Thursday, September 24, 2015

BOOT CAMP - Lesson 4 - Cemetery Searches

 Cemetery Searches

First an explanation about these programs.  People just like all of us go out into the cemeteries, take pictures, write down all information found at each grave (birth, death, etc) then post it to one of these programs.  Each program has specific details on how to submit information but anyone can participate. Once info is posted online, it is available free of charge to all of us searching our family. Great things can be found in some of these cemetery records - pictures, family history, obituaries, names of parents and siblings.  NOTE: not all info posted is correct as many gravestones are difficult to read and sometimes the person taking the info does not write it down correctly.  Also, some info on Find a Grave especially, may be submitted without ever finding the actual headstone (someone who has info about a person and their burial info can actually post it as though they actually found it in the cemetery). Sometimes this info can be incorrect also (I know because I have found some instances on both of these situations).

Let's start with Find a Grave - found at

The HOME page has 4 sections from which to choose.  (Find Famous Graves, Find Graves, Questions and Answers, and Forums, Store, etc.)

Choose Search Grave Records (under Find Graves).  Type in a name of a deceased person and see what happens.  If you have specifics like birth or death and location, enter it but if you find nothing, start removing some info. If you still find nothing, try removing different info and leaving different info. Also try the full name. Again, if you get nothing, try just a letter for the first name and the full last name.  You need a last name but if you know of alternate spellings, you might try them. If you have an unusual last name, search for it and see who all come up!

-  You can also try Search for a Cemetery (Cemetery Look-up). If you don't know the name of the cemetery, just type in the state and county and all of the cemeteries that have been entered (some cemeteries have not had their info submitted) will show. Once you find a cemetery and select it, you can search through the whole cemetery (in ABC order) or do a search from within the cemetery by typing in a name.

Note: If you have a question or might want further info on a person, check to see who submitted the information.  Often you can email them or ask them a question.  Some are great to answer. I even had a man go back to the cemetery for me and looked up some additional information.

Billion Graves found at - this is very similar to Find a Grave. People take pictures with their phones (after they have registered and downloaded the app) then they upload the pictures.  Other people transcribe the data from the pictures for the website. Then the information is available for searches.

Headstone Search - type in a name (use info as stated above for Find a Grave). If you want to put in more information, click on the words "Check out the Advanced Search Page". This will open a page with the options Person Look-up or Cemetery Look-up.

There is a lot more available at both of these sites so after you've done a few searches, take a look around the sites and see the other information they offer.

Friday, July 31, 2015


What does it mean to “Fuel the Find?” Indexed records are like the fuel that gives  the power to connect people to their missing family members.  Every name you index adds another drop of precious fuel that can help someone else to find their ancestors.

You can help Fuel the Find! 

A service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Historical records, documents, important moments in our ancestors’ lives are recorded and are often kept in archives around the world. 

FamilySearch volunteers create digital photographs of millions of these records. These digital images are sent to FamilySearch for publication online. Volunteers index (transcribe) information from the images to make it searchable by computer. Indexed information is like “fuel” that helps people search billions of names in seconds. Indexing also powers “hinting” — where the computer automatically displays records that match information about your ancestors. It has never been easier to find information about your ancestors.

You can help Fuel the Find!

The Worldwide Indexing Event is coming August 7-14, 2015, and this year it’s one week long! Join volunteers from around the world to help “Fuel the Find”. You have one week to participate by indexing at least one batch in the language of your choice. If you are fluent in a non-English language, challenge yourself by helping to index in that language. We are especially looking for help indexing French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish records.
This year we’re going for a record 100,000 volunteers (the current one-week record is 91,721), but big numbers mean more when we’re helping meet the greatest need. English speakers have billions of records to search on—20 times more than all other languages combined! Let’s help everyone across the world to find their ancestors too! All it takes is one batch indexed sometime during the week to be counted.
So please join this wonderful World Wide Indexing Event.  
Remember, all information on 
is FREE.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

BOOT CAMP Lesson 3

Summertime is always so busy but there are some things that you can do with your family to bring a little "Family History" into your home.  This bootcamp will focus on "the group" and things you can do for Family Home Evening, at a Family Reunion, or just to keep the kids busy. Use your imagination and pick some activities this month (and all summer) to help everyone do a little something in the Family History department.

