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How to Fall in Love with Family History

By Mormon.org

Do you know if you’re related to anyone famous? Perhaps you’re a descendant of a former U.S. president, or even a knight, lord, or earl in England. Knowing where your family came from gives you a better sense of who you are and helps answer that nearly universal question: where did I come from?

When you learn how to find your family tree, you’ll have at least part of the answer to that question. You’ll have so much more, too—stories of your ancestors, of their lives and achievements and awards. And who knows? You just may be related to the pirate Blackbeard or Alexander the Great.

Start with Super Family History Resources

One of the best things you can do to discover your family tree and all of your famous relatives is to visit a family history center. These centers, scattered around the world, act as extensions of the Family History Library located in Salt Lake City, Utah, owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons).

At your local family history center, you’ll have access to unmatched resources to research and study your genealogy. Whether working within Ancestry.com or exploring FamilySearch.org, you’ll have help along the way to make sure that you’re discovering all you possibly can about your ancestors.

The best part about using a family history center for your genealogical research? It’s completely free for everyone.

Go Back in Time

Once you learn about your ancestors, you might wish you could go back to the times they lived in and visit them. While that’s not possible, the Family History Library offers the next best thing: simulated time travel.

If you’re able to take a trip to the Family History Library, you can use the information you collect about your family tree to find images and facts about the area and times your ancestors lived in. You can even take a picture with your deceased ancestors—dressed in their traditional attire, no less. From kilts to full Viking dress, you can get a sense for what it may have been like to be with your ancestors.

The Family History Library is open to the public six days a week. There is no cost to use the family history research tools there or to participate in family history activities like Picture My Story, Where I Come From, and Record My Story.

Get a New Perspective on Your Family—and Your Life

It’s easy to look at family history as something interesting for a week or two but not for an entire lifetime. However, once you find your family tree, you may feel a desire to really connect with those ancestors. Get to know them better by discovering journals, photographs, and even old home videos. Ask relatives what they can tell you so you can learn as much as you can about the people who came before you.

Gaining this knowledge gives you a perspective on what it took for your life to reach its current point. Knowing your family history can help strengthen you, build your confidence, and give you courage to do hard things. It can also help you lead a more grateful, compassionate life as you reflect on the trials your ancestors faced.