- FamilySearch 125th Records Preservation TimelineThe history of FamilySearch's records preservation efforts beginning in 1894.
- FamilySearch 125th Historical TimelineFamilySearch, aka Genealogical Society of Utah, has made great contributions to family history since its beginning in 1894.
- FamilySearch 125th Records and Services TimelineThe services nonprofit FamilySearch offers have evolved since the organization's establishment in 1894.
- FamilySearch 2019 Overview
- FamilySearch Genealogical Society of Utah Salt Lake City Locations Over 125 YearsThe Salt Lake City offices of FamilySearch, aka Genealogical Society of Utah, have changed location over the past 125 years.
FamilySearch Celebrates 125th Anniversary
What began as a humble state family history society over a century ago, today has blossomed into a global organization that continues to help millions of people make inspiring family connections. FamilySearch, formerly the Genealogical Society of Utah, is celebrating the commencement of its 125th Anniversary today. The international nonprofit is grateful to have played a part in the meteoric rise of consumer interest in family history and helping to enrich the lives of millions of people in ways that were not anticipated in the beginning.
The Genealogical Society of Utah
The Genealogical Society of Utah was established on November 13, 1894, under the direction of Wilford Woodruff, the 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.
FamilySearch (1894 - 2019)
“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,” said Stephen Valentine, senior vice president of FamilySearch International.
FamilySearch’s remarkably long and successful dedication to its cause can be attributed—in part—to the fact that it is a nonprofit subsidiary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church believes family relations can extend beyond death, and that strong families are key to healthy communities. The experiences FamilySearch creates through its products and services support those beliefs, and are freely accessible and helpful to people from all walks of life worldwide.
The Power of Knowing Your Ancestral Roots
Discovering one’s family roots has morphed over the past 125 years. 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. Convenient access to innovative genealogical services like DNA testing, unsurpassed volumes of historical records online, and the proliferation of family history-related reality TV shows have no doubt fueled the boom of consumer interest in genealogy.
New York Times bestselling author, Bruce Feiler, reiterates this principle in his book “The Secrets of Happy Families”. He teaches that the most important thing you can do for your family is to develop strong family narratives or histories that help provide a sense of identity for family members through time. Personal stories and detailed family histories are powerful and important and need to be remembered and shared he says. A related Emery University study concluded that the more children know about their larger family, the better prepared they are to deal with life’s challenges.
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. “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,” said Rockwood.
Discover your personal and family history today for free at FamilySearch.org.
Share a discovery you've made from FamilySearch at #FoundatFamilySearch.
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.