplicity. Right from the main search page you can enter a name and a birth date/place or date and place of death about one of your ancestors. The search engine will then present you with information about people in their massive database that meet those criteria. The odds are good that your relative will be found.
From their, you can access, view and download historical records and documents.
Something new and useful that the beta site has introduced is an indexing service. If you access one of the online documents, you can add indexing information about the document and upload it to the site. This allows the community of users to improve the quality and quantity of family history data that is available to others.
If you are looking for hobbies and activities to explore in a pre-retirement phase of your life, genealogy is one that you should consider. Curiosity, time, and a computer is all you will need. The results of your “hobby” can be shared with others, a reward and legacy from your efforts that everyone will appreciate.
Here is the link to the beta site. FamilySearch.org