Exploring The Challenging Nature Of Genealogy Through Church Records
Many people find genealogy to be especially challenging, to be almost as frustrating as it is fascinating. After all, what we’re trying to do is not for the faint hearted, delving through so much information and going back as far as we can to try to reveal everything that we need to know about our ancestors. As a race of people, we are always thirsty for knowledge and it’s hardly surprising that some people become almost addicted to the task of building their family tree. It seems that we are prepared to do almost anything to find out this information and will not be slowed at all, as we come across the inevitable “brick wall” from time to time.
As amateur genealogists, it’s good to know that there are a number of expert professionals around to help us when we need them. We should never be afraid to seek out their assistance as we dig through all those artifacts, piece together different records and stumble from time to time along those dead-end paths!
We’re lucky to have such a fabulous resource in the Family History Library of the Mormon Church. Experts say that this is the most extensive database of information available when it comes to genealogy and our efforts to trace our family histories.
Extraordinary genealogy artifacts may be found within the main library of the LDS, which is based in Salt Lake City. There’s an amazing collection of historical data, made up of more than 400,000 microfiche records, 300,000 books and 2 million rolls of microfilm. This information has been gathered from manuscripts, periodicals, resources and as ordered by the church latter day saints genealogy records were gathered for specific needs. According to the church, the prophet Elijah mandates that the family unit should be absolutely cohesive and consequently formal records need to be gathered.
Not surprisingly, the art of genealogy and the latter day saints are inexorably linked in many people’s eyes, due to the efforts of the church and the creation of these resources. You can turn to staff members for advice to help you with your research and also work with computerized family search records. Within these records, you will find US census data going back to 1790 and a lot of information from county, local and state sources.
The Ancestral File is probably the most complete genealogy database available to you. Its value is in the information contributed by individual genealogists, who have uncovered all kinds of information over the decades. The church does not verify the information, but its work in compiling it for you is a good starting point.
Another good resource is the Family Registry, where you will come across information that may have been uncovered by other individuals as they crossed into your area of interest. This shows the value of sharing, as information that might not be of interest to one party could be just the golden nugget that another party is looking for.
In addition to the main facility in Utah, there are a variety of different local branches. Here, you can start your research, before making the trip to Salt Lake City, if necessary, to view the actual records themselves.
About the Author
Chris Barber is the author of the genealogy handbook, ‘Who Do You Think You REALLY Are?’ Find great tips and advice in his free minicourse, and discover how the material contained in the Mormon database can help you in your
latter day genealogy
research. Download for free now at
Jewish Genealogy Conference at LDS Family History Library
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