your family tree

It’s really quite fascinating how the tree motif appears so frequently in an LDS mother’s life. Her breast ducts are in the structure of a tree, and these breasts can be trees of life to her baby. The placenta has the same structural network of a tree. Then there’s the tree of life in the plan of salvation, which is Jesus and the love of God that he manifests. Then there’s the family tree.

Eternal life would not be complete joy without being with the ones we love, and ideally the ones we love the most are those who make up our family tree. The love that a husband and wife share between them, and the love between parent and child, is among the greatest love a human can experience. Why has a tree come to be associated with the family? If you take a pedigree chart and tip it sideways, you will see why. You become the trunk. Your ancestors are your roots and your descendants are the branches.

We are told in  the scriptures to seek peace on this earth by focusing on temple work. Doctrine and Covenants 98:16 says, “Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children.” This is the key to world peace.

(The family history wall at my brother’s home.)

So sisters, it’s time to get going on the family history research, and not leave it to Great Aunt Gladys or insist with the lame line that “It’s already all done ” When you think of all the branching lines that come off each person due to siblings, it is impossible for it to be all done already. Even if you have a pioneer ancestor, or many, like I do, all the work is not done.

Not all of that ancestor’s siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles joined the Church, and they haven’t all been found. Just last night I found three generations of family members branching off as a brother to my pioneer ancestor who joined the Church and came to Utah. These family members stayed in Mississippi, and I signed on to get the temple work done. I didn’t even have to leave my warm family room out into the cold winter night to do this work!

A fascinating and encouraging story by a busy young mother of how she fit in family history work amidst all of her demands appeared in the August 2006 Ensign, pages 34 to 38. It’s by Kim Sorenson. See…. Read it! It’s really good. I loved her descriptions of the blessings that flowed from doing this work. Because of her sacrifices to do family history research, she was blessed with HUGE blessings. Her family’s health was better, her appliances and cars broke less often, and she was able to attract clothes her son needed for his scout trip at a garage sale for a really cheap price.

So let’s get started! Watch these videos for help:

I suggest getting a fan chart printed out so you can see at a glance what the bare branches are. This video shows you how to get a fan chart of 9 generations. It’s really cool! I like seeing all these generations at once.

Here are three places to get started:

Here’s how to find a record in five minutes:

Here’s how to record your family history:

Here’s how to find challenging information:

Here’s a video to introduce a fantastic new tool on It allows you to have a compact “bird’s eye view” of descendants or progenitors, by putting them into a circle, so you can quickly spot the holes, or dead-ends, in your family tree.

I love how this video shows you can get together with someone else for help:

Here are four family history experts who show how to honor our ancestors:

I also suggest the following resources:

These YouTube channels:

These websites:

  • (if you are LDS then you get a free membership, talk to your ward family history consultant about how to register for free)
  • BYU’s Relative Finder which will automatically pull in all of your data from to tell you what famous people, Mayflower Pilgrims, authors, and European Royalty you are related to.
  • shows pictures of gravestones with related information about the person whose gravestone it is, including relationships. It’s so fun!

What are some of your favorite family tree resources that I haven’t listed? I would love to know!

Here is my powerpoint I use for my “Family History Joy” Webinar. It is full of awesome, comforting quotes about the power we get from family history and temple work.


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