Genealogy Brings Duke of Argyll to Church Headquarters

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“Genealogy Brings Duke of Argyll to Church Headquarters,” Ensign, Feb. 1977, 93

Genealogy Brings Duke of Argyll to Church Headquarters

An eighteenth-century castle in Argyll, Scotland, and modern microfilm equipment in Salt Lake City were two seemingly disparate elements that recently came into harmony when Iain Campbell, Chief of the Clan Campbell and the 12th Duke of Argyll, visited the Genealogical Department.

The duke is currently undertaking an ambitious program to restore the upper story of the ancestral Campbell home, Inverary Castle, destroyed by fire in 1975. Restoration plans include the establishment of a genealogical library and archives, along with study and research areas. The records that will become more accessible reach back into the ninth century and provide information on Campbells and the various septs or branches of the Campbell family and other families whose records were obtained by the Campbells over the past centuries.

A small percentage of these records were microfilmed by the Genealogical Department during the lifetime of the present duke’s father. Currently, the archives at Inverary Castle are closed until the half-million documents are placed in the new library facilities and classified. Genealogical records may then be microfilmed.

As steward of these family and estate records, the duke is concerned for their preservation. He visited Salt Lake City at the invitation of Church member Frank S. Campbell of Arizona, “to see what I could learn about genealogy from the Church.”

As well as seeing the genealogical library, the duke and duchess also toured the Church’s genealogical vaults near Salt Lake City. Both facilities, he said, “are outstanding. There’s nothing in the world to compare with them.”

At a special luncheon attended by President and Sister Spencer W. Kimball, together with other Church, state, and city officials, the duke issued an appeal to “my clansmen, to people with Scottish ties, and to all civilized people to aid in the restoration project.”

A new roof has been constructed on the castle, but much remains to be done to create the new research libraries and to restore some of the fine artwork that was damaged in the fire. Some 2,000 paintings were destroyed, along with many fine furnishings.

Those in the United States and Canada who are interested in assisting the creation of the libraries at Inverary may do so by sending their tax-deductible contributions to: Inverary Castle Restoration, Jacob More Society, c/o Zion’s First National Bank, 1 South Main St., Salt Lake City, Utah 84101.

Contributors in Britain and Commonwealth countries other than Canada should send their donations to: The Honorary Treasurer, Inverary Castle Restoration Appeal, Bank of Scotland, 64 George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 2YS.

President and Sister Spencer W. Kimball receive a history of Argyll and Inverary from the Duke and Duchess of Argyll.