Family Ancestry Search – The Mormons - Pioneers of the Family Ancestry Search
The family ancestry search website FamilySearch.org managed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormons) is well known to any genealogist worth his or her salt. If you're a beginner however, you may not realize the leading role the Mormons have taken in the realm of searching ancestors. To understand why genealogy is so important to the LDS Church, a basic knowledge of their history and tenets is required. This article will take you through that historical past, and hopefully shed some light as to how and why the Latter Day Saints became pioneers of the modern day family ancestry search.
The History of the LDS and the Family Ancestry Search
In 1830, Joseph Smith and five other men began what was to become the modern day Mormon faith. Smith had previously had what he described as a vision form God, during which God condemned all other religions as an abomination. The organization, originally called the Church of Christ, attracted around one thousand members during its first year. By 1866 its membership had gown to over sixty thousand, and today boasts a congregation of over 13 million members, all involved in their own family ancestry search.
The Mormon interest in searching ancestors stems from their deep belief in the unity of the family throughout eternity. Their interpretation of bible passages such as 1 Peter 4:6 which states; "For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit" (King James Version), further convince them that ancestors who have died without being baptized may be saved by proxy - someone standing in for them after death. This is the main reason that so many members are involved in a family ancestry search; to locate ancestors who died without being baptized, and have those sacred rites performed for them in order that they may enter God's Kingdom.
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Whatever the doctrinal reasons that LDS members perform a family ancestry search; it is their underlying love of family and the desire to be together for eternity that truly motivates them. Fortunately for the rest of us, they are happy to share that love of family with the rest of us. The Latter Day Saints now offer the largest database of genealogy records in the world freely to anyone who wishes to conduct a family ancestry search. This database, known as the International Genealogical Index contains billions of records, some of which can be accessed online, and others through their worldwide network of family ancestry search libraries known as Family History Centers.
Using the FamilySearch.org Website to Conduct a Family Ancestry Search
Conducting a family ancestry search at the FamilySearch.org website is really quite easy. The layout is very straightforward; there are no bells and whistles, it's all about finding your ancestors there. On the homepage is a search engine for their massive database, and you can begin your family search immediately by simply typing in your ancestors name, and if you have it, there last known address and time of residence. If you don't find your ancestor immediately don't despair. You can browse by geographical location, or you can take one of their online research courses to help you to find especially difficult to find relatives.
For over 100 years the Mormon Church has been sharing their genealogical records with enthusiasts around the world wishing to conduct a family ancestry search.
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They welcome anyone who wishes to conduct a family ancestry search, and offer all of their information for free. Whatever your own beliefs or denomination, take advantage of the generosity of the LDS, and begin your family ancestry search today at FamilySearch.org.