Saturday, January 26, 2008

Family History Fair

I attended a family history fair this morning learning about the new FamilySearch website. It's a wonderful new tool for members of the church (or family history volunteers in family history centers) to help people manage their ancestral information. It's intent is to help manage ordinance work being done in the temple to reduce duplication and to aid cooperative genealogical research. It also streamlines the process to submit names to the temple to have their temple ordinances performed.

It's awesome. Earlier this week, I went to the site and registered and immediately up popped on the screen my entire line up at least 8 generations. This new website will help me to go find out if that is really true. So far, I have barely scratched the surface of what's in there, so my problem is really going to be verification of the content and combining duplicate records.

It turns out that I am the beneficiary and unfortunate victim of being the descendent of very long lines of church members, many of whom were gung-ho about doing genealogical and temple work. What this means is that, as far as I can tell, "all" of the temple work for my ancestors has been done. Additional research of lines that have not been done will not be easy, as they are very far in the past or the records are not readily accessible, if they exist at all. Nevertheless, I'm doing my best, and will probably begin going "sideways" and "down" my family tree.

Last year, I actually pulled some bishop's records from a church in England to research a dead-end line on my family name. I found all sorts of interesting records, including one that gave the actual marriage date of my great, great, great grandfather, which, to my knowledge, nobody contemporary ever knew. However, when I went to look to see if the ordinances had been done for the people that I had "found", it turned out that the ordinances had already been done through the "extraction" program. Now I need to piece together the puzzle and make sure the temple work that's been done is comprehensive. It is a lot of fun to make these discoveries, but it is very frustrating to find that the temple work has already been done for these people, because I want to do it myself!

Ah, well, that's the breaks. I'm very excited to learn more about this website and to finally clean up my family history. It'll be a long road, but one that's worth it.

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