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

Sunday, May 6, 2018

A Family History Mission: Speaking at the Washington, D.C. Family History Center Conference

Washington DC Family History Center Building
No. 57

Note: You can do a Google search for "A Family History Mission James Tanner" to see all the previous posts in this ongoing series. You can also search for "James Tanner genealogy" and find them or click back through all the posts.

Some time ago, my wife and I were invited to speak/teach at the Washington D.C. Family History Center in Kensington, Maryland, right outside the Beltway around Washington, D.C. I was further invited to present the Keynote address. This turned out to be a wonderful opportunity. The Conference was well attended and extremely well organized. We were glad for the opportunity to meet and talk with such a dedicated group of genealogists. Most of the attendees were not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but come from the surrounding area. There was also a marked degree of diversity in the attendees that I have not seen before. 

One of the things that the Conference reminded me of is the fact that so few of the members of the Church are actively involved in family history research. Even though opportunities exist for excellent instruction, such as this local conference and the surrounding genealogical societies, there are very, very few members of the Church who participate. We joined and have been attending the Anne Arundel Genealogical Society meetings which are well attended. But it is evident that there are almost no members of the Church who participate in this Society. Maryland has quite a few county genealogical societies as well as an active state society and some special interest genealogy societies. I would venture to guess that there are a mere handful of LDS Church members who are regular members of any of these societies. 

This is not a new or surprising observation. Attendance at the Annapolis Family History Center is extremely low and despite observations about the increase of family history in the Church, I would suggest that the interest is generally casual and does not extend to active research except by the core, previously and always present, interest group. 

We are grateful to serve a FamilySearch oriented mission. Digitizing records in the Maryland State Archives is a wonderful opportunity to share our lives in a way that will ultimately benefit a huge number of people, whether they realize it or not or even care about what we are doing. But here and now, we are most grateful for the opportunity to help with and teach about family history. 

We thank all those who helped and supported the Washington, D. C. Family History Conference and thank them for inviting us to participate. We hope to continue to have opportunities to teach and help in the future. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for being with us! We are grateful to have you and Ann with us in Maryland this year.