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

Friday, March 24, 2017

What is Family History?

Members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can look to the website in addition to the website for information about family history in the Church. There is also additional information on the website. Quoting from the website shown in the screenshot above, we find the following explanation about family history and the Church.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints use family history records to perform sacred temple ordinances, such as eternal marriages and sealings of children to parents, for their kindred dead if these deceased family members were unable to perform the earthly rites themselves. This gives deceased ancestors the opportunity to accept these ordinances in the afterlife. 
While the reach of genealogy is as vast as humankind itself (the Church’s website currently holds over three billion records and grows daily), family history work also functions on the local level. Church members accumulate and save the stories and photos of their ancestors and record their own stories for their own posterity, thereby linking generations who would otherwise not know each other.
 There are also, a large number of resources and links to resources on the website.
Some of the information available is basic and directed at beginners. But many of the links lead to extensive resources even for advanced family historians.  By clicking upon the "Learn to Use" icon on the above webpage, you can access more extensive support information.
Each of the options listed on this page are links to further, more extensive, instructions contained in The Family History Guide, an extensive online instructional website for family history.
I have long been convinced that many people in the Church a reticent about doing their family history merely because they do not know how to get started. What is becoming very apparent is that the Church has been quietly and consistently adding extensive training and educational resources directed at family history. I am still surprised to find how few people, overall, in the Church are regular viewers of the website. I am even more surprised to find out that there are still many members that do not have or do not know their login and password for an LDS account and therefore have not logged into It is clear that there is a definite movement towards making all of the Church's resources available online. However, if the members of the Church do not make the effort to regularly access the Church's websites, they will miss all of the opportunities afforded by these vast resources.

One example, in my own Ward, which had an active newsletter posted regularly on, was surprised to learn that the Church was discontinuing the newsletters on the website because of lack of interest. In addition, I regularly teach classes to Church leaders in which I show the resources available on for family history and the response from the classes that very few if any were aware of these resources before the class. Groucho Marx is quoted as saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get him to float on his back then you've got something." I can paraphrase this by saying, you can provide all the resources possible about family history but until someone actually uses them you have not got anything.

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