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Family Search is a non-profit genealogical website run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because the Church feels it is important that anyone who is interested is able to learn about his family history, the website (as well as other Family History resources) is available to anyone from any religious background or culture. The website is a tremendous resource through which the Church provides records it has been gathering over a hundred years.
Doing genealogy (family history work) is important to members of the Mormon Church because its doctrine teaches that life does not end with death. (See Plan of Salvation.) Family units can continue after death when members make and keep special covenants made in the temple. People who have passed away can also make these covenants and be united with their families throughout eternity. This work, however, must be done by proxy, where living persons stand in on behalf of deceased persons. Once the work is done for a specific person, that person can then choose if he would like to accept it or not. Members of the Church feel it is vitally important that all who have passed away at least have the option to choose. In order to do this work, Church members must be able to identify their ancestors, which leads to family history work.
The LDS Church has set up many family history centers through the country and has a large Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. With the development of the internet, Church leaders saw the potential to assist people in doing their family history work and launched the Family Search website. To use LDS Family Search, visit www.familysearch.org. You can then register for free with the website. When registering, you will be asked for Church membership information, but this is optional and can be left blank. The website will then provide you with your own place to share records with people and turn records in to the Church that you have found through other sources, so that other people searching for their family history will have access to them. This is also optional.
If you are just starting family research, you can find helpful tips by reading the information titled “How do I get started?” on the right hand side of the screen. If you are stuck, and cannot find anything, another option is to locate a Family History Center in your area. This source is located on the home page of Family Search in a light green box in the middle of the screen. Like the website, the services offered at Family History Centers are free. There are volunteers there who can help you locate things you might not find otherwise or explain how to get started.
Resources and References
- FamilySearch.org - LDS Church run website for discovering your family tree
- New.FamilySearch.org - LDS Church website for tracking temple work on your family tree
- Labs.FamilySearch.org - Record Search is a quick and easy way to search millions of historical records for clues about your ancestors. Many census records have been digitally catalogued to allow for automated search of your forefathers. Click on a map to see what records exist for a geographic area or enter what you know about an ancestor, click search, and see matching records - all online. We're adding millions of new records so be sure to check back often. (requires Adobe Flash Player).
- Genealogy.Wikia.com - Free Wiki format allows for multiple users to share genealogical research on their forefathers. Similar to MormonWiki.
- USGenWeb.org - Free genealogy and family history online made possible by the USGenWeb Project volunteers. ... and fully committed to free genealogy access for everyone.
- Cyndi's List - Provides links to thousands of categorized and cross-referenced genealogical resources.
- Genealogy Toolbox - The Genealogy Toolbox is collection of tools to assist those interested in researching their genealogy or family history. Links to hundreds of thousands of Web sites with content relevant to family history resources, as well as linking to content gathered by our TreEZy search engine, and digitized images of original documents.
- FamilySearchIndexing.org - LDS Church website using an army of volunteers to build a giant online indexing system. Volunteers from around the world are able to quickly and easily transcribe the records -- all from the convenience of their homes. The indexes are then posted for FREE at familysearch.org. Millions of rolls of microfilm provide census, vital, probate, and church records from over 100 countries for indexing projects. Governments, churches, societies, and commercial companies are also working to make more records available. (See Family Search Indexing.)
- Pilot.FamilySearch.org - LDS Church website similar to labs.FamilySearch.org using state of the art technology for family search.