FamilySearch Recipes

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During RootsTech, FamilySearch announced FamilySearch Recipes.  A portion of their website dedicated to preserving favorite family recipes.  What a fabulous idea!

Most of us have special recipes in our families, even if they are from the current generation.  In my family, I have a few favorite recipes that come from my Grandma.  There aren’t many, but the few I have are treasures.  I have several of my own recipes that my family LOVES.  I can’t get back the family recipes that have been lost to time, but I can be sure to preserve my own recipes for my children and the generations that will follow.

My oldest son is currently serving as a Missionary for our church.  His 19th birthday is coming up.  Missionaries don’t really need much.  They move very frequently and live out of 2 large suitcases and 1 one carry-on suitcase.  He doesn’t need more “stuff” for his birthday.  But he could probably use a little dose of home.

So, for his birthday I created him this very detailed recipe of his favorite pasta:

lemon pasta, one file-01

And because I know he will most likely lose track of his laminated recipe cards at some point in his life, I also uploaded it to FamilySearch Recipes.

I included the background of this recipe:

In 2007 I had a cardiac ablation. Afterwards I developed a blood clot in my neck. It was very painful and I lost mobility in my neck and shoulders. I was stuck resting for a few weeks. During that time our next door neighbors were doing some remodeling in their kitchen. My sweet neighbor, and very good friend – Brooke, cooked dinner in our kitchen for both of our families for many days. One day she tried a new pasta recipe. I LOVED it. I kept meaning to ask her for the recipe. I never remembered to ask. We moved away and I still thought about that yummy pasta on occasion. I decided to try to recreate it. After many revisions, this was the end result. It has become a family favorite. It is fast and easy to make, light and delicious. My oldest son especially loves this pasta dish. For his 19th birthday – his first birthday as a missionary – I created this detailed recipe for him to follow.

Not only do I love this pasta because it is delicious, but I love it because it reminds me of my very dear friend and her loving service to me and my family. As a bonus, Brooke’s husband is my husband’s 3rd cousin. A fact we discovered several months after we became neighbors.  🙂


I look forward to preserving additional recipes on FamilySearch Recipes.  Especially the few that come from my Grandma.  She made the best orange rolls!  That one needs to be preserved for sure.


Do you have any family recipes you want to preserve?




FamilySearch Book Scanning Service

Title Page - FWE Book

Title Page for a Family Record Book kept by my 2nd great grandfather Frederick William Ellis.

Among the many cool things in the boxes that belonged to my grandmother was a Family Record Book that her grandfather had kept.  It has a bunch of information that I already knew but it was handwritten by my 2nd great grandfather.  Such a treasure!  And while I say that it is information that I already knew, I think the important thing here is that he actually knew many of these people personally so his record will contain hidden gems that may help answer questions.

Like most of my genealogy adventures, I try to digitize and share what I find in a way that is useful for my family members.  Only one person can physically possess this book at a time but I certainly don’t want it’s existence to only benefit me.

That’s where FamilySearch comes in to help me out.  They offer a free book scanning service during RootsTech.  So I took my book along to RootsTech and had it scanned for free.  That book is now digitized and available on FamilySearch under the “Search” tab in the “Books” collection.  You can find it here.

If you have a book that is not under copyright, or a book that you own the copyright to, or a book that is under copyright but you get signed permission from the copyright holder, you can take that book to RootsTech and have it scanned.  A very cool service.

Additionally, FamilySearch will accept donations of items like journals, family Bibles, compiled histories and so on.  You can stipulate in your donation that they must scan the item and make it publicly available and they will!  The item will then be stored appropriately and can be viewed in person by family members at the Church Archives building.  This is a great option if you have an old item that is in danger of deterioration or if you have special family items and no one to care for them after you pass.  They have different storage methods including very cold storage that they use to help preserve really old items.  In fact, if your item is stored in one of these cold storage areas you have to make an appointment to view your item well in advance so they can slowly bring it to room temperature for your viewing.

I am so grateful for the many free services FamilySearch offers that help me to make my genealogy work available to my family members in a free and easily searchable way.  This book is a treasure and now it can be treasured in every household that descends from Frederick William Ellis and not just in my home.

Here is one last image from the book.  It’s the family group sheet for Frederick and his wife Susan, written in his own hand.

FWE & SKD family group sheet


Happy Wednesday.  I hope you make an amazing genealogy discovery today!


Note:  I could only find the information for donating items that are relevant to LDS church history.  I know that FamilySearch accepts donations of other items and stores them properly and digitizes them, I just couldn’t find the appropriate link in the time I have…  I’m off to pick up a preschooler.  If you are interested in this info let me know and I will track it down.


Using Scotlands People

This is the at home version of my Scotlands People class broken up into four parts.  I really need to clean up my computer…  Here is the handout:

Scotlands People Class Handout

The handout covers a few things I don’t mention but it follows essentially the same outline so would serve as a good note-taking guide as you watch.

