Search billions of records on
ADULT SOS Challenge  A-5   

Gather the "Low-Lying Fruit"
Family Descendancy Charts

This challenge is about doing descendancy research—that is, researching all of the descendants of a chosen ancestor, down the tree, rather than doing ancestry research which follows direct lines up the tree, and usually does not branch out to collateral lines (the families of the brothers and sisters of our direct ancestors). Doing descendancy research is picking the low-hanging fruit.

Remember to keep a journal of your progress, your experiences, and your feelings about completing this challenge.

Here are the tasks for you to accomplish for this challenge.   (If you get a week behind in the schedule -- No Worries!  -- just pick up where you left off and continue on!)

Week 1:

  1. During the first week, read the article by George D. Durrant entitled “Branching Out on Your Family Tree,” found in the April 2007 Ensign magazine  Click here to read online   "Branching Out On Your Family Tree"
  2. Select an ancestor for whom you would like to find all the descendants. For this challenge we suggest you choose an ancestor born after 1830.

  3. Create a family group record for that ancestor and their immediate family.

  4. Create a family group record for each child of that ancestor, with that child as a parent, along with their spouse and children. Continue this exercise with each generation as you progress down the tree.

  5. Look for gaps in your records. Are there gaps in families—too many years between children? Perhaps some children are missing. Make note of information you need to find or verify.

  6. Inform extended family members of what you are doing and solicit their help in identifying the children of each generation of descendants and who they married.

  7. Go online to the website and search for your ancestor and the names of his or her children and grandchildren etc. Make copies and/or add new information to your records. There are other genealogy websites which may also contain information on your family, such as,, and The last is a membership fee-based website.

Week 2:

  1. Go to the Family History Library and search records which may provide the names and information on descendants. Several types of records exist for any country and they are often indexed. Many records and indexes may be available online. Types of records may include:

    1. Census records—indexes and images are available on various websites, which you can freely use at the library. These list all members of a household with their ages, birth places, and most often relationships.

    2. Vital records—government records of births, marriages, and deaths. Depending on the place and the time period, these records may exist and will provide names, dates, places and relationships.

    3. Church records—contain baptisms, marriages, burials, or membership records which can give names and relationships as well as dates.

    4. Cemetery records—family members may be buried near one another. Gravestones may give names, dates and relationships.

    5. Probate records—can name family members. Usually when someone writes a will, he or she lists the names of their spouse, their children, and possibly their children’s spouses, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews.

    6. Newspaper obituaries—may name family members and give relationships.

    7. Land records—may name family members and give relationships.

  1. Organize your records as you collect them. Keep paper copies in a folder and record data on forms or use a genealogy software program, such as the Personal Ancestral File (PAF), to organize your family data and sources. This program can be downloaded for free from the website or can be purchased on CD at the library.  Our ward FH Consultants are willing to give you one-on-one lessons on how to use PAF.

  2. You should make copies of the records you find and file them in a folder. Add new information to your forms or genealogy program.

Weeks 3-5:

Continue working on your tasks.

Week 6:

  1. Conclude working on your tasks.

  2. Make copies of your completed descendancy record and share them with your family members.

  3. When you have completed the record of descendants for your ancestor, you should check to see who needs to have temple ordinances completed for them. You can do this on the website. 


At our ward summer social, bring a copy of your descendancy record to the concluding ceremony to show as evidence of finishing your challenge in order to receive your award of completion.