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September 20, 2017

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Do temple work for a ward in heaven: Probably the most success I've seen in having the ward actively prepare family-file names was when our ward was challenged to create "a ward in heaven." Our ward size at the time was roughly 350 members and we were encouraged to do all of the ordinance work for at least that many deceased ancestors during a one-year time-span. Family history consultants were called to assist ward members as they caught the vision of the work and began doing family history work. The youth were involved in the goal as well and received the ordinances of baptisms and confirmations at youth temple trips. Our ward temple nights were well-attended as people performed work for their kindred dead. The spirit of the work became contagious.

Incorporate a friendly competition in family history class: My wife attended a family history class unlike any other I'd heard of. Of course, the lesson material was followed, but there were also assignments outside of class. Those assignments were real-life lessons in learning how to obtain copies of vital statistics, family records, etc. The teacher also turned it into a friendly competition where a prize was awarded to the individual who completed the most work.  A tremendous amount of family history work was generated by those in attendance.

Complete four generation chart: Our ward had a goal to compile four-generation charts for every ward member during a twelve month period. The goal was discussed within quorums and auxiliaries. Ward family history specialists were assigned to families to help ensure that ward members knew what to do and how to do it. This became a way to introduce everyone in the ward to family history research and tools -- and help them create family-file names in the process.

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