Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Crying in the Genealogical Wilderness

How many Ward Family History Consultants feel as though they are crying in a wildness when it comes to increasing interest and involvement in genealogy in their Ward or Stake? Despite the publicized examples of the success of certain Wards and Stakes in the Church, from my experience, genealogy is mostly "just another program demanding some time" in most cases.

One thing I have noticed as I get older, there is a tendency to move older members of the Ward into less "stressful" callings. In our back row retirement community within the Ward, there are mostly people who have less demanding jobs in the Ward. With very few exceptions, there are few of us oldsters who are serving in leadership positions in Relief Society, Primary, Young Men, Young Women, as quorum leaders or even in the Sunday School. This is not surprising in a Ward where most of the Ward leadership is half or less than my age.

Of course, long term, we need to have the youth start becoming involved in genealogy or family history or whatever you want to call it. But what about that untapped reservoir of old guys like me? What about forming a core mentoring program to help the old folks at home get more involved in doing their family history. I fully realize that I live in a unique area. Mesa, Arizona is not your typical area of the Church. We have a Ward with over fifty High Priests, almost all of whom are active. But even with this huge reservoir of older men, we have a very limited involvement in genealogically related activities among this group except for Temple service.

If every active genealogist in the Church only helped one person to get involved with their own family history this next year, the number of people involved would double. This is really simple. The Family History Consultants should be talking to every one of the older people in the Ward and find out who is even marginally interested in searching out some of their relatives. The Consultants should then take the initiative to not only do their own research, but involve at least one other person in doing active family research. This is not an impossible goal. Maybe if the Family History Consultant feels inadequate in some area, such as computer usage or whatever, the Consultant could involved someone else in helping them with computers while they help that person with genealogy. Maybe the Consultants need to invite someone to go with them to the FamilySearch Center and take a class or go to a conference? How about some one-on-one activities?

Maybe there are some lonely older people in your Ward that need something to give them a reason to get up in the morning. Maybe that something is an involvement in family history. Find them. Seek them out and help them during this coming year to become more involved in genealogy. How about it?

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