Part of the motivation for this series is the fact that I find that general awareness of the history and even the present status of FamilySearch is all but non-existent even among members of the Church. Understanding this process is important to members of the Church because of FamilySearch's involvement in the process of submitting names for Temple work.
The basic sources for information on the history of the Genealogical Society of Utah and subsequently, FamilySearch include a book on the subject and brief selection of website references. Here is the list of references.
- Allen, James B., Jessie L. Embry, and Kahlile B. Mehr. Hearts Turned to the Fathers: A History of the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1894-1994. Provo, Utah: BYU Studies, Brigham Young University, 1995.
- Genealogical Society of Utah on the FamilySearch.org Research Wiki
- Wikipedia: Genealogical Society of Utah
- Wikipedia: FamilySearch
- Genealogical Society of Utah in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism
- Genealogical Society of Utah from the Kodak Records Management website
- The Genealogical Society of Utah as a Data Resource for Historical Demography, Lee L. Bean, Geraldine P. Mineau, Katherine A. Lynch and J. Dennis Willigan, Population Index, Vol. 46, No. 1 (Spring, 1980), pp. 6-19, Published by: Office of Population Research on JSTOR.org Click here for link to article.
Absent the book, there would be little or no actual historical information online and readily available although much of the history can be pieced together from digitized copies of The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine online on Google Books.
Any history of the Genealogical Society of Utah should also be viewed in conjunction with an overall view of the history of genealogy in the United States. As I have recommended in the past, for this history, one of the few modern sources is the book:
Weil, François. Family Trees A History of Genealogy in America. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2013.
Now, you are probably asking yourself why you should know anything about the Genealogical Society of Utah or FamilySearch? Seeking out their ancestors, documenting them and ultimately, providing essential saving ordinances for them in the Temples is a basic component of believes and to some extent, the practices of the members of the Church. I qualify the statement about practices because only such a small percentage of the membership of the Church is directly involved in the process of submitting names for Temple work. But in any event, the members of the Church should have a basic understanding of how and why we have our present-day genealogical entities, if for no other reason than to dispel rumors and diminish frustration with the system. If you know how a certain procedure came to be and why it was initiated, you are much less likely to be critical or negative towards the institution.