Local Church helps uncover Family Roots

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a history-enriched event at Northeast Branch Library on Friday.

The church offered the public a chance to learn about its sponsored program, FamilySearch, where families can begin their journey in searching for ancestors while building a family tree.

The records the site uses are pulled from the church’s vast collection. The church began the organized effort in collecting family records in 1894. The collection consisted primarily of books and transitioned into microfilm in 1938.

The FamilySearch website, launched in May 1999, is free compared to other well-known sites, has a database of 3 billion names from all over the world, 4,745 FamilySearch centers worldwide and a 24/7 free expert phone support service.

Also, an agreement FamilySearch entered in 2013 allows its members free access through its site to Ancestry.com, findmypast, and MyHeritage.

Shawnee Silvers, a current missionary in training for the church shared her experience as she surfed through her family history on FamilySearch.

“Before my aunt died she was really into family history,” Silvers said.  “So once I made an account it automatically linked me to the family tree she was working on, which is really cool.”

The event was not only a way to help others learn about their ancestors but also to give the community a free outlet to help search through their family tree.

Elise Bevan, a member of the Tallahassee community, shared her excitement about the website and how it is more than just a family tree.

“The profiles, they are similar to Facebook,” Bevan said. “You can add stories or photos, it’s kind of like a scrap book, it is more than just names and dates but memories.” Bevan went on to say, “Just being able to know what my ancestors have gone through has given me purpose, they have endured many different hardships, it let’s me know that I can endure mine too.”

Elder Scrowell, the host of the event, let the public in on an encouraging fact, “The best thing about the FamilySearch and vault collection is that if a natural disaster occurs nationally or internationally the family would be able to go into our database and collect information about their family members.”

Elder Scrowell, a member of the church, hosted the event and encouraged all to browse the website.

For more information on how to get started, visit www.FamilySearch.org or our local family help center at 850-222-8870.