Monday, November 21, 2016

21 Day Family History Challenge

So in December 2015, I was invited by an old friend to participate in a challenge that was issued by Wendy Watson Nelson during her April 2015 BYU Women's Conference address.  If you haven't read the address, you must!! It's long, but super insightful and I LOVE it, I've read it and shared it many times.

When I first read the talk and was invited to the challenge I kind of shrugged it off, "why did I need to do this, I already have a testimony of family history work", BUT something nagged me and I decided to do it.  Let's add to this that the girl who invited me, chose to start the challenge the first week of December, so as a busy mom, that was reason enough to say no, but I decided to bite the bullet.  The next 21 days were filled with discovery, excitement, joy, lots of prayer, and some amazing experiences for both me and those who I was praying for.  I learned more about the power in family history and temple work that week than I had in the previous 4 or 5 years I'd been doing it.  Changed my life, as cliche as it might sound!

So...I did my 21 days, had these awesome experiences then went back into normal life, a year and a half later I found myself in a bit of rut with family history.  The problem was not that I wasn't doing any family history, I was recently called to be an Assistant Director at our local FamilySearch family history center, and was helping others with family history all the time. I was just never doing my own, and I recognized the funk that it had left me in.  I really think once you've experienced the joy & peace that attends doing family history work, you crave it and ache for it when you haven't gotten to experience it in a while.

So with my BYU classes looming around the corner, 21 days out to be exact, I decided to start the challenge again.  It was a WONDERFUL experience yet again, and with the class in my foresight's I felt like I kept getting tons of insight into what ideas I could turn around and share.  This time it also inspired me to make family history a part of my daily life for the long haul, not just for the 21 days, I got to experience how easy it actually is to do this, and more importantly how worth it is.

So my 21 Day report:
21 Days Challenge---
Here's to starting again. I'm going to be dedicated about writing in my journal because I really want to take this seriously this time.  I'm starting the 21 day Family History Challenge again in preparation for my next set of classes I'll be teaching at BYU.

Day 1 -- Eric and I just spent over an hour tagging, sorting, and deleting extra pictures.  It was fun to see what we've been doing the last few months in a nut shell. It's been a crazy summer and fall.  We really do have wonderful kiddos, they make our life so much more meaningful.  I feel very blessed to have my wonderful hubby, he makes my life fun and interesting.  Without him life would just be meh!  I truly love him so much, I'm grateful every day for all he does for me, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to reflect with him.  We are blessed!

Day 2----
Tonight was delightful! I was going online to download the indexing app, because somehow I've never put it on this computer. Weird!! But anyway, I went to to download the Indexing app, and stumbled upon a couple cool things, 1 was a #52stories outline they've come up with for writing your own personal history, definitely something I'll use later this week. 2 was just on the newer version of the site, when you log in it has a feed of recent happenings on your tree.  My "cousin" who I've been working with a bit on getting some of her mother's work digitized has been doing a TON of uploading.  It was SO wonderful to sift through the photos that she had uploaded of my grandfather, his childhood and his mother and even her parents.  Unveiling those types of "memories" is seriously one of my favorite parts of Family History, my heart is changed and filled every time I get that experience.  It makes me so grateful for those who came before who had the preservation bug, what a gift!  I also indexed but only 2 records before I got sucked into the show Eric and I are watching.
Until tomorrow then...

Day 3--
Very tired, so this will be quick. I stayed up too late watching shows with hubby, so I had to slip in a batch of indexing at the end of the night.  Alabama Marriages, they were pretty easy.  I'll be more creative tomorrow.

Day 4--
Today was slightly frustrating in the Family History department.  I actually allotted time today to devote to family history, I even invited a couple friends over, but it almost seems like every time I sit down with that intention, I can't seem to focus in on a purpose.  So I sat there, I read some family history articles, I looked through some uploads, I peeked at my tree and viewed some hints, I attached a couple records from "record hints", but I can't say that I felt like I actually accomplished anything. :( Oh well, hopefully it'll open some doors for some future research.  It was at least fun to hang with some of my friends while sifting mindlessly through stuff.
Happy researching!

