Family History Goals for 2017

Looking back at goals set in the past is some times a difficult exercise — especially when we fail.

We set ambitious family history goals for 2016 and in many respects I feel like I failed miserably.

We did not produce all the videos we hoped, we didn’t do well in our efforts to unite the family more on Family Search, we did not take as many names to the temple as we could have, and our big family history trip did not happen.

But the purpose of setting targets is not make you feel bad. While we didn’t meet our goals last year we were not idle either — and that is the real value in setting goals.

We did manage to share the collection of war letters from Carl Begich, learned a little bit more about the life of Gardner Snow, shared our venture to RootsTech 2016, produced the video about the life of Ann Findley Westover, engaged the family is sharing brief audio stories of their mothers, shared the pioneer story of Grandma Sophie, produced a video about the story of William and Ruth Westover, and we expanded and refined the personal history of Maurine R. Westover, a collection that now includes more than 40 videos and detailed notes.

We also visited the temple a great deal in 2016 and manged to complete more than 300 ordinances for family members of different branches of the family.

I wonder what would not have been accomplished in 2016 if we had not set the targets we did. In all, it was a very good year for family history.

As we move forward I feel we must continue to set high goals to improve our results and to reach and engage more members of the family.

In looking back, I think we should as well prioritize a little better the work we are doing. Really, the temple work should come first. While the 300+ names we worked with last year is a good accomplishment this year I would like to make that temple work more of a focus. I think with the help of others in the family we can perform 1000 ordinances in 2017 — and I think that should be our primary goal.

I do feel the efforts of storytelling through word and video should continue. In 2017 I would like to take on the ambitious project of producing a video documenting the life of William R. Riggs — and in this video I would like to include interviews with members of the family with memories of him. I would like to as well tell the story through video of Arnold and Mary Westover.

And I feel an introduction of sorts should be made of Albert Smith and his family. That’s a big story and one that will eventually produce a video. But I think this year an introduction of some sort would be most appropriate.

I have some smaller targets for 2017 to pursue as well. For example, I want to find a more visual way of showing our family tree.

And I’d like to find other members of the family who would be willing to write and share their own efforts in family history and what they know right here on the website.

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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