Indexing Update

Indexing is so much fun, and as of June 8, 2012, 50% of the 1940 US Federal Census was indexed and I helped! It is a really great feeling.
Here are all the badges for the states I helped with. :)
New York

Did you help with the indexing?

Law and Family History

So, as I am slowly delving farther into my family history major, I am learning more and more interesting things (which I hope to be able to share with you). Well, I'm taking a class this semester called Family and Law in American History. Basically it is a family history class where we learn the law behind the family history research we are doing. Learning about the laws and government of the area where you are researching is very important with family history work. While you don't have to know the mundane details, it is important to know the general ideas about what government records were recorded when, and what the laws were behind these records. Understanding this will not only help you understand records like censuses, birth certificates, wills, etc., but will also help you understand where to even start your research and where to not research. For example, if you know your relative was born sometime around 1780 and the area where you are recording didn't start records for birth until 1850 then you know not to look for a birth certificate in that area. Make sense? Well, I hope it does, and I hope all goes well in your research this week.

Family Search

A good website to use is This is a website sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They have spent a good deal of money to gather records and to begin to get them indexed and online so that they can be searched. That is why volunteer indexing is so important. This website it not only a great searching website, but they also have a great website with current news on family history. The website is This can be quite a useful tool to find information about areas where families may have lived.
Another useful tab is the learn tab. It contains lots of videos about family history tools and guides. The videos can be searched by level of skill, area of family history, or language. This can be an extremely useful tool because all of our family history is different and unique for each person, and there are a wide variety of videos.
Also the books tab is interesting. It contains a link that takes it to BYU archives. They have scanned lots of family history related books and created a site for searching the scanned books and then you can search in the scanned books for names or other keywords.
These are just a few of the tools on this website. I would encourage you to go look at it and explore it. This website has a lot of great tools, and can be just as useful as Good luck with your family history.

Why family history is important?

Family history is a work that all people should be working on . I believe that family history can be great blessings to our lives as we work hard on it. I will admit that it can be quite hard. There are road blocks, frustrations, and lots of time spent, but I know that the rewards outweigh the hard times. There is an incredible feeling that comes when a connection is made or a lost relative is found. These names are real people, and we need to remember that as we work on our family history. I know that when we help these people get connected to their families, they smile on us with great pleasure.
One person in my life that I strongly admire is Gordon B. Hinckley who was the prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. About family history he said, "We are responsible for the blessing, the eternal blessing, of all who have lived upon the earth, the uncounted, unnumbered generations of men and women who have lived upon the earth, and all who will yet live upon the earth. How great is our responsibility. We must stand a little taller and work a little harder to accomplish it." According to President Hinckley, the reason we do family history work is to connect our family on earth and in heaven, and get their eternal ordinances done so that they have the opportunity to accept it. I know that by doing our family history we will be blessed in numerous ways in our lives, and we will gain a connection to those who came before us.

For family history starters

So this blog isn't only going to be to be about my family. I also want to help others get started on anything to do with family history. You don't only have to work on your own family history. There are things that can be done to help family history work overall. The best way to help is indexing. Indexing is volunteer based. Volunteers take scanned documents and type the contents so that everyone can search them and view them. There are a lot of documents that need to be indexed and not a ton of people doing it yet. To get started go to, and press get started on the right hand side. From there you can either create an account or use an LDS account (same as one used for or After you create an account and download the software you can immediately get started. While you may only be one person, every thing that you index will be super beneficial. I find that not only can this be a great way to spend freetime, it is also super helpful to the worldwide family history work. Good luck on your indexing!

John Tanner's conversion story

 This is my personal summary of John Tanner's conversion story. He is #48 on the Foote Family Tree.
            In 1823, John Tanner and his family of 13 moved from Greenwich, New York to Bolton, New York. While in Bolton, he had one more son. After the birth of their last son, John’s wife Lydia Stewart died. He later married a third wife named Elizabeth Beswick. While living in Bolton, John Tanner acquired great wealth and much influence. He was well known in New York and the surrounding states. While in New York, John Tanner contracted a leg disease that was extremely painful and, to all seven physicians they consulted, incurable. For six months after contracting the disease, John Tanner suffered and never lowered his leg from a 90 degree angle or let his foot touch the ground.
In early September, 1832 it was circulated in the community that two Latter-day saint elders would preach on the Book of Mormon, not far from where John Tanner was currently living. John Tanner was very conversant with the Bible and felt that he was qualified to discuss this “false” doctrine and prove it false. While listening to these missionaries, he felt that a new light was shed on his religious life and teachings. With these new feelings about these missionaries, Simeon and Jared Carter, John Tanner invited them to his house. After he and his wife listened to the missionaries more that night, John announced that he wanted to be baptized, but will be unable to partake of the ordinance. When the missionaries asked why, John explained that his lame leg would not allow him to walk into the water to be baptized. The elders then asked if John Tanner believed that Jesus Christ healed diseases to which he replied in the affirmative. They again asked if he believed that one could be healed in these latter-days of all ailments. John Tanner stated that such a thought had never occurred to him, but that he believed that he could be healed. Elder Jared Carter then stood up and commanded John Tanner in the name of Jesus Christ to arise and walk. From his diary, John Tanner states, “I arose, threw down my crutches, walked the floor back and forth, praised God, and felt as light as a feather.” That night he walked three-quarters of a mile to Lake George and was baptized by Simeon Carter. For the rest of his life, he praised God and gave his whole life to the service of Him and His church. Later in life, he gave all of his fortune to the church in return for a slip of paper from Joseph Smith promising payment in the future. John Tanner never received this payment, as the church was incapable of paying him back. It is recorded that John Tanner ripped up the note himself and Joseph Smith promised him that as long as his family lived righteously they would always have the means of providing for themselves and would never suffer for money in their lives. I have seen this promise come true in my life and the lives of my extended family. John Tanner’s sacrifice has blessed my family in many ways. 

About Sarah Leigh's Connections

I am a student in college studying family history and genealogy and I love it. I created this blog to provide my future family and my extended family a place to come a read and learn about their ancestors. I hope to be able to provide my family with connections to these people that gave them life. While it is starting out as a project for a class, I hope to continue it all through the rest of my life to share what I am currently working on and any insights I gain about my family or family history in general. Family history is probably one of my favorite things in the world and I hope to share my enjoyment through this blog.