Day 5 & 6--
Last night I couldn't get my phone to pull Journey up so I never typed.  I did some record hints through Ancestry last night while I was watching TV with hubby.  Today I'm digging in since it's the weekend.  I just applied to do "zoning" a newer feature with FamilySearch that has you selecting and submitting sections of newspaper to be available for indexing.  Kind of a nice twist to indexing, or a good alternative, a little more mindless. :)  Then I downloaded the #52Stories

Day 7--
Whoa what a weekend!!  Major success!
Saturday I went up to my sister's house for her daughter's baptism.  It just so happens that my "cousin" (my mom's 1st cousin) lives just a couple exits down the freeway from my sister, so I coordinated staying the day at my sisters and heading to my cousin's to do some family history.  She  inherited loads of boxes of Family History albums that her mom put together.  Her mother was a huge genealogist and saved everything.  So we have gotten together on several occasions to work our way through the stuff.  This time I brought my mom and my sister, in hopes that having them assist in the process might be the "hook, line, & sinker" that I've been looking for for them.
We ended up taking the babies, so it didn't go quite as smoothly as I was hoping, but it eventually got rolling, and they both got to experience a little bit of the process.  We were there for a few hours, and got some stuff uploaded, etc...
That day my mom kept bringing up that she couldn't really decide if it was all worth it.  She kept saying we spent a lot of time and didn't really find anything.  You could tell she was troubled about whether that really was an effective use of time.  So after assuring her several times that it was, she had kind of dropped it and moved on.  Then that evening when we were getting ready for bed, she checked her email to discover an email from FamilySearch that indicated that she had a relative with temple work that was ready to do.  I immediately pointed out that this was her evidence form Heavenly Father that her time was in fact NOT wasted that day.  :)  I got super excited, but we got interrupted so it got put on the back burner.  Then...

Day 8 --
My mom was excited and got to work first thing, she even came and woke me up because she needed help knowing what to do next.  So I came up with her and we worked on this family all morning.  We were able to attach several records, and work through the process, experiencing several of the issues that can arise so she got a one-on-one tutoring session working through each of these.  We verified birth, and that they all lived to be 8, and had tons of success, it was hard to stop because we just kept finding more information.
The best part though, not sure exactly what did it but my dad got wrapped up in it too.  He got an email from FamilySearch stating that he had a relative with a record to attach, so we got him going on it and he ended up attaching 3 or 4 records from beginning to end.  It was AWESOME.  I had to take a couple quick pictures because I was so excited that they were both working on their family history.  That is success for the whole challenge if you asked me. ;)

Day 9 ---
Last night I realized it was the end of a long Monday and I hadn't done anything for the challenge yet, so I decided to hop onto memories while laying in bed before going to sleep.  I went to my Great Grandmother Almeda Atkinson Chatterton, who happened to have a recently uploaded Biography written by her first hand.  It was pretty long and it took a while, but I was enjoying myself so much I didn't even notice.  It was so fun to learn more about her, I had no idea what their life was like.  They used to ride a horse to their house when they were first married, the road wasn't good enough to take a car, so they'd park the car at the end of the road and ride the horse the rest of the way up the canyon.  WHAT?!?? That's just my GREAT GRANDMOTHER, not someone several generations back.  She also said really sweet things about her son my grandfather, Willis A Chatterton, which just made me proud.  I love him, though he died when I was only 2, ever since I started researching his wife, Thelma Gilbert Chatterton, I have fallen in love with him via associated research.  I am so incredibly grateful for the time and sacrifices that were put in to getting personal histories written.  I got to read 2 this week, and both experiences were priceless.

Day 10--
I'll write more later, but I thought I'd document that first thing this morning I called my mother and told her that she was causing me not to sleep, because the family we'd found and worked on on Sunday we hadn't reserved their temple work because she wanted to find more information first.  This morning I told her for my sanity she needed to reserve them then we could finish more research later. :) So she reserved her first 8 or 9 names officially! Yay!

Day 10, 11, 12, & 13 --
So obviously I did Journaling on Day 10, so check.

