Family History Goals for 2016

A few weeks back I asked the questionWhat do we want to accomplish in 2016 with Westover Family History?

What began as an effort about a year ago to just share our family history in a different way has morphed into an improved effort with our family history. We’re reaching out, finding new family members and learning things we never imagined. It has been rewarding and humbling. And we want to keep that rolling. After interacting with a few here are our ambitious plans for 2016:

Tell five more stories
We produced five videos in 2015 designed to tell the stories of some of our common ancestors. We did this in an attempt to engage many of our younger family members who are of the Internet generations. And it worked. It has been thrilling to hear from some of my cousins as young as 8 years old who have engaged in these videos as their first efforts in family history. This year we would like to continue that effort by featuring these five family members in video: Ann Findley Westover, William Reeves Riggs Jr., Arnold Westover, Albert Smith Sr. and William Ruthvin Westover. We invite family members anywhere to lend their information and talents to these projects. We’re looking for script writers, images, film or audio files if they exist and, of course, narrators.

Build awareness of and with Family Search
As we continue to engage in connecting family we are shocked to see how few are aware of and make use of the ever changing resource that is Our family history is just exploding on Family Search. This dynamic resource is where it all happens — where family history information is not only archived but it is tied specifically to the temple work that needs to be done. We feel stronger than ever a need for all of our family everywhere to embrace and make frequent use of it and we will work to promote what it offers and explain how to use it.

Take more family names to the Temple
Changing features at now allow us to share family names that are ready to take to the temple. We plan to make active use of those features by reaching out to family members who regularly participate in temple work. We will use this site to communicate those needs and coordinate efforts to move that work forward.

Help extended family come online
As we have tried to reach out online through the various branches of the family we have had some ask about building resources similar to this site for others. The first of these is already underway and we will be launching very soon. We’re very excited to see family members rally to the cause like this because so much more can be accomplished if we work together and pool our information. We’re pleased and happy to do this and can envision a time when the Riggs or the Quilters or the Gillens or the Weltys will have their own dedicated repository online for family resources like this one.

Find something new in someone we already know
Thanks to our grandparents and those of their generation we have many names we have known about for decades. But some we know more about that others. While we have been able to find and share the stories of some, like Jonas Westover of old, there are others where we have only a few names and dates. We announced on this site more than a year ago a plan to visit some of the old Westover stomping grounds of New England. That trip is happening and I’m excited for it. We might even have some folks out there coming with us to join in the adventure. Like this site, we have some ambitious goals for this trip and I don’t even know if we can accomplish this. But we want to find something new about people we already know about. Wouldn’t it be great, for example, if we could find the burial place of Alexander Westover or learn more about his brief life? We’re going to Ohio with that purpose in mind. Wouldn’t it be awesome to uncover the trail that Amos and Ruth Westover followed from Canada to Ohio? What more can we learn of Jonas and Jonas, Jr. in the early days of America? We don’t mind covering some ground that has been covered before — if we can find something new along the way. We’re going to really try.

These are all ambitious targets. But a year from now I’d like to look back at and see something different than what we see now. I welcome your thoughts, ideas and participation along the way.

Jeff Westover
Jeff Westover

Husband, father, Latter-day Saint, 11th generation American, and web geek currently residing in Smithfield, Utah. Please visit my website at

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