Finding Where You Fit—The Four-Generation Program
September 1979

“Finding Where You Fit—The Four-Generation Program,” Ensign, Sept. 1979, 77–78

Finding Where You Fit—The Four-Generation Program

Now they want to know where you fit—as well as who you are.

That’s why, for the first time, the Genealogical Department wants you to turn in a pedigree chart along with your four-generation family group sheets for the new “ancestral file.”

But you don’t even know the difference between a pedigree chart and a group sheet? Relax. All you need to do is follow the simple steps below.

If you’ve already turned in all of your four-generation records, your job will be a little easier, but you still need to submit the pedigree chart along with the family group record forms. Here are the guidelines, adapted from information already sent by the Genealogical Department to priesthood leaders, that will let you in on the new procedures:

1. Get a copy of From You to Your Ancestors (stock no. PBGS0683, $1.00), a self-study workbook. It will tell you the difference between a family group record form and a pedigree chart, and will show you how to fill them out. Order your copy through the individual in your ward or branch who coordinates requests for materials and supplies (usually one of the ward clerks), or write Salt Lake City Distribution Center, 1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104. Make check payable to “Corporation of the President.” (This book is the student manual for the twelve-week basic genealogy Sunday School course, where individualized help is available.)

2. Working with your adult brothers and sisters and your parents (if they are living), prepare eight forms: one pedigree chart and seven family group sheets. As a family, you will submit only one set of these records. (See #5 below.)

If it is impossible to get together with your brothers and sisters or to accomplish this assignment through correspondence, you should complete the assignment on your own.

3. Write your name or the name of one of your adult brothers or sisters in space 1 on the pedigree chart, and you may also want to list the names of the other brothers and sisters above it. You constitute the first generation, and as such, appear as children on the first family group sheet to be submitted. Your parents will appear in spaces 2 and 3 on the pedigree chart and as children on the 2nd and 3rd family group sheets. Their parents (your four grandparents) will appear in spaces 4, 5, 6, and 7 on the pedigree chart, and as children on the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th family group sheets. Those are the four generations you will be dealing with.

If you desire, you may submit forms for generations beyond the required four, but that is optional. If you do decide to go beyond four generations, list the names of your great-great grandparents in the spaces for the fifth generation on the pedigree chart, and then start a new pedigree chart for each one of them.

Although you will want a family group sheet for your own records showing you as parents and listing your children, you don’t need to submit it. That information is already held in Church membership files, which are, in effect, genealogical records of the present younger generation.

If a younger generation turns in their four-generation records, their parents don’t need to submit anything.

Your spouses will be submitting their records through an adult brother or sister in their own family.

4. While filling in the information called for on the record forms, strive for accuracy. Don’t just copy old records, expecting them to be accurate. Combine efforts as a family to ensure that the information is correct. Consult the records of other relatives. Make sure that the information is consistent and logical. Where there are discrepancies or uncertainties, check original documents, but avoid the undue expense of obtaining copies of original documents unnecessarily. You don’t have to document every detail, but you should feel good about the accuracy of the records you compile and submit.

No new forms have been designed for this new ancestral file. Use the standard legal-sized pedigree charts and family group records. Be sure to type or print in black ink.

5. Because only one set of your eight record forms is needed in Salt Lake City, select one of the brothers or sisters to submit one set of the completed records on behalf of the family. This person may have his ward or branch forms examiner review the records. Each family member could then inform his or her priesthood leader that the records have been submitted. Of course you’ll want to keep a copy of these records in your personal files.

6. The person submitting the forms should send them to the Genealogical Department, Ancestral File, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. Ideally, much of the work of compiling and submitting these records will be done during the sesquicentennial year of the Church—1980—a fitting tribute to our pioneer and other ancestors.

7. Although some of your record forms will be identical to those submitted by other relatives (uncles, aunts, cousins), no two families will have the same names on all eight sheets. Therefore, your brother/sister family should submit a copy of all eight of your forms, even though you know that some of the same records will be submitted by other relatives. Of course, you should join efforts with any relatives as needed during the compiling and correcting stages of the project—but not during the submission stage.

8. After making a thorough search and finding all the information currently available, if you have forms with incomplete information, submit what you have.

9. In submitting records to the Genealogical Department, consider the rights of privacy of other living people.

10. Please remember: no temple ordinances will be performed from the records you submit for this ancestral file. To have temple ordinances done, you must submit names on the proper entry forms. (For instructions, consult From You to Your Ancestors, chapter 8, and appendixes C and D.)

The records received will form the Church’s new “ancestral file,” which will contain family-linked genealogical information never before available. It will contain not only the pertinent information for each generation, but also, with the pedigree charts, the chronology from generation to generation.

According to President Ezra Taft Benson, this ancestral file will “become the foundation for a genealogical record of this dispensation” (letter to all stake, mission, and district presidents, and bishops and branch presidents in the United States and Canada, dated 21 June 1979).

For that reason, says President Benson, “all families, even those who have previously submitted their four-generation records, will want to submit their accurate and complete records, including pedigree charts, to become part of this ancestral file.”

The eight record forms you need to submit.