New Missionary Database Finds Early Church Missionaries in Your Family Tree

Contributed By Chase Wheatley, LDS.org Church News staff writer

  • 23 June 2017

A new experience on FamilySearch.org allows Church members to easily find early Church missionaries among their ancestors.

Article Highlights

  • FamilySearch’s new Missionary Database site finds early Church missionaries in your family tree.
  • See ancestors’ mission journals, letters, reports, photos, and more.

Ever wonder if you are related to one of the early missionaries of the Restoration? Someone like Samuel Smith, Parley P. Pratt, or Dan Jones? Well, you just might be!

The Missionary Database is an exciting new service from the Church History Department and FamilySearch that helps members of the Church discover early Church missionaries in their family tree.

The experience is made up of two parts: Church History's Early Mormon Missionaries database, which allows members to search through records of early missionaries, and the FamilySearch.org missionary campaign, which automatically matches missionaries from the database to the family trees of those who log in.

This experience provides far more than just a list of names and dates, however. You can use it to learn more about where and when your ancestor missionaries served, see a tree showing exactly how they are related to you, and learn who else served in or presided over that mission and who set them apart.

Allison Hadley, campaign manager for FamilySearch, said, “Patrons can really dig deep into the incredible documents and resources attached to the missionary bios on the database. … Through the database, patrons have access to very personalized content from call letters (often handwritten), registries, mission journals, photos, etc.”

A fruitful collaboration

The Missionary Database is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the Church History Department and FamilySearch. 

More than a year ago, the Church History Department announced the digitization of a vast amount of early missionary records. The service of almost 40,000 men and women who served proselytizing missions from 1830–1930 were compiled into a single Early Mormon Missionaries database on history.lds.org. (See related story.)

Then Church History reached out to FamilySearch to bring this information to the public.

We worked with Church History to match our patrons to their ancestors in the database,” Hadley said. “Patrons can now log on to the campaign page and see their relatives who served missions during that first 100 years, all in one place. It makes it easy so they don’t have to scour their tree to figure out who might have served a mission and then search for them in the database.”

Stories to inspire all

Anyone can use the Missionary Database, said Hadley. “Everyone has a missionary heritage, even if it’s their own conversion story.”

The database helps members find inspiring stories of faith and perseverance from members’ own ancestry. The many incredible stories detailed in the various letters, journals, and reports of these missionaries are sure to inspire their descendants and are an excellent way to spark someone’s interest in their family history, she said.

Inspiring today’s missionaries

Steven D. King, a manager in the Church’s Missionary Department, is especially excited about how the missionary database will benefit those serving missions. 

“As a call and assignment are received, great joy can come from knowing the receipt of that call is carrying on a great family tradition of missionary service,” King said. He added that “to learn about the missionary sacrifices of our ancestors may help some of our missionaries rise above some of the similar challenges they may face.”

Using the database

To search the Missionary Database, all you need is a free FamilySearch account. (If you already have an LDS.org account, you can use the same username and password that you use to log in to LDS.org.) If you have already created a family tree on FamilySearch.org, then you only have to log in at familysearch.org/missionary and the database automatically will pull up early Church missionaries from your family. From there, simply pick one you'd like to learn more about and see where and when they served.

The new Missionary Database allows Church members to easily find early Church missionaries among their ancestors.