Are we related?

Have you ever wondered how (if at all) you were related to someone with the same last name?

Have you ever wondered if your best friend was a long lost cousin?

Have you ever wondered if you are related to a famous person?

Well, wonder no more! All you need to do is visit Relative Finder!

Continue reading →

42 Ways to Create Memories This Summer

See that tagline under The Mommy Genealogist? Creating, Finding and Handing Down Memories? Today we are going to talk about how you are going to CREATE memories this summer!

Summer was always a fun, carefree time for me growing up and I can’t wait to create memories and traditions with my children this summer!

We started our summer off this week because preschool ended last week. (I’m sad to think this was my last year with them all at home.) On Friday, I sat them all down and we made a summer bucket list! It was fun to hear their ideas. Along with activities we also wrote down who we wanted to hang out with this summer.

Here is a list of ideas to get you thinking (As we do things on this list I’ll try to post and link back here):

Painted rock hunting                                Geocaching

Hiking (We have a whole list)                 Zoo

Get our faces painted                                Library (summer reading program)

RZR ride                                                      Swim lessons

Splash pad                                                  Parks (We have a group that does this)

Picnic                                                           Camping

Gardening                                                   Berry picking

T-Ball                                                           Baseball

Sand dunes (We have some local)         State Parks

Build a fort (Outside)                               National Parks

Bunny Hunting (????)                              Farmers Markets

Sprinklers                                                    $ PTO Movies

Ice cream cones                                         Make ice cream (Bag or machine)

Roll down a hill                                          Play with ice

Drive in movies                                          Kids cook and bake

Airplane Museum                                     Carousel

Kids Museum                                             Road Trip

Fishing                                                        Climb a tree

Ride bikes                                                   Play yard games

Scavenger hunts                                        Obstacle courses

Chalk drawings                                          Squirt guns

This was our list (with a few more details, like where we are going to go hike and what state parks). Hopefully, it sparks a list of your own!

We’ve already had 3 fun filled days and can’t wait to see what we do today. The plan is to do all the housework in the morning, eat lunch, then do an activity. If housework doesn’t get done we don’t get to do an activity.

Creating that memory: Make sure you document your adventures this summer! Large and small. You can create a hashtag (#mechamsdosummer2017), create an Instagram account just for your adventures, take pictures, keep a summer journal (Let the kids draw or write what they did), etc. Your adventures can’t become memories if you don’t document them!

What are you planning to do this summer? Share your ideas and plans in the comments!

Mothers: Our Memory Keepers

How can the Mommy Genealogist let Mother’s day come without a post on moms? 🙂

As I thought about the theme for the Family History for Children Blog link up this month I couldn’t help but think about the women in my life and how they have been memory keepers for me.

Continue reading →

At the Knees of My Grandparents

I always loved when Grandma and Grandpa Egbert came to visit. Climbing into bed and snuggling between them, I always fought off sleep to ask, “Tell me a story from when you were little, please?” Soon I could tell the stories better than they could, and I could remember the details that they had forgotten. After I had grown too big to snuggle in between them, I often reflected on those stories they shared and drew wisdom from them. I believe we can draw strength from our grandparents’ experiences.

Why wait to learn for ourselves the lessons our grandparents already learned? All we have to do is ask. I have heard family stories help children to better understand other’s emotions and thoughts. They help teenagers to feel connected and grounded. Family stories can even help adults to remember more and become better storytellers. Who doesn’t want that?

Grandma often told stories of falling from barn windows, two stories up. Or, passing out in school only to wake up long after the class had been dismissed. I often wondered what others thought when this had happened and why no one had helped her. I have found myself hovering close to those hurt or distraught, trying to help and soothe them. I’d like to think I’m helping out because I wished someone had been there to help or comfort my grandma.

Grandpa was always busy doing something like fixing things or getting his crops to grow. Whenever they came to visit, he always fixed what was broken and made my toys “better” in some way. Grandpa’s bedtime stories were usually about life on the farm. He grew up on a farm in Idaho, then homesteaded a farm in Washington. Hard work was forever in his life. I love being innovative like him and fixing things that people think can’t be fixed. I’d like to think I get that from Grandpa, that I learned the value of hard work from him.

My other grandpa, Grandpa Papenfuss, taught at Ricks College and I remember him behind his desk in the office down the long hallway. Even now, years after he has retired and died, people stop me to ask if he was my grandpa. When I say yes, they start telling me stories about him wandering behind students and making them too nervous to type, or of him helping out a student who had fallen on hard times. When I think of all the good I saw my grandpa do while teaching, I know why I enjoy teaching others as well.

My other grandma, Grandma Papenfuss, sews all the time. She can make any clothing item you want, plus blankets and pillows and stuffed animals. I remember heading to her house to show her a new pattern for a dress or skirt I wanted to make. I enjoyed spending the afternoon with her as we sewed and talked about her family. Most visits ended with a homemade dinner. I love that she showed me the joy in home keeping.

