Women's Expo: From Roots to Branches

Sharing Station Handouts
From Roots to Branches: 
Finding Life Among the Dead
presented by Tara Scott and Sharon Jeppsen

Click here for these notes in a PDF book.
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"And now, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters, let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers--that they without us cannot be made perfect--neither can we without our dead be made perfect.D&C 128:15

Elder Quentin L. Cook said in his talk "Roots and Branches" in the April 2014 General Conference:
"The doctrine of the family in relation to family history and temple work is clear. The Lord in initial revelatory instructions referred to “baptism for your dead.” Our doctrinal obligation is to our own ancestors. This is because the celestial organization of heaven is based on families.  
"The First Presidency has encouraged members, especially youth and young single adults, to emphasize family history work and ordinances for their own family names or the names of ancestors of their ward and stake members. We need to be connected to both our roots and branches. The thought of being associated in the eternal realm is indeed glorious."

If we are to do this work, to be made perfect, we may as well get to know those for whom we do the work for. How do we do that?

I remember growing up with a father who was a professional genealogist. I had multiple opportunities to work with him while I was young. Most of the time, it was sitting at the microfilm reader at the Family History Library downtown. He would give us a list of films and names, and we were to find any information that pertains to the names on the paper. To a young girl, this was pretty boring! For a long time, I really had no desire to learn any more about Family History or how to do it.

Through the years I have gone through spurts of interest....some of just the personal history of my grandparents (because I knew them) and some interest in how basic research was done. About a year before my father passed away, I became more interested in how to research and find more information about my ancestors. I was lucky to be taught by someone who had a lot of knowledge of how to go about getting the information needed to do temple work for the dead. Sadly, about a year is all I had.

My father passed away, rather quickly, of pancreatic cancer. That spurred me even more into learning as much as I can about family history and how to do it.

I have been lucky enough to attend some wonderful conference sessions about family history. One of the things I find most interesting is that there are a huge amount of people who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have a great interest in learning more about their ancestors. My father, being a convert himself, always told me that the Spirit of Elijah can come upon anyone, member or non-member alike. In this way, records are saved that become an important part of what is needed to find those who need their temple work done.

The easiest way to get started is to visit with one of your older members of your family. I was lucky to have been able to help take care of my mother's parents before they died. My grandmother was also an avid genealogist. Between her and my parents, a lot of the personal history had already been done. I have stories on tape, pictures to go with the stories, books that they put together and I heard my grandmother tell me a lot of stories about her and her siblings growing up. Does your family have this type of information?

Let me tell you about a distant cousin of mine that lives in England. I found her on Ancestry.com while doing some research on one of my lines. She is not a member of our church but loves to do family history. I asked her how she became interested in the history of her family. She told me that she spent a few weeks with her grandmother when she was growing up. She had an interest in collecting old coins. That was one of the only interests that she shared with her grandmother.

She found an old 1812 coin in her grandmother's collection and asked if her grandmother knew who kept it and if it had a special meaning. She told me that listening to her grandmother relate stories of her ancestors is what sparked her interest in knowing more. Today she is a wonderful researcher and a great friend! She will probably never understand the importance of doing temple work for the dead.....but because she was touched by the Spirit of Elijah, she is helping me get their work done.

So here are some quick and easy ways to get started:
1. Interview your grandparents. There are some great interview questions out there if you just Google them.
  • Be sure to use a good digital recorder
  • Have questions ready and while listening to their answer, jot down a few more questions.
  • Try to interview in a place that is not going to be too distracting, that helps.

2. Ask your parents or grandparents who their parents were and when they were born. It's a great place to get started filling out a pedigree chart.

3. Go to familysearch.org, sign in and get started! If you need help learning how to fill out the tree or adding pictures, there are some great tutorials! Just click the links under Get Help in the right hand corner. And you could always call upon your Ward Family History Consultant, or call the number on the website under Contact Us--the missionaries who answer the phone are a great help also.