Day 11 --
I finally gained access to do the Zoning website, so I tried it on Wednesday.  Eric was watching game 7 of the World Series so it seemed like a good time to try it out.  The "Cubbies" pulled it off, which also counts as family history or at least the history part, because it was the first time they'd won in 108 years. WHOA!!  It was a pretty good game too, extra innings, and exciting plays to close it out.  Zoning was pretty neat too, it took a while, but it was my first time, I'm sure I'll get the hang of it a little better as I go.  It was fun to see the types of stuff in the paper.  I'll have to try it again soon and see if I can get a more systematic approach.

Day 12 --
Last night I rolled into bed and was about asleep around 11:30PM when I suddenly realized I had completely forgotten to do any family history.  I was SO close to just writing it off and just skipping a day, but I had that nagging thought that no, I needed to do this.  So I grabbed out my list of ideas to do during this challenge that I keep on my phone via Google Keep, and viola "record hints" jumped right out, easy, quick and asleep....BUT I jumped into Ancestry to see if I could just attach a record quick, AND thanks to a shaky leaf, I now have a whole new family that I just found.  I got the marriage record for the couple, and 3 census' verifying the families existence.  I obviously have some additional research to do but I was so excited to find some new family and likely get some new temple work because I haven't had a chance to get any recently.  SO EXCITED!!

Day 13 --
Today was much anticipated.  I met my "cousin" at BYU today, she was kind enough to travel all this way.  She brought her big book of genealogy that is in reference to the family that I've been working on for pretty much the whole time I've been doing family history.  We used the book scanner and scanned 2 of them, the Crunckhorn & Mitchell lines that my great aunt Emmeline Chatterton McKay had put together.  It was a great experience, my cousin and I both really enjoyed just chatting and getting all that info copied was super! I'm starting to sound old, yikes!!  Anyway it was neat and one more thing that I'd like to share, that I've had to work through but it was a cool realization I had today.  So...there's this ongoing debate, like many other's, in the genealogy/family history world about who's work you can do.  So I sincerely feel, like in all things, but I've experienced the clearest in Family History--that it's super critical to be aware of the spirit and allow it to direct you.  There's been lots of times when I've felt the spirit just prompting me to take "cousin" names to the temple.  I'll debate and then end up feeling good about it.  But in May'ish I had a family that I had found, really close to my line that I just didn't feel like I should reserve.  The direction wasn't so clear that I thought I could never reserve it but something just felt like I should leave it for a little while.  So fast forward to a month or so ago, and I was all caught up on temple names, and really wanted get some more.  Well I didn't have time to do any research amidst the PTA and traveling in my life, so i returned to those names intending to reserve them, only to find they were all reserved. BAH!! I kept calm but the more I looked into it the more frustrated I got.  The person hadn't sources, they hadn't added anything they just took them without verifying, which they all could have used some additional sources.  I tried to stay Christ-like about it, but no question it was a constant struggle.  Then it would come up every time I worked on family history, just that kind of frustrated feeling.  Then I was on the phone with one of my cousins last week some time and she mentioned one of her sisters who had never done family history before who was just recently getting really interested in it. She told me that her sister had found a whole bunch of temple names, and was really enjoying it.  After inquiring about her sister's name I discovered that it was the person who had reserved those names I'd found.  I obviously was failing at the trying to be Christ-like thing because my immediate reaction was frustration because I thought, if she has so many (she was giving them to siblings to do the work), why is she taking mine. Blah, blah blah----I've still been struggling to not be upset about it when finally today it struck me.  I had a prompting not to take them, her sister needed some immediate success to get her going on family history, she needed those names I had found, I didn't need them, I've been able to do temple work without them, but she did!  The Lord knows best, and possessiveness isn't part of his plan.  It was a sweet little affirmation that things are in the Lord's hands and I need to trust that, even if it seems "unfair" or whatever.  I'm so grateful for all that I'm learning.  I woke up this morning with the most incredible feeling, I had forgotten how good it feels to be on the Saviors path, I woke up motivated and ready to start the day, read a "gospel topic essay", watched 3 general conference talks while I exercised and just kicked things off wonderfully.

Day 14--
I really truly can't remember what I did this day.  I don't think I forgot to do it, but for the life of me I just can't remember.  I know I worked on something because I was on the FrontRunner on my way back from a party at Jessica's house in Salt Lake and I remember doing something while I was on it, but can't think of what it was.  Oh I do remember uploading all the documents that I had scanned the day before at BYU, and organizing a few things in my family history files.

Day 15--
Sunday I tried this new site, I had tried it in the past but it had been a long time and I couldn't remember how it worked.  I loved it! It's really cool, you can create "stories", built out of pictures, images of documents, audio, and I'm not sure about video.  You date the things and it puts them on a timeline too, it's pretty sweet.  I'm definitely going to play with it some more in the future.  I also helped one of my friends with some of her family history.

Day 16--
Yesterday I didn't have a lot of time because I was working on some Reflections stuff for PTA.  But I wanted to go to the temple today so I took the time to go in and check a few things on my tree, then went over my reserved names to verify which ones I wanted to print.  Then last night I hopped back onto Ancestry to verify some more records.  I'm kind of stuck on this one family.  We have several census' but some of the dates aren't matching so I need to look at it on my computer to clear some things up.

Day 17--
So my Aunt Ruthie (my Grandpa Lyman's sister) passed away over the weekend.  She was such a sweetie and I always enjoyed visiting with her.  So I'm currently in the car with my dad and two of his sisters, and we're headed to Mesquite for the funeral tomorrow.  I'm excited to see Aunt Maime, my kindred spirit auntie and it's really nice to be with my dad and aunties.  So we've been chatting on the way down and I recorded a bunch of the conversation to preserve for later.  It's been great!  I also talked Eric into coming to the temple with me earlier.  For his lunch break we went and did baptisms and confirmations.  It was the names I'd helped Jan and my mom find, so now they can get to work on the rest of the ordinances.  It was great to go with my hubby to the temple, he performed the ordinances when I was being proxy too, which is always cool.

Day 18--
Yesterday was awesome.  I went to my Aunt Ruthie's funeral, not only did I get more memories out of my dad and his sisters, but I got to see a lot of my extended family 2nd and 3rd cousins, my favorite Great Auntie Mame, and many of her kids. Then after we went to Ruthie's house where we found a few gems that we took some pictures of a family heirloom and a photo I don't believe I've ever seen, which was suprising.  Then on the way home I played with my tree a bit, but mostly my family history yesterday was all of the gathering of info and heirlooms, super neat to get to know that extended family better, I felt like it put me in better touch with my country roots. :)

Day 19
Tonight I started creating an online story using Adobe Spark.  I found the program several weeks ago and got really excited about the prospect of using it for family history projects.  So tonight I started building a story of my grandma Chatterton's life.  Doing her life is kind of cheating because I already have everything gathered and in order since I made her a book, but it's good go to images for trying out a new product.  I'm excited about the way it's coming together.  I feel like it could be a good replacement for Google Stories, that Google discontinued earlier this year.  Super cool!

Day 20
So I didn't have success with an actual upload, but I spent some time reviewing some documents for upload from my Great Aunt Emmiline's work.  I checked around to verify that the document didn't already exsist in FamilySearch or other sites, then cropped it and labeled it.  I even uploaded it twice but it was really late and I was running into problems with the labeling part, so I gave up and went to bed.  To be finished another day.

Day 21
Attended the temple.  I woke up early this morning and was lying in bed wondering if I should get up.  None of the ideas I had, exercise, reading, prepping for classes sounded good, until I thought I could go to the temple and still be back in time to get everything ready for Lily's birthday. So I got up threw myself together and headed over. It really struck me then just how grateful I am to have a temple so nearby.  I did some initiatories for the baptism's that I had done on Tuesday, and it was a sweet experience that made for a wonderful day!

A few days later....
It's super late. I'm only writing briefly because everyone I know is asleep, but I was super excited to announce that I just found 20 new people, researched, with several records attached in about 5 hours.  I have their temple work reserved and ready to go, but what I just have to acknowledge is isn't it amazing that I can accomplish that kind of work in that little of time.  This isn't me just reserving "green temples" that someone else took the time to find, it's me finding new family members based off of records, attaching those records, and verifying that they're not already in the system.  Now several of them do likely have spouses and children that I will have the opportunity to find another day, but for now I am just so inspired by the fact that it has become so easy.  The linking tool between Ancestry and FamilySearch makes a world of difference.  Thank you FamilySearch and Ancestry!!
I'm tagging this with 21-day challenge because part of the reason so much came together was because of all the record hints I attached during the challenge. Yay!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Grandpa Winn

