Joseph Fielding Smith— “Every important event in our lives should be placed in a record, by us individually. … If you have accomplished something worth while during the day, put it down; it may be of use to posterity.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:204.)
Spencer W. Kimball— “Your story should be written now while it is fresh and while the true details are available. …
“Write [about] your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. …
“Those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives.”
(President Kimball Speaks Out, pages 57, 59.)
Friend September 2019 “The Story of Grammy Rose” Tamika’s grandmother wrote down her great-great grandmother’s story of escape from slavery in her journal. If she hadn’t written down the story, Tamika and other family members wouldn’t know about her amazing story.
What to Write
Make a mini book to write the journal prompts in. Also cut out these “stickers” to add to pages.
Activity Idea: Put the following into a jar and choose one to write about each week.
Ensign June 2017 Make a Goal to Keep a Journal (Link includes a story about why to keep a journal)
Do you want to keep a journal but don’t know where to start? Consider one or more of the following ways to document your life and testimony: Keep a traditional written journal.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Use a journal app.
Make a photo journal, complete with captions.
Keep an audio journal with a digital recorder.
Use your social media account to document your experiences.
Journaling to Deal with Life’s Problems
Friend December 2016 “Not So Great Sixth Grade Year” Writing in a journal helps a girl deal with the difficulties of moving and going to a new school. (Includes some ideas of what to write in a journal.)
Friend September 2019 “Family History, Step by Step” Mei finds a photo of her great-great grandmother and learns more about her. Then she and her mom put the information she had learned onto familysearch.org. Finally, Mei went to the temple as was baptized for her.
Family History Stories Strengthens Descendants
Friend September 2018 “Just Like Grandpa” William’s dad received a calling to preside over the sign language branch. William is sad he will have to leave his friends, but his mom helps him by telling him a story about his great grandfather Turner who sacrificed to obey the Lord.
Friend July 2018 “Detective Danny Does It Again!” Detective Danny solves mysteries, but when he runs out of mysteries his father suggests he solve family history mysteries. Detective Danny was on the case. He looked for clues in family journals, he searched online for old records and pictures, and he found missing family members on the family tree.
Love of Family History
Friend May 2018 “Spirit of Eliza” Eliza is asked to give a talk about family history. Her love of family history helps her with the anxiety she feels about talking, and she is able to share about the importance of family history.
Friend October 2017 “Finding Lydia” Lydia isn’t excited to be graduating from Primary and going to Young Women’s, but she becomes more excited when her mother finds some family names for her to do baptisms for in the temple, and one is named Lydia.
Fun with Family History
Friend May 2020 “Family History Party” A family has a family history party where they play Family Tree Trivia, The Great Index Race, and Family History Story Time.
Friend February 2017 “The Treasure Box” Some children are excited to see what is in their father’s treasure box. At family home evening they discover it is filled with personal history items.
Friend November 2016 “The Great Family History Mystery” A family searches for the gravestone of a great grandfather.
Names to Temple
Friend October 2019 “The Temple Challenge” Sister Jones, the general primary president, challenges a 12 year old boy to find a family name to take to the temple. He later writes to her letter telling of his success and of his opportunity to be baptized in the temple for his 3rd great grandfather and how that felt. He also tells her of his desire to do more.
Friend October 2016 ” My Family Tree” A seven year old takes the stake challenge to find five names of ancestors who need temple work.
Friend July 2015 “Temple Time” Boy helps his with family history on computer so parents can do the family members work at temple.
Friend October 2018 “As soon as I was baptized, my mom helped me log on to FamilySearch, and we discovered that I am related to the first president of the Philippines! During sharing time at school, I shared this discovery. My teacher was amazed how I was able to know that.Sharmaine S., age 8, Cavite, Philippines”
Photos of Family
Friend January 1987 Jessica wants a tin type (photo) of her family, especially of her grandfather who is dying.
Friend October 2017 “Ashlyn’s Family Tree” Ashlyn is excited to learn where family members go on her family tree that she got in Primary. She adds her siblings to make her family that she loves complete.
Friend March 2020 “Matt and Mandy” Matt and Mandy look at a family tree to see how their 2nd cousins in Australia are related to them.
Friend May 2017 “For Older Kids” Try indexing! This means typing what old records say so people can search for their ancestors online. Have a parent help you download the program, or visit a family history center to do it.
Children Can Do Family History
Friend September 2017 “I Can Do Family History” A real life example and photos of children in a family that do family history and how they do it.
Learning About Ancestors
Friend October 2020 “For Older Kids” Play a family trivia game! Make a list of questions and have each member of your family answer them. Then have a quiz at home evening to guess who gave each answer!
Friend June 2020 “For Older Kids” Choose a grandparent you want to learn more about. Look up the year they were born and find out what world events or inventions happened that year. How was life different back then?
Friend May 2020 “For Older Kids” Ask a parent or family member about a time when things didn’t go like they hoped. How did they get through it? Write or draw a picture about it in your journal.
