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FamilySearch adds Discovery Center experiences and more to website



The annual family history conference, Roots Tech, is organized by FamilySearch, the genealogy research arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The more than one billion indexed records and millions of family trees available on FamilySearch are free to everyone, even if they are not members of the Church. Some of the family history experiences that were available only at the Family Discovery Centers in Lehi and Salt Lake City are now on the FamilySearch website, as well as the Family Tree mobile app.

“This is to help you introduce FamilySearch to your friends and neighbors. Just go to and even without logging in you can enter the name of an ancestor and find out more about them,” explained Ron Tanner, Portfolio Director for FamilySearch. There are even more experiences available when a person is logged in and has an account with FamilySearch, including;

  • Compare-a-Face, where you can find out which of your ancestors you look the most like.
  • All About Me, which includes historical events from the year you were born.
  • Record My Story, a place to tell your stories and the stories of your family and record them.
  • Occupations, learn about what your ancestors did to make a living.
  • Picture My Heritage, where you can add your face to historical photos.

“There are stories about your ancestors that need to be recorded. We shouldn’t have to hear these great stories for the first time at that person’s funeral. Studies have shown that when people know the stories of their ancestors they’re actually happier – they do better and overcome challenges better,” continued Tanner.

Members urged to release temple-ready names for others

In a session for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Tanner pleaded that members who have hundreds and sometimes thousands of names reserved for temple, release those names to the temple so that more members can have the experience of finding and taking those ancestors to the temple. FamilySearch has an option in the Temple tab of the website where members can choose “Ordinances Ready.” When a person chooses Ordinances Ready, the program searches their tree for ancestors who have been researched and documented and are ready to go to the temple.

“It takes about 74 trips to the temple to do 100 ordinances. If you went every week to the temple, you could do those 100 ordinances in one year, five months, and two weeks. If you go monthly, it will take you six years to do those 100 ordinances. I get the excitement, that you don’t want to let go of those names, but they just sit there and no one else can do that work,” said Tanner. “Let your kids and grandkids log in and get those names for themselves – let them have that experience.”