For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, families are an eternal unit and central to God's plan. Mormons perform ordinances in their temples to link families together eternally.
Because of this emphasis on family, Mormons are also very concerned with their ancestors. They believe that they can perform ordinances for their ancestors after they have passed away, including being baptized into the Mormon faith. This practice is called baptism for the dead.
The Family History Library
In an effort to promote genealogy efforts all over the world, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints founded the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah:
- It was founded in 1894 to gather genealogical records from all over the world.
- It is the largest genealogical library in the world, containing more than 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed records and 727,000 microfiche.
- All services and resources are available free of charge to Mormons and non-Mormons alike.
- It is visited by more than 1,900 patrons per day.
Family History Centers
For those who wish to use Mormon genealogy resources but cannot travel to Salt Lake, there are local Family History Centers that circulate microfilms and other materials from the Family History Library:
- There are more than 4,500 family history centers operating in more than 100 countries.
- About 100,000 rolls of microfilm are circulated to family history centers each month.
The Mormon genealogy website, www.FamilySearch.org, is one of the eminent genealogical websites available today, offering access to many different records collections free of charge:
- The Ancestral File database contains more than 36 million names that are linked into families.
- The International Genealogical Index database contains over 725 million names; some are patron submitted and some have been extracted directly from birth, christening, and marriage records.
- The Pedigree Resource File database contains more than 100 million names that have been linked into families.
In recent years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has switched to digitization of records instead of microfilming of records. The records that have already been digitized are available free on pilot.FamilySearch.org. One of the most exciting projects the Church has taken is the digitization of United States census records. Within a few years, all U.S. federal census records will be available free of charge at www.FamilySearch.org.
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