So I come from a split home, but only sort of, because I was only one when both my parents got remarried so I never really felt the affects of the divorce.  It was more just a two family world for me.  In my world it was 2 families, 2 Christmases, 2 birthday’s, no problem!!  Obviously there were some challenges related to the situation but no more than your average kid.  In a lot of ways I feel like it helped me to be more well rounded, and I knew from an early age that people have different beliefs, standards, and traditions, and I’ve never really struggled to accept that.  That said, I was blessed with a whole lot of love given the circumstances.  My step parents were both always good to me and their families were always completely welcoming and loving.  My step-dad literally took me in as his own, and given that I lived with he and my mom for the most part, it made me feel like I had a normal family. 

Now that’s just my background for the purpose of my post which is my Grandpa Winn, a man whom I love more than words could express.  He has always loved me like his own, he’s my step-dad’s (it feels weird to even refer to him as a step-dad honestly) dad.  He is literally one of the sweetest men on earth, I love and adore him.

Anyway, so in honor of his birthday this month, I made him a little present, and I wanted to share.


So true to form, I didn’t think about making him something until last night.  I thought it would be fun to do something with family history, but I couldn’t think of what.  My hubby convinced me to drop it because in his words “I would probably spend the whole night trying to put something together, get stressed, then it wouldn't’ work out because it’s too last minute, and I’d just end up angry”.  I could see his point, so I dropped it.  BUT after church today I just REALLY wanted to do something, so I opened up my Pinterest board “Family History Crafts”, and saw an idea like this.  I whipped this together using Photoshop Elements, and photos I stole from FamilySearch combined with some I had scanned.  I didn’t have any photos of the generations before my grandpa’s, thank you FamilySearch Memories.

Voila….I feel like it came together quite nice for a 30 minute project. I tried to print it and put it in a frame, but of course the printer chose to not work, as hubby had predicted. So I ordered it on Costco and it’ll come in the mail to his house this week. Sweet!  Thank you modern technology!  I’ll have to go to the party empty handed, but at least I can tell him his present is on it’s way.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Zoning for FamilySearch

Alright so I had a super busy weekend.  I taught 3 classes this last Sunday at the BYU Family History Library, and what I hadn’t thought to prepare mentally for was the fact that if you’re teaching in the same room 3 classes in a row, you’ll also be chatting & on your feet not only the whole class hour, but also in between classes too.  So from 3-7:30 pm I was talking straight through.  That said, I was exhausted when I was done last night and my feet were killing me. Note to self, no heels when teaching at RootsTech.  Today I’ve been dragging a bit too, BUT I promised my class some info about Zoning on here today, so here it goes---

Zoning, a new tool from FamilySearch.  It’s in beta mode, so it’s likely to change from what I give here, but for now this is where things are at.  It’s a great alternative to indexing for those peeps who are burnt out from Indexing but are still not quite ready to dig into research, OR for those of us who research and just need a new thing to “mix-it-up”.  *This is also a great addition to my Everyday Family History class. 
I heard about Zoning from my neighbor a few weeks back and was excited to try it out.  The first time you log in, as of now, you have to request access to be a zoner, but I got an email back a couple days later and was able to get started.  The wait time gave me time to read the Getting Started Guide provided by FamilySearch and educate myself on the process. It’s well written, concise and I felt confident zoning once I’d read it. I definitely recommend reading before you get started.
Here are a few screen shots to help you get started:
  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Zoning Getting Started”.zoning step 1
  3. Read the “Getting Started With Zoning” page.
  4. Scroll down & complete the form at the bottom of the page, to request access to be a zoner.zoning step 2zoning step 3
  5. Scroll back up to mid-page and download the “Complete Users Guide”. zoning step3.5
  6. Familiarize yourself with the Users Guide while you wait for your access,  it has some excellent images of examples of what to zone and what not to, as well as all the “how to’s”.
  7. Once you receive access to be a zoner via email, visit again. *Make sure that you’re logged into your FamilySearch account.
  8. Click on the purple Zone box.zoning step 4
  9. Voila!! Zone away!zoning step 5