Some nights, as my five-year-old snuggles in his bed in between me and his bear, he remembers to ask me for a story about his grandma great or his grandpa great when they were his age. I smile, remembering those precious nights when I snuggled in with my grandparents to learn the life lessons I base my life on now.

I believe the time to learn from our grandparents is now. There is so much we can learn from them. I learned compassion, hard work, the love of teaching and homemaking, and so much more from my grandparents. Yes, there is much I will have to learn on my own, but for now, learning these lessons have enriched my life.

And this is why I share my family history with my children.


(This blog post has been included in the Family Locket’s blog link up for March 21, 2017. Come check out why some other people share family history with children by clicking here.)


Honor your parents #LIGHTtheWORLD

Are you participating in the LDS church’s #LIGHTtheWORLD challenge this month? (If you want to learn more check out

Day two is Jesus honored his parents, and you can too…


What a better way to honor your parents’ then learning about an ancestor!

So today go check out, click on the memory tab and find a great story about an ancestor! Bonus: give your mom or dad a call and share that story. I think they’ll be touched you took the time to learn about their family!


Call you parents and ask them their favorite story about their parents! Make sure you write it down, maybe even add it to


Record your parents talking about their childhood. Come up with questions beforehand. It’s hard to just start talking about yourself. Make sure you share this with family!


Write down something you learned from your parents. Make sure you include an example! I recently wrote about working with my dad for a school assignment (I’m going back to college), I plan on expanding on that assignment and adding it to my life history.

What did you choice to honor your parents? What did you learn about your family?

Things you can do in 20 mins- Leaves on Ancestry

Got 20 minutes in between diaper changes, play dates, or grocery store runs? Perfect! I know just what you can do!

Check out leaves on Ancestry!

Ancestry Leaves
What’s a leaf??? It’s when Ancestry has done some research work for you! Yes, Ancestry is saving you time by searching indexed documents for names in your tree.

To take advantage of this great service, log into Ancestry and look for the leaf logo at the top of your page or go to your tree (yes for this to work you must have a tree uploaded).


In 20 mins you may be able to do 1 leaf or 5 leaves or 10. It just depends on how interesting they are or unique or what you learn. If you need to set a timer go for it. That’s what I do so family history doesn’t become my time sucker of the day. Once my timer goes off I log off and I’m on to the next task.

The leaf can be another tree, a birth certificate, a census record or really anything Ancestry has in their indexed database. Once you have clicked on the leaf you see a summary of the leaf. You may see more than one record, this is great! It just means there is more than one record that matched your ancestor.

You can choose to review or ignore the record.

Please make sure it is your ancestor before you say it is them! After you have made sure the record is talking about your ancestor, you can save the information you learned from this record to your tree by comparing what you have in your tree to what the record says.

Review record on Ancestry

If your toddler hits ignore (because I’d never do that on accident 😉 haha) never fear there’s an ignore list that you can go to so you can undo it.

ignore leaves

See how you COULD do a bunch of leaves in 20 mins or you COULD only do one leaf? Or you COULD look at leaves ALL DAY? Seriously use the timer tip above, you don’t want to feel guilty or get burned out.

How many leaves did you do today? Did you set a timer? Let me know below!

Home Videos, remember those?

Over the weekend we watched some home videos at my parent’s house.

Man, I was annoying.

But it got me thinking…. I have all these videos on my cell phone and on my computer, what am I doing with them??? So I decided to get them off my devices and get them on a DVD!

Today I took 30 minutes, pulled all my videos out of my picture folders and put them in their own folders.Organize your videos

I can’t wait to see the look on my boys’ faces when they see themselves on the TV!

TIP: Don’t watch the videos! You’ll get stuck for HOURS watching them. Just put them in the right folder. This way you can finish a project. As mom’s I feel like we don’t get to finish our projects, so cross “Organize videos” off your list in 5-30 minutes.

Why don’t you take 5-30 mins to organize your videos today!? Or send them from your phone to the computer. Let me know how it goes!


10 ways to get started with your Family History


Here are 10 easy ways to get started on your family history!

1-Start with yourself!  

I know the most about me so why not start there?

2-Start a tree on FamilySearch or Ancestry.

These two sites are some of the easiest to use, hope on and fill out what you know.

3-Upload a tree you already have to FamilySearch or Ancestry

Already have a tree (a tree you made or someone else)? Upload it!

4-Check out Find-a-record!

What a great site to see what you need to do it clean up your tree.

5-Gather what you have around the house

We have so much family history around our house, time to collect it in one spot!

6-Write down a story

Getting all those memories out of our head before ‘mom brain’ takes over, is so important! (check this out!)

7-Visit a local family history center or library or historical society

There is so much help offered! Go check it out!

8-Organize what you have

Decide how you’re going to name files or where they are going to go.


Watch a video, take a class! Learn something new!

10-Interview relatives, ask them what they know!

Life is short! Find out what relatives know now before it’s too late!

Just pick something and jump in! I’ll update this list with links as I write about each of these items in more details but I know you can do this! Good luck!

What did you choose to do? How did you start your family history journey?