1.  Journal writing - Using a loose leaf binder, as often as you wish (every day - once a week), you choose a topic and write about it.  Be sure to date your page and give it a title. I like to use the "Journal in a Jar" method.  It makes choosing a topic more fun.  

2.  Cemetery Scavenger Hunt - Take the family (or group) to a local cemetery and have them look for fun things - like someone who fought in the Civil War, or the Oldest person in the cemetery.  HERE are some more fun things to do at a cemetery.

3.  Online Detective - Another scavenger hunt type of thing but doing it online. Have everyone look for topics to do with your family tree - like find out how much a carpenter made in the 1700's, 1800's and today, type in the family last name to see what all comes up, find out what kinds of houses your ancestors may have lived in during the 1800's, etc.

4.  Food - have an Ancestral Meal where you cook only things from a time period and country of one of your ancestors.  Try to cook using only the utensils that they may have used.

5.  Family Game - Make a game using pictures of your ancestors (or your family now!).  Examples might be:  Bingo, Life, Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, etc.  

6.  Recipe Book - When gathering everyone together this summer, have them bring their favorite recipes and family stories about food.  Put them together for a treasured memory.

Now, use your imagination and think of something YOUR family can do this summer to either make family history for future generations or bring the past to the present by learning about your ancestors.

***  Please let us know some of the fun things that you or your ward members have done.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

BOOT CAMP - Lesson 2 - Updating Individual Information

Summer is coming and that means there will be lots of time for families to gather whether it be for picnics, visiting, special family nights, or family reunions.  What a great time to ask the "family history" questions.  Last month you practiced moving around in your family tree on Family Search.  This month let's try to fill in some of those empty spaces and do some fun things along the way. (Refresher of last month click HERE)

1.  Check out your Family Tree - start by signing in (remember this is found on FamilySearch).

2.  Pick an ancestor (let's start with someone deceased but close to you like a parent or grandparent)
3.  Click on their name then click on Person. You should be in the Details View.  Look over the details to see that everything is correct and that no major information is missing.   HERE IS A BIG HELP - look to the right side column. You might see a section that says RECORD HINTS.  Click on some of them and see what they have available.  Isn't this a great feature?  If something is missing, then this is where you should start.  If there are no record hints, check with family members still living to see if they have some information that can help fill in some of those blanks. If they don't, try a search (on Family Search) to see if there is something that will help you find this missing info).

4.  Update the info for your ancestor (if you forgot how or need help click HERE).  Be sure when you review the info that you click REVIEW AND ATTACH if this is correct information for your ancestor.  This will document the information so others will know that this is correct.

FYI - Some names may be spelled incorrectly or information incorrect even to the point you might not think it is your relative.  Click on the name anyway just to check it out.  You might be surprised at what you find.

5.  While you are in the Person view, click on Ordinances to make sure all of their temple work has been done.

6.  If you have time and feel confident to do more, check out the Memories section.  Here you can add photos, stories, and even audio files.  We will get into this memory section in more detail later but check it out and try it if you like.

7.  Move on to the next ancestor and repeat this process.  Your goal is to make sure all temple work is done for your family and to do your best at making sure their information is correct.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Relative Finder

by Julie 

Ever wonder if you've got some long-lost cousins out there? Relative Finder allows you to see how you are related to other people’s friends, coworkers, prophets, historical figures, and more! Relative Finder, is a certified program from The Family History Technology Lab which is part of the Computer Science Department at Brigham Young University. It is found at

In order to use Relative Finder, you must have an account with FamilySearch. Login in to Relative Finder using your FamilySearch account login and password and discover who your are related to.

In the Sandpoint Stake we have a group you can join. Using your mouse, hover over the word "groups" then click Join. In the search field type Sandpoint Idaho Stake   (spaces between words - you may need to use caps but no punctuation). The password is   MyFamily   -  no spaces but use caps on M and F.  In Settings you may also edit your display name. If you are a woman you can include your married name so others in the stake can identify you. FamilySearch lists women by their maiden names yet in Relative Finder you can hyphenate it to also include your married name. (If your birth name is Mary Jones but your married name is Smith you can use your name as Mary Jones-Smith.)  For help, contact your ward consultant or Family History Director. 

