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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Role of the Family History Consultant

Over the past few years, I have talked to dozens of newly called family history consultants and many dozens (perhaps hundreds) more who have been consultants or who were at the time family history consultants. The overriding theme of those conversations is the lack of experience and knowledge they feel for their position in the Ward. It would seem that very often, those who issue callings to family history consultants are also unaware of the "job description" and fail to explain to the newly called consultants exactly what is expected. The Leader's Guide to Temple and Family History Work, To Turn the Hearts, provides this vital information. Here is a quote beginning on Page 19:
Consultants are skilled teachers who work and communicate well with others. While consultants need not be experts in family history research, they should be comfortable using the resources at and helping others use them. These FamilySearch resources include family pedigrees, historical records, and the FamilySearch indexing program. Youth can be called to serve as consultants when their technology skills can be helpful in assisting others. 
This is not surprising because I have found very few members of Bishoprics who are familiar with or any of its resources. Assuming that someone is called to be a family history consultant without these skills, is there anyone with the responsibility to teach them or see that they are taught? The answer is once again in the The Leader's Guide on Page 19: Here is the direct quote:
The high priests group leader directs the work of family history consultants as he:
  • Recommends members to be called and set apart as family history consultants, as 
  • requested by the bishopric.
  • Works with the bishopric to ensure that enough consultants are called to meet the needs of the ward.
  • Provides assignments to consultants, including assignments to work with certain ward members.
  • Ensures that consultants are properly prepared to perform their callings and makes them aware of the training resources at
The last point answers the question concerning the training of family history consultants. Unfortunately, the High Priests Group Leaders are very frequently ignorant of the handbook and of the programs themselves. This past week, I was speaking with a High Councilor in a Stake in the midwest who was responsible for 12 separate Church units. He was discussing the problem he had in his Stake with all of the High Priests Group Leaders who were totally unaware of any of their family history responsibilities. He further related to me that the Stake President had told him to contact each of the High Priests Group Leaders on a weekly basis for a progress report and for instruction on their duties. In another Stake, with the support of the Stake President, the High Councilors, two of which were assigned to family history responsibilities, had instructed the High Priest Group Leaders and the Stake was experiencing a dramatic growth in family history activity.

The Leader's Guide is the answer to the dilemma faced by many of the family history consultants I meet. If the Stake and Ward are providing the support called for in The Leader's Guide, then the activity of the members in family history will increase.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for writing this blog! I just started reading it and it is worth my time. I forwarded this article to my Bishop & High Priest Group Leader. Keep it up!