Local Genealogy Seminars

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“Local Genealogy Seminars,” Ensign, Jan. 1976, 85

Local Genealogy Seminars

“One of the major purposes of the Priesthood Genealogy Seminar at Brigham Young University has always been to train local priesthood leaders and genealogy teachers to become more knowledgeable in their genealogy assignments, that they might, in turn, train others in their local Church units.” (Elder Theodore M. Burton, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve.)

Last summer the Priesthood Genealogy Committee, in conjunction with the Church Educational System, conducted the tenth annual Priesthood Genealogy Seminar on the campus of Brigham Young University. One of the purposes of this annual seminar is to teach local priesthood leaders how to conduct seminars on the stake and regional levels. As a result of the information and materials received at the BYU seminar, many stakes have held or are scheduling local seminars.

To help in the planning of a seminar, the Priesthood Genealogy Committee has made available a booklet entitled How to Organize a Priesthood Genealogy Seminar. The booklet details a six-month planning schedule, with tasks divided among several committees operating under the direction of the stake president.

It also recommends that seminars begin on a Friday evening and continue through Saturday. Subjects to be taught should be approved by the stake presidency and can be geared to local needs.

Use of local specialists as teachers is recommended, although others from outside the area may be invited and can be suggested by the Church Priesthood Genealogy Committee. This practice should be limited, however, due to travel expense, which must be borne by the local unit. All guidelines are subject to adaptation under local priesthood direction.

Earlier this year, a successful seminar was held by the San Jose and San Francisco California regions. Thomas E. Daniels, executive secretary of the Church Priesthood Genealogy Committee, attended and spoke on the general Church programs and priesthood responsibilities in genealogy. Local speakers and instructors included Robyn Gottfried, associate archivist for the Federal Archives and Record Center of the General Services Administration in San Bruno, California. She is specifically trained in directing researchers to the records they need. Geraldine Davis, reference librarian at the Sutro Branch of the California State Library, also attended and provided information from her area of expertise. A professional researcher, Inez Von Harten, and Barbara Myers, a genealogy teacher in the Cupertino Parks and Recreation Department, were other instructors. Genealogy branch librarians from the area also reported on their activities. Through this local seminar, genealogy leaders were able to obtain information tailored to their needs.

How to Organize a Priesthood Genealogy Seminar, which gives instructions and describes visual aids, films, and filmstrips for a seminar, is available at no cost from the Priesthood Genealogy Committee, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.