LDS Family Tree
"The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead."
- Joseph Smith
Because of the huge importance of families in Mormonism, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are heavily involved in family history and genealogy work. In temples around the world they perform baptisms for the dead and other ordinances for their ancestors who have passed away.
The LDS family tree website, www.FamilySearch.org, contains several different databases and billions of ancestor names. The Ancestral File contains patron-submitted records of ancestors linked to their spouses, parents and children; the Pedigree Resource File contains ancestors linked into extensive family trees; and the International Genealogical Index contains all ancestors submitted by LDS church members for temple work, as well as individuals whose names were extracted from original records.
Because of all the genealogy work that has been done by members of the LDS faith, it's a good idea to check FamilySearch before you start conducting heavy-duty family history research. That way you don't have to duplicate the work that others have already done, because chances are good that at least part of your family tree has been completed.
At FamilySearch.org you can also download the free LDS family tree software. The program is called Personal Ancestral File, or PAF, and it is free and easy-to-download. On PAF you can enter ancestors and store your family tree.
You can also use Family Search to see what records are available from the Family History Library, the largest genealogical library in the world. The Family History Library, operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is based in Salt Lake City, Utah:
- The Church photographs genealogical records from all over the world.
- The images are then converted to microfilm; currently more than 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed records have been made.
- The microfilmed records are stored in the Family History Library, where they can be viewed free of charge by Mormons and non-Mormons alike. The Family History Library is staffed by more than 700 trained volunteers who provide assistance to patrons.
- People desiring to use the Family History Library resources who cannot travel to Salt Lake can go to one of the 4,526 Family History Centers around the world. There they can order microfilms on loan from the Family History Library.
The Church is also sponsoring many new efforts to digitize genealogical records:
- Family Search Indexing: Volunteers index original records and then the records are made available free on pilot.FamilySearch.org. The U.S. Federal Census will be completed within a few years.
- NewFamilySearch: The updated version of FamilySearch is now being released. It features a more streamlined collaboration process, so you can contact people who are working on your family lines and compare notes.
- FamilySearch Research Wiki: For any research question that you have, you can find answers or post queries on wiki.FamilySearch.org. You can also contribute your own genealogical knowledge.
Through online databases, free family history software, microfilmed records, and digitization projects, the LDS church enriches family history and genealogy research everywhere.
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