“Family History Department Is New Name for Genealogical Department,” Ensign, Oct. 1987, 78
The First Presidency has announced that the Genealogical Department of the Church will be known in the future as the Family History Department and that the Genealogical Library will become the Family History Library.
The change of names, as well as other changes, are a result of decisions of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve to simplify ancestral research and to encourage members to perform vital temple ordinances in their own behalf and for their deceased forebears.
“The word genealogy often suggests a need for professional training,” said Elder Boyd K. Packer, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and Chairman of the Temple and Family History Executive Council, “and the change to ‘family history’ will make the work less technical and more appealing to the members of the Church.
“A genealogy is, in fact, a family history,” he said, “and such sacred family history is fundamental to the temple ordinances and covenants that bless individuals and seal them into eternal families.”
At stake conferences to be conducted during the first half of 1988, materials to be introduced throughout the Church will make it possible for members to identify their ancestors without the need to be trained genealogists, Elder Packer said. “Just as members receive help from called workers in the temple, they will likewise receive help from called workers as they seek to identify their ancestors,” he added.
The existing manual, From You to Your Ancestors, will be replaced by a simpler, more doctrinally oriented booklet entitled Come unto Christ through Temple Ordinances and Covenants. This booklet is being introduced to the Church at stake conferences during the latter part of this year. Its purpose, the First Presidency said, is to “encourage individuals to receive the ordinances and enter into the covenants of the temple for themselves, their families, and their deceased ancestors.”
The booklet also contains instructions needed by priesthood leaders to implement the simplified materials for identifying ancestors for temple ordinances.
There will be no change in the name of the Genealogical Society of Utah, a legal entity that facilitates interaction with governments and private organizations for the acquisition of records.