In the News

“In the News,” Ensign, Jan. 2003, 78–79

In the News

Census Information Now Available through FamilySearch™

On 23 October 2002 President Gordon B. Hinckley announced that data from the 1880 United States Census, the 1881 British Census, and the 1881 Canadian Census are now available at The announcement, broadcast across the United States and Canada, brought record numbers of visitors to the site, with new visitor traffic surging 500 percent immediately following the announcement and leveling off to between 6 and 10 percent above normal the following week.

“This signifies another leap forward in family history research,” President Hinckley said.

The census data represent more than 17 years of effort from the Church and partner organizations, the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota and the Institute of Canadian Studies at the University of Ottawa, in extracting information from census records. All three censuses have been available on CD, but the announcement marks the first time this information is accessible via the Internet.

The censuses include a combined total of 85 million names, including significant listings for diverse groups such as Asian, Black, Caucasian, Hispanic, and Native American. Each name includes all census data gathered about that individual, such as profession, members of household, birth date and place, and parents’ names. Individual records are linked to other individual records (such as parents, children, and siblings), and neighboring households are also linked together.

“An amazing thing happens when people trace their roots,” President Hinckley said. “They discover they are not alone in the world.”

Church Made Part of BBC’s Web Site

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has made the history and teachings of the Latter-day Saints a permanent part of its religion and ethics Web site. The on-line section includes news and background of the world’s major religions, including Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. “The LDS Church is growing strongly and has had a presence in the UK almost from the very beginning, so it was entirely appropriate to include it,” says David Kremer, executive producer for the BBC’s religion and ethics section.

Monument Honors African-American Pioneer

Baptized in 1832, Elijah Abel was one of the earliest members of the Church. He was also a former slave and one of the few African-Americans to join the Church in his day. Brother Abel and his family traveled west with the Saints, and he lived in Salt Lake City until his death in 1884. He was characterized as a true, pure, and spiritual man, and his memory was recently honored with the dedication of a monument at his grave site in a Salt Lake City cemetery.

The monument was created through private efforts, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered the dedicatory prayer. “It’s a wonderful thing you’ve done here today,” Elder Ballard told about 200 people gathered for the ceremony. “The Church is pleased.”

Australian Stake Hosts Prime Minister

In support of a community antidrug campaign, the Ipswich Australia Stake hosted John Howard, the prime minister of Australia, in a speaking engagement on 5 September 2002. During the meeting, the prime minister announced funding to expand a community partnership to fight illegal drug use.

Grant A. Pitman, president of the Ipswich stake, offered opening remarks for the gathering, which included speakers from various community and religious organizations.

The prime minister updated audience members on the Tough on Drugs initiative and thanked Church members for their warm welcome. He also praised the music provided by a neighboring Seventh-Day Adventist school and a Samoan choir from the Ipswich stake.

“That beautiful singing … is really a reminder better than anything I could say about what this campaign is all about,” he said. “It’s making sure that those young children go through their lives free of the scourge of drugs.”

After the meeting, Mr. Howard was presented with a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD, a Brigham Young University choir CD, and an interactive DVD introducing the Church.

BYU Ranked Most “Stone-Cold Sober”

For the fifth year in a row, Brigham Young University—Provo has been named the most “stone-cold sober school” in the United States by the Princeton Review. BYU also ranked first in the category of most religious and fifth for quality of life.

“I think it says something that we are the most sober school and we are also ranked number five in the quality of life category. I think the two are correlated,” says Carrie Jenkins, spokesperson for BYU.

The Princeton Review polled 65,000 students at the top 345 colleges in the United States to formulate its rankings.

The 1881 Canadian census paints a portrait of life in Canada when the young nation was carving out a national identity. (Courtesy of Canadian Provincial Archives, Archives of Ontario.)

Elder M. Russell Ballard (left) stands with Hugh J. Barlow, program master of ceremonies, at a marker honoring early Church member Elijah Abel. (Photograph by Johanna Workman.)

A Samoan choir from the Ipswich Australia Stake provides music for a community gathering featuring John Howard, Australia’s prime minister. (Photograph by Stewart Glass.)