Saturday, February 20, 2021

A Less Obvious Benefit of FamilySearch Family Tree and The Mustard and Ketchup Incident

As frustrating as it gets to participate in a "one big tree" website, where others can edit my ancestors' profiles, I think the good far outweighs the bad, and it has to do with memories. I have a FamilySearch account, and contribute to the FSFT (FamilySearch Family Tree). 

My view of  the FSFT "one big tree" includes:
  • Both living and deceased members of my family. 
Other people cannot view the profiles of living persons I've added to the FSFT. 
  • As I connect my deceased ancestral profile with others, I find our side of the family inherited the family bible
  • Others have photos of ancestors I've never seen. 

Let's make this more personal. Its all about your VIEW of FSFT.

My daughters and I each have a free account at FSFT. Individually we began adding ourselves, then our parents and grandparents. By the time my children added their grandparents, they found in "possible duplicate" as there are likely profiles for each of them in this "one big tree" because of two things:
  • Their grandparents are deceased,
  • I had previously contributed information on these grandparents to FSFT.

In this manner, we can collaborate together and with other researchers to properly identify attributes and life events of each ancestor.

My 3 daughters and I have entered data on family members. They know I'm a genealogist, but they can only view the info of our common deceased ancestors in FSFT.

What happens when I die?

Once my LDS 1,2 church records are updated upon my death, by my LDS ward clerk, my FSFT profile will be public. As my daughters update their profiles of me AND do a "possible duplicate" search at FSFT, then all can be combined by them.

This means if one daughter had uploaded photos of me, and another a sound clip, all would be combined into my one viewable profile as a deceased person in FSFT. As most are now principally using mobile devices, they'll most likely be using the FamilySearch Memories App.

The Less Obvious Benefit of FamilySearch Family Tree

We, as individuals, value some family memories in common, others are personal favorites. Imagine my profile on FamilySearch, combined with those my daughters each created about me. The result would be a more robust profile about me. My life will then be remembered as more than just a name and a few dates.

For instance, I could record and tag memories of quirky things from my corporate training days - with comments about my changes in teaching style. These are memories that my daughters don’t have in their individual profiles of me. 

More over, each daughter has distinct memories of family events, and other memories they have in common. Just ask about the incident involving squeezable mustard and ketchup containers. Each daughter's take on a family event will vary owing to age and personality differences.

Adding to this, my grandchildren will have uploaded their memories to my combined profile, and my FSFT profile will become something we can barely imagine as the first generation to use the combined assets of the FamilySearch Family Tree. A more robust profile than I could have created myself.

Fast forward 80 years and because of my 4-way combined FamilySearch profile, my 3rd great-grandchildren will know a lot more about me than I know of any of my 3rd great-grandparents.

Kinda cool, isn’t it?

Randy Seaver summed it up perfectly by saying "Of course, each sibling of yours may have a profile for you also. And each child who works in FSFT. And niblings too. There may be a wealth of profiles for each of us. And yes, fast forward, these will be combined, and so forth and so forth."

Gosh, Ol' Myrt here had better mind her Ps and Qs if I want good things to be remembered in my future combined profile. 

End Notes

1LDS is the long-recognized website abbreviation for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, now the URL is   

2What happens if Mr. Myrt dies first? He isn't a member of the LDS church, so there will be no LDS ward clerk to update his profile with his death date. As a couple, we've devised an inheritance plan that includes sharing access to each other's FamilySearch login credentials. The surviving spouse can then make the change in both profiles followed by combining them using FSFT's "possible duplicate" option.

IMAGE: Pictured from left to right above: Stacey (Smith) Warnick, Carrie (Smith) Keele, Pat (Player) Richley, and Tamara (Smith) Rounds. My daughters at my home in Eagle Mountain, Utah for Thanksgiving 2008.

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