Chapter 2: Getting Started

Member’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work, (2012), 6–9


Where to Get Help

There are many ways you can get help as you gather family history information. In this section you will learn to use the resources that are available to you.

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The most important thing you can do is to seek and follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost. You can also seek help from family history consultants and family history centers. The FamilySearch Internet site is a powerful resource that can be a great help to you as you gather and record information and prepare names for temple ordinances.

Follow the Guidance of the Holy Ghost

In your temple and family history work, you will be most effective when you seek and follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

Your efforts to gather family information can be compared to the efforts of Nephi to obtain the brass plates, which contained information about his genealogy. Like Nephi, you have the responsibility to obtain information about your family. Like Nephi, you may need to press forward, “not knowing beforehand the things which [you] should do” (1 Nephi 4:6). If you humbly rely upon the Lord to prepare a way for you to gather records, He will bless you with the increased guidance of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost may inspire you to know how best to begin family history work, what ancestor or family lines to focus on, where to find useful records, or which family members to contact for family information.

The Holy Ghost may communicate to you by:

  • Speaking to your mind and heart and giving you impressions or ideas (see D&C 8:1–2).

  • Directing others to give you inspired counsel (see Exodus 18:13–24).

  • Helping you feel peace (see D&C 6:23).

  • Bringing something to your remembrance (see John 14:26).

Remember to rely on the promise of the Lord: “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you” (3 Nephi 18:20).

Family History Consultants

Family history consultants are called and set apart by the bishop or branch president to assist with temple and family history work. Consultants may teach family history classes and provide one-on-one help. They can help you get started, answer your questions along the way, and help you use the FamilySearch Internet site and other resources.

Family History Centers

The Church has established thousands of family history centers throughout the world. Most centers have a small collection of published resources. Many centers have computers for access to the FamilySearch Internet site and other family history Web sites. They may also have machines for reading microfilm.

Staff members can teach you how to use the center. They can answer your questions and help you use resources and order microfilms from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. If microfilms need to be ordered, the films will usually take a few weeks to arrive.

To find a family history center, you can talk to a family history consultant.

Begin with the FamilySearch Internet Site

To simplify your temple and family history work, the Church has developed an Internet site, found at www.familysearch.org. You can gather family information there, record ancestors’ names and other information, and prepare names for temple work. As you begin your temple and family history work, the first thing you should do is register on the site and find what information is available about you and your family.

To register, you will need your Church membership record number and the date you were confirmed a member of the Church. Your ward or branch clerk can retrieve this information for you from your membership record or your Individual Ordinance Summary.

To use the FamilySearch Internet site, follow these steps:

  1. 1.

    If you have Internet access, go to www.familysearch.org and register as a new user by entering your membership record number and confirmation date to identify yourself. Once you have completed the registration process, you can begin using the site.

  2. 2.

    If you do not have Internet access, you can go to a family history center, where access is likely available. Or you can speak to a family history consultant, who may be able to print for you any information the FamilySearch Internet site has about you and your family. If your family history consultant is unable to print the information for you, you can record information on family group records and pedigree charts. Samples of these forms are available in appendix A.

  3. 3.

    Add information or change incorrect information in the site. If you do not have Internet access, you can make additions and corrections on a copy of the information printed from the site or on a family group record and pedigree chart. Then you can give the changes to a family history consultant, who can type them into the site. (See chapter 4 of this guide for more details about recording family history information.)

  4. 4.

    Prepare ancestors’ names for temple work if you have sufficient information about them to perform temple ordinances. (See chapter 7 of this guide for details about preparing names for temple work.)

The FamilySearch Internet site can also help you coordinate family history efforts and temple work with other family members, exchange family history information, and find distant family members, especially those who may already be researching your ancestors.

Visit www.familysearch.org for more detailed instructions on how to use the site.