A few things – I am WAY more entertaining when I have a live class in front of me.  Sorry.  😉  This took quite a bit of time so please, share it.  The more people that can benefit from it the better.

If you have questions as you watch, jot them down and ask, I will happily answer.

And last, remember to get your free Scotlands People credits before the offer expires on April 30th.

Happy Scottish researching!




Family History Magic & Involving Your Family!


My youngest, my husband, my computer, my leg, & The Tooth Book.

Saturday night story time for my little one consisted of listening to MY Grandpa reading The Tooth Book.  This awesome moment was many years and the efforts of several people in the making.  Here’s what it took to make the magic happen:

  1. My Grandpa visited my family years ago – in the 80s maybe?  While visiting he pulled out his tape recorder, two blank tapes, and a big stack of our picture books.  He read for 2 hours.  He must have done it while we were sleeping because I don’t hear any kid noises in the background.
  2. My mom stored those tapes all this time in her closet.  When I asked about tapes of HER Grandpa’s interview she threw in the tapes of MY Grandpa reading stories.  This was sometime last year.
  3. I went to RootsTech this year, connected with Larsen Digital, they emailed me to remind me of their RootsTech special and I took my tapes to them to be digitized.
  4. When the files got back I really wanted to break those big long audio tracks into individual tracks by story so they would be more user friendly.  I asked my cousin Matt to tackle that and he did!  On the very day I asked him to help!!
  5. A few days after we got the tracks back from Matt, my husband dug around in our children’s books to find the only book we currently own that my Grandpa read all those years ago.  He sat our little guy down next to me on the couch with book in hand and finally – Family History MAGIC for my preschooler.

I am so grateful that everything worked together to culminate in this cool moment.  We have listened over and over to my Grandpa already and I hope we will continue to do so.  All of this leads me to a few very specific points I want to make.

First, asking my cousin Matt was a big leap for me.  Not because I thought he would say no or anything, just that I, like many of you, bear the responsibility of being the Family Genealogist without complaint or much hope of ever really sharing the load.  But is that fair?

When I help new genealogists who are just starting to work on their family history they often express concern that they will “mess something up” and so-and-so in their family will be upset.  Because of that they have never gotten involved before and are hesitant now.

This repeated experience has taught me that I probably have family members who would be happy to pitch in if they felt comfortable doing it and knew where to start and what to do.  When those audio files showed up in my email from Larsen Digital and I was facing an unknown task that would take me a lot of time to master, I remembered all of this and thought of my cousin Matt.


My cousin Matt

Here he is.  He looks friendly right?  He totally is.  Plus, he has expressed interest in our family history repeatedly over the years.  AND, he happens to have an MBA in something to do with the music industry – I should totally remember what exactly but I don’t.  He lives in Tennessee and works in the music industry.  I took a stab that he would know how to split apart those tracks or would have access to someone who could teach him.

My thought process went a little something like this – “I will probably spend about two weeks trying to figure this out, get really frustrated, learn a lot of new things, and finally get this done.  OR, I could ask Matt.  I bet he knows how to do this.  If he doesn’t he can ask one of his friends.  He could probably do it MUCH faster then me.  Plus it gives him a chance to get involved in our Family History and he has wanted that in the past.”  Deep breath.  “Okay, I’ll ask Matt to help.  And be sure to give him an easy way out if he doesn’t want to do it.”

I asked.  He accepted.  And he did it lickity split, that very day.


Second.  All of that hard work and effort by multiple people needs to be preserved and protected in such a way that generations of my family can have access to my Grandpa reading children’s books.  So step one was emailing my family to let them know.  Step two was inviting them to my dropbox folder with the recordings so they can download and listen to them.  And last, step three was more complicated and the most important.  I uploaded the audio files to so that there is a place online where those files will be stored indefinitely.  I shared the link on our family Facebook page, in a story on my Grandpa’s page on FamilySearch, and on his page in my private Ancestry tree that my family has all been invited too.  This way if they choose not to download the files now or lose track of them, there is a way they can find them.

Third.  This experience has caused me to reflect on how we can get our family members more involved in our Family History efforts.  I’m certainly not an expert on this but my experience with Matt and with other family members in the past has caused me to consider a few points that help lead to a moment like the one Matt and I shared.

As the family genealogist, we should create broad family interest in our history through regular, gentle, bite-sized sharing of stories, photos, artifacts, and facts about our family.  Then we need to pay attention to who is interested in what we share.  What special skills do they have and how can those skills help our family history efforts?  What is their schedule like?  How much time could they share?

This simple equation has been successful for me in the past in small ways and once again with my cousin Matt and these audio tracks.


Have you been able to get your family members involved in your Family History work?  If so, how?  If not, what have you tried that didn’t work?



Putting Family Stories in Young Hands

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This is my 3 year old jumping for joy the first time he visited the ocean.  January 2016.