4. Have fun! There are a lot of creative ways that you can get to know and become closer to your Ancestors! Put together a photo/information album, QR code for a headstone etc.....

And remember, in D&C 128:24 we are told:
"Therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation."
I know that the Lord expects us to seek out our ancestors and do their work in the temple for them. I know that the Spirit of Elijah is real, I have felt it, I have seen the results of it. Our spiritual health dictates that we need to create our own record of our families, doing the temple work and leaving a record that is worthy of all acceptations!

Family History Interview Question Ideas
1. What is your full name? Why did your parents select this name for you? Did you have a nickname?

2. When and where were you born?

3. What day were you born? What did your parents tell you about that day?

4. How did your family come to live there?

5. Tell me about all of the places you lived growing up…

6. Were there other family members in the area? Who?

7. Tell me about your brothers and sisters – Describe them to me…

8. What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?

9. Were there any special items in the house that you remember?

10. What is your earliest childhood memory?

11. What did you want to be when you grew up?

12. What is one of the things you have never done but always wanted to do?

13. Do you remember being sick as a child? What injuries, surgeries have you had?

14. What old family remedies do you remember?

15. Describe the personalities of your family members.

16. What kind of games did you play growing up?

17. What presents do you remember from birthdays and Christmas?

18. What is one of the saddest memories you have?

19. Tell me about your most embarrassing experience…

20. Tell me about your most funny experience…

21. What was your favorite toy and why?

22. What was your favorite thing to do for fun (movies, beach, etc.)?

23. Did you have family chores? What were they? Which was your least favorite?

24. Did you receive an allowance? How much? Did you save your money or spend it?

25. What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects? Where did you attend grade school? High school? College?

26. What was it like going to school?

27. What school activities and sports did you participate in?

28. Tell me about your high school graduation…

29. Tell me about any awards or recognitions you have received<

30. Do you remember any fads from your youth? Popular hairstyles? Clothes?

31. Who were your childhood heroes?

32. What were your favorite songs and music?

33. Tell me about the impact of the war on your childhood…<

34. Which of your family members went to war?

35. Did you have any pets? If so, what kind and what were their names?

36. What were your favorite hobbies while you were growing up?

37. What was your religion growing up? What church, if any, did you attend?

38. Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?

39. Who were your friends when you were growing up?

40. Do you remember what it was like learning to drive?

41. Tell me about family vacations you went on when you were younger…and later as a family.

42. What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?

43. Describe a typical family dinner. Did you all eat together as a family? Who did the cooking? What were your favorite foods?

44. How were holidays (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) celebrated in your family? Did your family have special traditions?

45. How is the world today different from what it was like when you were a child?

46. Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?

47. What do you know about your family surname?

48. Is there a naming tradition in your family, such as always giving the firstborn son the name of his paternal grandfather?

49. What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?

50. What do you remember about your grandparents?

51. Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in your family?

52. Have any recipes been passed down to you from family members?

53. Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?

54. Are there any special heirlooms, photos, bibles or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family?

55. What was the full name of your spouse? Siblings? Parents?

56. When and how did you meet your spouse? What did you do on dates? Do you remember your first date?

57. What was it like when you proposed (or were proposed to)? Where and when did it happen? How did you feel?

58. Where and when did you get married? Do you remember who was there from your family?

59. What memory stands out the most from your wedding day?

60. Where did you go for your honeymoon?

61. How would you describe your spouse? What do (did) you admire most about them?

62. What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?

63. How did you find out you were going to be a parent for the first time?

64. Why did you choose your children's names?

65. What was the names and birthdates of your children?

66. What are some of your favorite memories spent with your children?

67. What was your proudest moment as a parent?

68. What organizations have you belonged to?

69. What did your family enjoy doing together?

70. What was your profession and how did you choose it?

71. If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn't it your first choice?

72. Of all the things you learned from your parents, which do you feel was the most valuable?

73. What accomplishments were you the most proud of?

74. Tell me about something that helped to strengthen your faith in God?

75. What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?

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