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

Friday, June 9, 2017

Family Group Records and the Family Tree

Family Group Records Collection, Archives Section, 1942-1969
Back in about 1942, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began the process of using "Family Group Records" (aka Family Group Sheets) to enable members to submit names for Temple ordinances. 5,337,178 of these paper forms have been digitized by FamilySearch and are in the Family Group Records Collection, Archives Section, 1942-1969 on FamilySearch.org. Interestingly, paper copies of these Family Group Records are still floating around.

Many members of the Church participated in the four and five generation submission programs beginning back in the 1960s. Much of that information was compiled and included in the Ancestral File which has also been digitized and included on FamilySearch.org Genealogies section.


Some people are still compiling their genealogy on paper. Many people also have their "genealogy" on floppy disks. From my own experience in working with people who have these old compilations, especially those with files in the old Personal Ancestral File program, I have found that nearly all of this information is duplicated in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree. Even if the person with the old paper Family Group Records claims to have personally done all the research, there is still a very good chance that some of the information has already been incorporated into the Family Tree. I also find that few of these people who have information on paper or floppy disks have compared that information with what is already in the Family Tree.

The issue here is duplication of effort. If you start doing research today and do not carefully review what is already online, it is very likely that you will be duplicating what has already been entered online in some family tree or another. This is not a comment directed at the accuracy of the information. That is another issue. But anytime you start doing research today, to avoid duplication, you need to see if your genealogy is already online.

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