Sunday, May 25, 2014

Remembering our ancestors who died in the service of our nation

When Gen. John Logan gave orders for the decoration of soldiers' graves on that first Decoration Day in 1868, he said:
"We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. ... Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic."  

To help ensure we don't forget, take time this Memorial Day to learn more about your ancestors who served in the military. has more than 100 collections of military records. Also try the National Archives' Access to Archival Databases (AAD).

Fold3, and MyHeritage, all h ave military collections, as well.  Many "premium content" web sites offer free access to military records over the Memorial Day weekend.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Preparing a family name for the temple

Getting names ready for the temple? Make sure that you have collected enough information to uniquely identify the individual for whom you wish to provide sacred ordinances.  The best way to do that is to complete birth, marriage and death information in the Family Tree, including complete dates and places.  Attach several sources that confirm the accuracy of the information.  Sources can include official vital records, census records, cemetery or obituary transcriptions, military draft cards, ship manifests, etc.

Once you have as complete a record as possible, check for duplicate records. Then create the ordinance request with confidence that you are helping create the "book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation." (D&C 128:24)

For help merging duplicates, attaching sources, or creating an ordinance request, stop by the Family History Center!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Honoring Mothers on Mothers Day by Finding Female Ancestors

Do you have a woman in your pedigree who is known only by her first name, or worse yet, as "Mrs. [husband's name]"?  Honor motherhood by getting to know that woman!  Look first to see if you can find record of her marriage, the best way to determine a woman's maiden name. Since you don't know her name, search for her husband's name, plus her first name (if you know it). If you find a record, look to see if she is listed as "Miss" or "Mrs".  You may find her marriage, but discover a prior married name. Keep looking!
Unnamed woman in FamilySearch Family Tree
If you don't know when and where the nameless woman married, start looking for a marriage in the place where the first child was born, a year or two before the birth.  Other records to check include the marriage licenses and death certificates of each of her children, even the children who are not your direct line ancestor. Sometimes you can learn her maiden name by noting the surname of a mother-in-law listed in the same household in a census record.  Be sure to attach each record you find to the FamilySearch Family Tree to create a permanent record of the woman's life.

For help finding your female ancestors, stop by the Family History Center!