The Key to Using the Mormon Church Genealogy Database Successfully

The focus of the Mormon Church genealogy database is on how interrelated we are. This explains their depth of interest in studies such as those conducted by Joseph Chan. Chang indicated exactly how many ancestors we have, tens of millions! If you remember, his studies showed that if you had any European blood, even a drop, that you are a direct descendant of eighty per cent of the population of Europe in 1000AD. That would give you approximately 30 million ancestors going back to that time.

Of course, there is no way of tracing your family tree back that far. Even if you went back to 1500AD, you would be looking at tens of thousands of direct ancestors! Documentation in most countries began around the mid seventeenth century, and even these records can be hard to find. Time, civil unrest, war and weather have all contributed to the wear and tear of civil records, but the good news is that some may be found in the Mormon Church genealogy database.

Collaboration is the Key According to the Mormon Church

The genealogy database maintained by the Latter Day Saints contains over a billion records, and according to them, this compilation was only possible with the help of God’s spirit, and the collaboration of its members. The successful usage of this database, they say, relies on those same factors. The New FamilySearch (the official name for the Mormon genealogy database) is designed specifically with research oriented collaboration among genealogists in mind.

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Until recently, genealogy research was done very much on an individual basis, with different family trees and branches of them occasionally mingling and resources then shared. Many easy-to-find family names were duplicated, while less popular families were left relatively undiscovered, even those who were members of the Mormon Church. Genealogy research has been influenced by modern technology however, and the new website is geared to speed up the genealogy process and expand the database.

The Importance of Communication in Searching the Mormon Church Genealogy Database

Effective communication is a necessary component of a successful genealogy search. Good communication allows more to be accomplished in a lesser amount of time, as well as contributing to the overall accuracy of the construction of family trees. The Mormon Church encourages open communication amongst members in building and expanding their genealogical database, asking them to share email addresses and information amongst each other without borders. They are also asked to practice Bible principles such as honesty, integrity, and especially forgiveness if a relative makes a mistake when compiling information. These principles have been effective in:

  • Developing sound relationships among genealogical researchers within the Mormon Church
  • The genealogical database is constantly updated with new and accurate information
  • Specialisation and consequent expertise within particular niches of Mormon genealogy
  • A database of over a billion records

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Good communication within your own family will help you to build your own database of family facts, which you can use to when tracing your own family tree. Gather as many marriage, birth, death certificates and other documentation as you can before attempting to search on Names, place names and dates are all options for entry into their search engine, and the more you have, the greater your chances of success. In my next article I’ll take you through the process of registering on the FamilySearch website and discuss the basics of searching the Mormon Church genealogy database.

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