Friend February 2020 “For Older Kids” Use an online map to explore places where your parents, grandparents, or ancestors lived.
Friend July 2019 “We have a home evening once a month about one of our ancestors. We tell a story about them and show a photo if we have one. We talk about the temple and how we will be with these ancestors again someday.” —Karen H
Friend February 2019 “Getting to Know Your Family” President Oaks discusses how to learn more about your ancestors and why. Also, how to do a Get-to-Know-you party to learn about an ancestor.
It gives me a good feeling to work on family history. I’m learning the names of lots of my ancestors and learning to upload their photos too. Someday when I meet them in heaven, I’ll already know them. Aidan A., age 10, Utah, USA
Have family members create skits about family history stories and act them out for family home evening. Ensign April 2017
Friend September 2017 “For Older Children” Ask your parents for old family obituaries. These are usually newspaper clippings that announce a person’s death and tell about their life. What do you want people to remember about you? Make a list of 10 things. Then upload the obituaries to FamilySearch.org.
Family Tree App
Friend April 2019 “For Older Children”Use the Family Tree app to find out where your ancestors are from. Click “More” and then “Map My Ancestors.” How many different places do you see? List them here!
Saving Family History Items
Friend March 2017 “Family Night Fun” Each person collects an item to put in a treasure chest and tells why that item is a treasure to them.
Friend March 2017 “For Older Kids” Make a time capsule, and what would your ancestors have put in a time capsule
Friend November 2017 Make a family recipe! Do you know which family member it came from? Upload pictures of the recipe to the memories page of that family member on FamilySearch.org.
Saving Family Stories
Friend September 2020 “For Older Kids” Part of family history is discovering who you are. Use these questions to learn about your name, and then write down everything you learn. Why were you given your name? Do any of your family members or ancestors share your name? When people hear your name, what do you want them to think of?
Friend January 2020 “For Older Kids” Find a photo of you or your family that you can tell a story about. Write down or tell someone everything you remember about that day.
Friend August 2019 “For Older Kids” Ask a family member to tell you about a day that changed their life. Make an audio recording of their story or write it down.
Friend June 2019 “For Older Kids” Do you have a funny family story? Interview a family member and write it down. Maybe you could share it for home evening.
Friend September 2017 “Following Faithful Examples” Elder Rasband keeps a painting in his office that reminds him of his ancestors stories of faith and sacrifice because it helps him remember their good examples.
Friend December 2016 “For Parents of Little Ones” Tell your child true stories of your childhood or about them when they were younger. Tell them the stories as you drive in the car or before bedtime, etc.
Friend May 2020 “Family History Time Machine” Make a time capsule. Take turns writing or recording your family’s answers to the questions. Then make a time capsule to keep the answers safe (see article for ideas on how to make a time capsule) When you read or listen to the answers in the future, it’ll be a blast from the past!
Friend March 2018 “A Family Timelime” On cups, put pictures that represent each year of the family. Mix the cups up and see if family members can put them in the right order.
Present & Past Family History
Finding & Taking Family Names to the Temple
Friend October 2019 “The Temple Challenge” Temple Scramble: This girl has taken a family name to the temple. Can you put the pictures in order?
Friend January 2018 “Ready, Set, Go” Do the activity and earn a badge each month. First activity is to decorate a file, binder or box to put family history items in. Also, sign up for familysearch.org. This activity could be used for a Personal Progress or Faith in God project. Additional stamps and badge keepers can be found here,
Friend June 2018 “Watch and Listen” Write family names on Bingo board and then look at family pictures or videos and mark when you see that person. Try to get three in a row. Also, record a family member’s story and put it on familysearch.org.
Friend July 2018 “Find the people in your family tree who were pioneers, such as the first person to join the church or the first to graduate from college.
Friend August 2018 “Temple Tracker” Some of your ancestors might need ordinances done for them in the temple. Use the chart below to keep track.
Friend September 2018 “Learn To Index” Indexing is looking at handwritten records, like birth certificates, and typing the information into a computer program. Practice indexing by doing this activity.
Friend October 2018 “Temple Time” Look through your family tree on FamilySearch.org and find as many temples as you can in your family history! Also, make a temple puzzle. (Activity Idea: For each temple you find in your family tree, put a piece of the puzzle together. Add more puzzle pieces by having family members (or friends) do the work for your ancestors in the temple.)
Friend November 2018 “Grow a Family Gratitude Tree” You know about a family tree, and maybe you’ve heard of a gratitude tree. This month, squish the two together and make a family gratitude tree! Put a paper tree trunk and branches on your wall. Then cut out lots of paper leaves. On each leaf, finish one of these sentences:
I’m grateful for my family because … I’m grateful for family history because … I’m grateful for temples because … You can also add leaves throughout the month about anything else you’re grateful for!
Friend December 2018 “Quest Complete” Write down a favorite family recipe and add it to your folder. Afterwards, print the quest completion certificate and celebrate what you’ve learned this year.