(Image courtesy Mormon Newsroom.)
(Photo courtesy Mormon Newsroom)

Let’s face it — historically, family history has been for old people. But not anymore.

In years past, genealogy has required a significant investment of time and effort that younger people just couldn’t afford. But today, billions of records are easily searchable online.

This change has enabled people both old and young to succeed in family history work in a fraction of the time. In fact, several members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have invited teenagers to get involved in genealogy and temple work (see, for example, these messages from Elder David A. Bedar, Elder Quentin L. Cook and Elder Neil L. Andersen).

But if the teenagers in your life are slow to jump on the genealogy bandwagon, show them these five websites. These too-cool-for-school tools use FamilySearch to reveal fun factoids about a person’s family and may be just the things that get more teenagers excited about family history.

1. KinMapper.com

KinMapper maps the data from your family tree to show where your ancestors lived (or died, or were married or were otherwise recorded present) for eight generations (as a start — you can ask it to do more). When you log in with your FamilySearch account, the app’s world map automatically updates with pins for every place mentioned on your ancestors’ records.

2. RelativeFinder.org

RelativeFinder.org uses data from FamilySearch to show how you are related to both historical figures and living people. It started as a Facebook app and is the result of a 15-year research project at BYU. Now that RelativeFinder is certified by FamilySearch, the app is more robust and has much more information to make search results more interesting and entertaining.

3. Mormon Pioneer Overland Travels Index

If your family has pioneer ancestors, the Utah Mormon Pioneer Overland Travels Index can provide details about their lives. Use this database to search for a pioneer ancestor and learn what company he or she traveled with, who else was in the company, and other interesting information.

4. Patriarchal Blessing Request

Did you know you can request the patriarchal blessings of your direct-line ancestors? There are several ways to make the request, but the simplest is to log in to LDS.org with your LDS account and choose “Patriarchal Blessings” from the “My Account and Ward” menu. Once they are requested, your ancestors’ blessings will be mailed to you.

5. My Family: Stories that Bring Us Together booklet

“My Family: Stories that Bring Us Together” began as a small booklet that was completed using pictures, biographical information and stories about your ancestors. However, while it is still available in paper form, the booklet can now also be completed online using information from Family Tree. This book is appropriate for anyone, including children.

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