13 November 2019
FamilySearch has today (13 November) announced the start of celebrations to mark its 125th anniversary.
What began as a state family history society over a century ago has grown over the decades into a global organisation that continues to help millions of people discover their roots and family connections.
The origins of FamilySearch
The Genealogical Society of Utah was established on 13 November 1894, under the direction of Wilford Woodruff, te 4th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Franklin D. Richards was appointed as the society’s first president.
The purpose of the society was to help its members (who were predominantly immigrants from Europe) to gather genealogical records from their homelands so they could remember and build their ancestral connections.
The growth of FamilySearch
Stephen Valentine, senior vice president of FamilySearch International, said: “What started out as a small conservator of genealogical books has morphed today into a full complement of free online services in 10 languages, including a collaborative family tree, billions of searchable historical records, the ability to digitally preserve family memories (stories, photos, audio files, and documents), online help, and ever-expanding partner relationships."
Millions of consumers are now using online genealogy services like FamilySearch to better understand who they are and to satisfy their curiosity regarding their heritage, but Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch, is quick to remark that FamilySearch is not alone on its journey.
He credits success and longevity to the involvement of a growing community of partners - innovative tech companies, archives, governments, societies, and other entities.
He said: “We are seeing such an amazing growth of new technical breakthroughs and creative services from our partners and others. We are excited about the potential for every person on earth to tell and preserve their personal stories, to discover a better sense of who they are, and make more and more family connections for rising generations."
Report and graphics courtesy of FamilySearch