Check with your stake to see if you have a group.  If not, maybe you can be the one to start it.  You can make a group for your family, your friends, clubs, etc.  It is a wonderfully fun site so check it out!

Friday, May 1, 2015

BOOT CAMP - LESSON 1 - Getting started on Family Tree

Every month we will have help for you to get started or progress in your search for family information.

Use these training ideas to help you learn the ins and outs of Family History. 

For additional help, email us at
It helps to have an interest in your family to go from the - Yeah, I love my family - to - I love my family enough to help us be united for eternity.  Help your love for your family grow by getting involved in your family history.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has taken the work out of Family History. Find our family and their information has become so much easier. Today we are going to take the very first step to learning how to do Family History. Some of you may be long past this stage and for you, I encourage you to keep going.  For those of you who have not started doing any kind of research, let's start at the beginning.  This information will also be very helpful for those you are teaching.

We will be working with Family Search and a few sites that will not only be interesting and informative, but also fun. Just click on the highlighted words to get more information as you go along.

This month we will be getting the "feel" for Family Search.  You will get logged on and do some simple exploring before we actually get started on researching. Take some time to look at your family tree and follow through on some of the lessons available.


1. Log onto or sign up for an account.  

To Log on - Go to Family Search home page and in the upper right hand corner (using your LDS account or your Family Search user name and password) click on Sign-In.

To open a new account - Go to the  home page of Family Search in the upper right hand corner and click on Free Account 
or click HERE (watch video) to learn how to sign up.  You do not have to be a member of the church to sign up for an account.  Note:  You will get a message in your email that you will need to confirm to finish the account sign up.  

2.  Now let's learn a bit about using the Family Tree - click HERE for basic instruction on how to use Family Tree.   Practice some of the things taught and be sure to "connect" YOU with your ancestral lines if that has not been done.  If you still do not understand this step, please ask your ward/branch consultant for help, visit your Family History Center, or email me at

NOTE: Family Tree mostly works with deceased people.  If your parents are still living, you will need to manually add them - refer to the instructions given in step #2.

This course will help you get a good start on understanding Family Tree.  We will discuss many of these topics covered in more detail in future newsletters.  HERE is another place to go if you have questions.

by Diane (Sandpoint Stake Family History Consultant)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Family Home Evening

This last week for Family Home Evening, our son and his family came for dinner and a lesson.  Our lesson was on Family History.  We started by watching a cute little video to help start everyone off with an interest in doing family history.  After the video, we divided into groups.  I had 4 computers and assigned 2 or more to each computer.  My mother lives with us so my son was assigned to her. The oldest child was assigned to my husband, the next child to me, and their mom took the two little ones to help with her assignment.

Each child (counting my son - the dad of these kids - as a child) was to interview their person about a parent or a grandparent.  As the interview went along, the child typed what was being said in a word program.  When all was finished, each group then made sure the writing was corrected then published it on our Family Tree in FamilySearch.  It was more of a training assignment to teach how easy it is to add information to your ancestral lines.  Everyone was excited to actually accomplish this goal.

My daughter-in-law also ended up contacting FamilySearch by live chat to help her resolve a problem in her family tree.  She had her son (who is living) in there twice.  With the help of the "live chat" person (you can find this in the upper right hand corner of the FamilySearch screen under Help), she was able to delete one of the accounts so she now only has one child by that name.,

This was a fun and very successful family home evening and a great way to help others learn how simple it is to add information to their Family Tree.

For more information on how you can add stories to your family tree, go to and sign in (you will need to open an account to get to your own family tree - if you are a member of the LDS Church, use your record number.  This is a FREE program for everyone - not only members of the church).  Once you have signed in, you will see YOU as the first person.  You will then need to link your family members to you.  This program mostly works with deceased people.  You will need to manually add the living relatives to your tree.  When you get to a deceased person, try doing a search to see if they are already in the system somewhere.  When you find the right person, click to add them to your tree line.  If they were not in the system, you will need to also manually add them.

Once a person is added to your line, you can add photos, stories, and much more.  Go to FamilySearch and click on the Learning Center (click on Help in the upper right hand corner and then click on the learning center) or click HERE.

For more information and/or help, go to your local Family History Center for some one-on-one assistance.