Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

FamilySearch Family Tree is not just for Members of the LDS Church

FamilySearch is a wholly owned corporation owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the LDS Church or Mormons). Genealogy crosses cultural, ethnic and religious boundaries. My family may be members of the LDS Church, but my ancestors were Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Lutherans, to name a few. As far as possible, FamilySearch tries to be absolutely fair and neutral in its dealings with researchers of all faiths and backgrounds. For example, as volunteers (Missionaries) at the Mesa FamilySearch Library, as a policy, we do not discuss religion at all with the patrons, except as it relates to research on their family lines.

I am sure that there are individuals who do not follow this policy, but the FamilySearch websites and programs are open to all regardless of religious affiliation or no religious affiliation.

That said, there are some things about genealogy that are unique to those who are members of the Church. Because of our fundamental religious beliefs in proxy ordinances for our deceased ancestors, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the Church and its members. The two programs, and Family Tree are used in part by members of the Church for qualifying ancestors for proxy ordinances.

To those who confuse both our motives and our actions, we (and I am in particular) are willing to discuss our beliefs. But a fundamental tenant of our believe is as follows: "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." (11th Article of Faith). There will always be those who see conspiracy at every turn, but we have no alternative agenda when it comes to genealogy.

Family Tree (unlike its predecessor is not limited to members of the Church. Anyone can register and gain access right now, even before the program is completely released and before many features have been added. Family Tree may well become the largest repository of sourced family history information in existence. It will be unique in establishing a way to identify each person in the world family tree. was intended to do this, but had some fundamental limitations. Family Tree goes past those limitations and builds on the huge resources available. If you turn up your nose at Family Tree because of its religious sponsor, you will be missing one of the most valuable resources for genealogical research that has ever been created. 


  1. I appreciate the opportunity I have to use this resource. Thanks LDS church for making this possible.

  2. Where do I go to find out how to sign up. I tried following the Family Search blog instructions of Jun 30, and got an error message; something on the order of "this person does not exist or is restricted."

    1. The full instructions are in the Help Menu for If you click on Help, the instructions are at the bottom of the page.

    2. Thank your for your help. I got the same message. Perhaps my registration has timed out and no longer exists?

      I will take this up with tomorrow.

      Thank you again for your prompt help.

  3. I stumbled upon your blog a while a go and I could not stop reading! I have thought of looking into my ancestry. Thanks for this it was really full of great resources for my family tree. I will be visiting this site as soon as I can. Looking forward to your other posts.

  4. I'm getting ready to upload a family tree. I was thinking of Ancestry/Rootsweb, but now I see FS Family Tree is coming.

    Is there any advantage of one over the other? Or should I upload to both? If both, I forsee synchronization problems, but maybe that's acceptable.