I have a lot of little people in my family.  My children, nieces, nephews, and the children of my cousins.  I love these little people.  I also love family history.  Finding ways to put my family history into the hands of the little people in my family is important to me.  But how?

Over the years I have done several different things that have been awesome.  You can find two examples here and here.

Last week Jana Last included my Chatbooks post in her Fab Finds post.  While perusing her list I noticed a post that really spoke to my heart.

Nicole Dyer of Family Locket shared a post entitled “Make Your Family History Book Kid-Friendly“.  It’s a great post with a fabulous idea for making kid-friendly family history books.  I was so excited as I read because it took an idea I have been working on and simplified it.

Now I just have to decide if I want to make individual books about specific ancestors or families OR if I want to do a book that includes whole branches of my tree.  I can’t wait to put this idea to work.  Can you imagine the cool things I could create using her idea and incorporating some of the good stuff from my Grandma’s boxes?

Oh boy, the ideas are just going crazy in my head right now.  I hope Nicole’s fabulous post inspires you too!


National Family History Month

National Family History Month

October is National Family History Month.

Sort of.

It’s a bit of a puzzle to try to determine if it really is or isn’t.  Go ahead and give a whirl.  Maybe you can figure it out well enough to explain.  This is what I can tell you.  Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah has introduced and helped pass legislation every year for many years to designate October as National Family History Month.  I can’t find anything that indicates it has happened this year, but I like the idea so I’m going to celebrate whether some government agency put a stamp of approval on it or not.

How do I celebrate?

Well, I keep working on my family history like I always do but I add an extra element.  I post some small thing on Facebook everyday.  A photo, a short story or anecdote, a ‘did you know?’ about a record collection or website.  Just simple things each day.  I plan to do it again this year in honor of National Family History Month.  The month that may or may not be a thing this year.

Join me won’t you?  How will you celebrate?



Family Reunion Book Awesomeness

Great Grandchildren of Ronald & Margaret

Great Grandchildren of Ronald & Margaret

At the end of June, my family gathered for a four day reunion in Bear Lake.  Our reunion began on the 65th anniversary of my grandparent’s wedding day.  You would think that was intentional.  It wasn’t, but a lovely way to start our gathering nonetheless.

There were a bunch of us – 57 I think – all descendants & spouses of my grandparents.  Only six couldn’t be there.  It was awesome to be together.  When I look at this photo of the great grandchildren I am delighted.  What a big bunch of happiness sitting on those steps!  My grandparents have 27 great grandchildren (with one due in November and plenty more yet to be).  My grandparents died too young.  Grandpa only met one of his great grandchildren before his death.  Grandma lived several more years.  She was able to meet nine of her great grandchildren.  I know they would be so proud of this big, rowdy group.  In fact, they probably are.

Grandchildren of Ronald & Margaret

Grandchildren of Ronald & Margaret

Grandma & Grandpa were blessed with 17 grandchildren.  Here are 14 of us – in age order.  My two brothers couldn’t attend, one cousin had to leave before we took photos and another cousin is currently serving a mission in Germany.  I love my cousins!  It was so great to spend four days together.

This year I prepared a book for our family reunion.  I geared it towards the great grandchildren, but it turned out to be a hit with everyone.  It was a workbook based on several generations of our family.  I had a tub with prizes.  The first day I told everyone they could earn one prize for completing five items in the book.  On the second day they could earn two prizes, five items per prize.  The third and fourth days were unlimited prizes, still five items per prize.

A good group of Family History Detectives

A good group of Family History Detectives

It was a hit!  At first the kids were participating for prizes.  As the days passed many family members were really interested in learning and talking about our family.  I loved hearing my cousins and their kids asking the uncles/grand uncles questions from my book.  There were some cool discoveries and conversations that helped us all feel a greater connection with our family.

The book has several sections:

  • A simple four generation pedigree for names only
  • Pages about Grandma & Grandpa with pages for four photos.
  • Pages about their four children.
  • Pages about their 17 grandchildren.
  • Pages about their 27 great grandchildren.  The big hit in this section was matching the ggrandkids to their parents.
  • Guess the ancestor section with facts and stories about ancestors with a space to write their name.
  • A map to color in the countries our ancestors came from with an adjoining page to list our immigrant ancestors by name.
  • A puzzle section.

The front and back cover were printed on card stock and the book was bound with a small spiral binding.  The book is 42 pages long.  You can view an altered pdf version here – booklet pdf .  I took out or changed names.  The actual book was a bit more clear with full names and names where it now has some blanks.  If you are interested in creating your own book for a future reunion here is my word doc – booklet doc.  I printed these at home and had them bound at a local print shop.  I brought two tubs, one held the books, a bunch of pens, a few glues sticks, and copies of four photos for every book.  The second tub had small prizes.

This project was a fabulous way to share my knowledge and love for my ancestors with my family.

I love reunions, my family, and my heritage!


Does your family hold reunions?  How do you honor your ancestors at your family gatherings?