“My Tree is Done” Plan

A 21 day experiment to find what you can do to participate in family history if you think it’s all done. The hardest part of wanting to know your family is getting started, just do it!

Additional activities can be found on the “build your own plan” page. 

A free FamilySearch account is necessary for most activities. FamilySearch is a free website that has lots of information and help available, that is why we are using it for a base of this plan. 

We will explore multiple areas of family history, if you enjoy something go ahead and stick with it for the rest of the 21 days. If you are struggling with any of these ideas please ask for help on the Facebook group

Day 1

getting started

Today, you are going to set up your free FamilySearch account and then make sure you have a tree loaded (up to your deceased ancestor so you can connect to the family tree)

 

Tip: Click here to create a free account   Click here for how to add your family to the tree

Day 2

Download 

It’s so easy nowadays to do family history on the go. 

 

Today, download the Family Tree app and sign into your account. If you have room also download the Memories app. 

Tip: Click here for more information on the mobile apps and links to the app stores.

Day 3

Read stories of your ancestors

Day 3: Read stories of your ancestors

 

Today, you are going to find a story of an ancestor and read it. Go to your fan chart in FamilySearch, change your view on the left side to Stories, now find an ancestor that has a story and read it. 

Tip: Click here to see the different fan chart views

Day 4

What did they look like?

Today, you are going to see what your ancestors look like! Go to your fan chart in FamilySearch, change your view on the left side to Photos and go exploring. You can also see who you look the most like at Compare a face.

 

Tip: Compare a face is a fun activity to get your family involved in!

Day 5

print pictures

Now that you have discovered pictures of your ancestors, print some out and display them around your house! During October and November it’s fun to create a simple photo ofrenda. 

 

Tip: Download the pictures from FamilySearch by clicking the top left menu labeled Action then click download.

Day 6

Create a gathering spot

Create a Facebook group, instagram profile (see Steve Rockwood’s experience here), or a blog where your family can gather and share stories from your ancestors or your life.

 

Tip: You can set all these platforms up as private and only have family members see what is shared.

Day 7

Memory of a grandparent

Today, post to FamilySearch memories or the appropriate gathering spot you created yesterday, a memory of one of your grandparents. It only needs to take 5-10 minutes. Just open a word document and start typing. 

 

 

Tip: Repeat this with each grandparent, focusing on one memory each, when you find yourself looking for something to do.

Day 8

Interview someone living

Today, pick a living family member to interview. You can make it official by asking them first, setting up an appointment and sharing the questions you’d like to ask. Or make it casual and call up that family member and ask them one question. Make sure you take notes or record (with permission) your conversation. Share the memories on FamilySearch and your gathering place. 

 

Tip: You can find lots of interviewing questions and how tos on our additional resource page.

Day 9

Interview Paternal grandpa

Today, go to your paternal grandpa’s (Dad’s dad) familySearch person page. “Interview” him by seeing if he has the following facts filled out: 

Birth date and place

Death date and place

Wife (or wives) and marriage date(s)

Children

Now make sure the facts above are correct by making sure there is a document attached that states the facts above. Just make a note if there isn’t or you don’t know about documents, Day 13-15 we learn more about documents.

Day 10

Interview paternal grandma

Today, go to your paternal grandma’s (Dad’s mom) FamilySearch person page. “Interview” him by seeing if he has the following facts filled out: 

Birth date and place

Death date and place

Wife (or wives) and marriage date(s)

Children

Now make sure the facts above are correct by making sure there is a document attached that states the facts above. Just make a note if there isn’t or you don’t know about documents, Day 13-15 we learn more about documents.

Day 11

Interview MAternal Grandpa

Today, go to your maternal grandpa’s (Mom’s dad) FamilySearch person page. “Interview” him by seeing if he has the following facts filled out: 

Birth date and place

Death date and place

Wife (or wives) and marriage date(s)

Children

Now make sure the facts above are correct by making sure there is a document attached that states the facts above. Just make a note if there isn’t or you don’t know about documents, Day 13-15 we learn more about documents.

Day 12

Interview Maternal Grandma

Today, go to your maternal grandma’s (Mom’s mom) FamilySearch person page. “Interview” him by seeing if he has the following facts filled out: 

Birth date and place

Death date and place

Wife (or wives) and marriage date(s)

Children

Now make sure the facts above are correct by making sure there is a document attached that states the facts above. Just make a note if there isn’t or you don’t know about documents, Day 13-15 we learn more about documents.

Day 13

indexing

Today, we are going to index. It’s a great way to learn about what different records there are and what are on them. Click here for a guided tour. Click here for the main indexing page.

Day 14

record hints

Because of indexing, the computer does some work for us and makes suggestions of what documents might talk about our ancestors. How cool is that! Here’s a simple article about record hints on FamilySearch. To find out who has record hints in your tree go to your fan chart and click Research helps on the top left. You can also find more record hints for extended family here.

Day 15

search for records

Use the Compare-a-face activity from the FamilySearch site or app to take or upload a selfie to compare your face to your ancestors, seeing who you look like the most. This tool works best if your direct line ancestors’ photos are attached in FamilySearch. Upload photos of your ancestors if needed. 


Tip: Think about taking a screenshot and sending it to a cousin for fun! Get more fun ideas in Find Your Doppelganger: Do You Have a Look-alike?

Day 16

relative finder

Today, find out what famous/well known ancestors you have! Visit RelativeFinder.org and sign into your tree. It has lots of categories in there for you to explore! US presidents, scientists, authors just to name a few.

 

Tip: You can create your own group and invite your friends to see how you are related!

Day 17

descendancy research

Today, we are going to dip our toes into descendancy research. This is finding the brothers and sisters of your (direct) ancestors. A great visual program to help see where there are holes in your tree is Puzzilla. Please go to puzzilla and log in. After your fan chart is created click on one of your direct ancestors on the outer arch, now click the button that says decendants. Your tree will now look like a bunch of circles inside each other. Each circle is a generation. In the center is your direct ancestor you click on. Follow the yellow line to you.

Tip: Here is a lesson from the Family History Guide on how to use Puzilla to do descendancy research.

Day 18

find cool facts

Today, explore your tree to discover fun facts about your ancestors. Some ideas: Who was the first to move to your country? Who was first to join your religion? Who served in the Revolutionary War (USA)? Civil War (what side)? WWI? WWII?

 

Tip: Share these discoveries with your family on your gathering place.

Day 19

take a picture

Today, find something in your house that belonged to an ancestor, a heirloom. Take a picture of it and upload it to FamilySearch. Add the story behind this item to the picture’s description. Include who it originally belonged to, a story (if there’s one), and who has it now. 

 

Tip: If you don’t have any heirlooms in your house you can ask a close relative if they have some you can take a picture of and upload. Or you can take a picture of something you’d like to pass down and upload it to your personal FamilySearch profile.

Day 20

food

Today, make a family recipe. Feel like you don’t have any family recipes? What does your family have for dinner a lot? That’s a family recipe! You can start collecting these recipes for a family cookbook.

 

Tip: You can take this activity a step further by sharing a photo of a meal you made (your own or your ancestor’s) on FamilySearch as a Memory.

Day 21

teach someone

Today, we want you to take something you’ve learned during these last 20 days and share it with someone else. You can choose to teach someone a skill you learned or teach someone about what you learned about your ancestor! Share your feelings on social media or with your friend/family about what this experiment has meant to you.

Easy images to share and invite others to join you: