FamilySearch Congratulates Federation of Genealogical Societies

Contributed By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer


In a public statement, FamilySearch thanked and recognized the nonprofit federation for "significant contribution to the family history community.”

Article Highlights

  • The federation has partnerships throughout the genealogical community.
  • The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database is one of many completed projects.

FamilySearch International, the Church’s internet family history service, congratulated the Federation of Genealogical Societies on its 40th anniversary as the federation opened its annual conference here on August 31.

In a public statement, FamilySearch thanked and recognized the nonprofit federation for “significant contribution to the family history community” and celebrated the success of its major projects over the decades and the ways those projects helped people seeking their ancestors.

“In the past 40 years, the federation has enjoyed a number of partnerships throughout the genealogical community,” said D. Joshua Taylor, federation president. “We look forward to continuing to serve the needs of genealogical societies and are committed to ensuring the preservation and access to records for generations to come.”

The FamilySearch statement highlighted the following projects:

The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database, begun in 1990 and completed in 1997. It was jointly sponsored by the National Park Service in cooperation with the federation, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Civil War Trust, and FamilySearch. This searchable online database of Civil War participants has about 6.5 million entries.

Preserve the Pensions, an ongoing joint effort to create a digital index of pensions belonging to veterans of the War of 1812. The project aims to digitize 7.2 million historic records that are quickly deteriorating, and will be available online for free when the project is complete. It relies on donations for funding, with matching contributions from FamilySearch made the first substantial contribution to the project to help initiate the digitization of the pension records.

Creation of an ongoing index of participants in the Mexican-American War (1846–48). This indexing project will involve about 130,000 entries. It is undertaken in conjunction with the National Park Service, specifically the Palo Alto Battlefield Historic Park in Brownsville, Texas.

David Rencher, FamilySearch chief genealogical officer, said the initiatives are successful because of the federation’s ability to organize online volunteers and needed resources. “When the broader genealogical community works together like that, marvelous things happen.”