I attended a recent event about family history over Zoom for my ward (church congregation). The event involved three or four people who each presented in a different breakout room. One of the presentations was about adding memories to Familysearch.org. By attending that class, I learned an idea that I’m going to put into full force for the rest of my life. What is that idea? It’s that familysearch.org, particularly the “memories” section, is God’s Scrapbook!
This is a major shift in my thinking. I had been thinking that familysearch is just for adding photos and audio clips of deceased people, like the one at the very top of this post, of my great-grandmother, Ethel Windsor, who is the little girl in the photo. I watched the video above a few years ago. It presents the idea that familysearch.org is like a museum of your ancestors. So I started thinking of it as a place for pictures of ancestors. But the presenter pointed out that we can be adding photos and audio clips into the “memories” section for those who are living, including our children. She showed us how to do it and called it “God’s Scrapbook.”
Ahh! This is is so ground-breaking! I’ve been into preserving memories for years. My life, however, happens faster than I can preserve it. Because I am an idealist, and want my memories preserved in perfect scrapbook pages that capture the theme and intensity of the event with colorfully coordinated specialty acid-free scrapbook paper and embellishments, alongside words to document each photo, I can’t keep up. That all takes a lot of time and money. Henceforth, out of my seven children, the progress I have made on documenting their lives in a scrapbook is ridiculously, painfully, pathetically slow.
I dutifully made a scrapbook album of my firstborn, a boy, covering the first two years of his life, with acid free paper and glue, and lots of borders and stickers. More children came along and what with homeschooling and the other duties of keeping them alive and fed, I am still stuck on my oldest daughter’s baby album. She’s 25! I haven’t gotten past the second month of her life!
Actually I had added a few memories of my two older boys, from their mission, into familysearch.org. So my thinking had progressed from viewing familysearch.org as a repository for dead people’s photos to a place to put living people’s memories. But I had only thought that “super important” memories go there. I had only put in some missionary letters from my two older boys’ missions.
But this presenter showed us how she has been adding tons of miscellany memories of her children and grandchildren, all living. She had audio clips of her grandchildren giving talks in Primary, pictures of their recent Easter family picnic, and ball games of her grandson. She said she loves scrapbooking this way because she knows it’s going to last forever. She doesn’t have to deal with paper and glue. It goes super fast and it’s super safe.
I agree! This can go so much faster. You can do it from your phone using the familytree app. You can use photos from your Facebook, Google photos, and Instagram accounts. You don’t have, however, the “hold a book in your hand” factor that you do with scrapbooks. That’s the only drawback. We might not always be able to have access to electronic devices. So I’ll continue to do Chatbooks. I have been making photo books using Chatbooks, but you can’t add audio clips to Chatbooks. So now I’m going to do both. I’ll preserve memories of living people, especially audio clips, in both familysearch and chatbooks. I’ve made Chatbooks on and off for Christmas the past few years. I like to make a Chatbook for each child for their “meaningful” gift on some years. See my post on Three Gifts for Christmas Tradition here.
Happy scrapbooking in God’s way! Go over to familysearch.org and get started today! I’ve included a bunch of videos here in this post to help you learn how to capture and organize your photos and audio clips in familysearch. You can even do this on your phone, using the familytree app and photos from your camera roll. God indeed does think of everything! He is providing painless ways for harried moms like me to do a little bit of “family history work” everyday. It’s so important and healing to have family stories and pictures prominent in our brains.
The video below shows some new features of familysearch.org, as of Feb. 27, 2021. I love the new “Discovery Pages” of each person. It takes the features of Family History Discovery Centers to each person’s page. Amazing!