News Release

Enabling the Search for Our Ancestors

Family History consultants for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are continually searching for ways to help others find the stories of their ancestors. For example, Peter Bushi, an expert genealogist of Indian ancestry is teaching a special Indian Genealogy Research Seminar on February 23, 2019 at #2 Jalan 52/4, Petaling Jaya, from 5 to 7 pm. All who are interested are invited to attend.

Perhaps you know a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints searching for his or her ancestors; or perhaps you are aware of efforts by the Church to make available civil or religious records from around the world. In either case, you might ask, why are the members of the Church and why is the Church itself interested in historical records of deceased individuals?

There are multiple answers. Many members recognize that without knowing their ancestors, they have an incomplete understanding of who they are. Through our DNA or another unknown connection, we may recognize similar traits or abilities in our predecessors and us. Some may feel that if their ancestors overcame difficulties, there may be keys to help us with similar challenges. Whatever the reason, when we learn the story of an ancestor, we often become intensely interested and even excited.

Members of the Church believe that we are organized into families by divine design. While not all of our ancestors have made good choices, many have labored and sacrificed in our behalf. We believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in 1830 through a prophet. That has made opportunities available to us through Gospel ordinances. In special houses of worship called temples, we can make those ordinances available to our ancestors.

Because records deteriorate with age, may be lost or may be destroyed, the Church has sent out camera teams throughout the world to capture images. In 2016, these teams were capturing about 500 million records per year.

In an attempt to provide safe storage, the Church prepared a huge vault in a granite mountain. This will preserve the records until they can be made available digitally. In 2016, more than 3.5 billion images were available on microfilm, microfiche, and digital media and the number is growing exponentially.

Then, to enable individuals to access their own family records, a crowdsourcing effort has been organized throughout the world. Hundreds of thousands of individuals have participated as volunteer transcriptionists, which have produced more than one billion searchable records. Still the camera teams have outpaced what is indexed.

Though the task seems daunting, members of the Church search for their own ancestors and also volunteer to digitize records for others to access. In the KL District, many of the indexers are young single adults who speak and read English as well as other languages and can extend the blessings of finding family history gems to others.

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