“Church History Site Adds Features,” Ensign, July 2004, 76–77
Since its launch in 2003, the Church History Web site (www.lds.org/churchhistory) has been updated and expanded. Its three newest features include information on the pioneers, biographical information on the Presidents of the Church, and a new index to gospel-related articles and articles about the Church.
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel
Just in time for the 2004 celebration of the pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley, this online database allows users to search for names of individual pioneers and browse company listings chronologically or alphabetically. The site also offers narratives about each company and posts citations of publications that provide additional information.
“This site allows people to get to know their ancestors better, not just in terms of birth or death dates, but it gets them involved in the experiences their ancestors had throughout their lives, particularly during the pioneer trek,” says Kevin Nielson, manager of the Church History Web site.
Compiled over the last two decades, the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel database currently includes some 40,000 names, and the numbers and depth of information constantly increase because the site invites visitors to submit documented supplementary information to add to the database. Brother Nielson says that the site is currently receiving 30 submissions per day.
He also notes that the addition of the database has doubled the Church History Web site’s traffic each day to more than 1,500 visitors.
Presidents of the Church
This site features biographical information on all 15 Presidents of the Church. A section on basic facts is available for those seeking minimal information, such as birth and death dates, term of presidency, or a short biographical sketch. For researchers wanting more in-depth information, the site also features timelines highlighting significant events in the prophets’ lives, their testimonies, quotations, images and multimedia clips, and citations of additional resources about or by each prophet.
The site also contains links to already-existing Church resources such as curriculum materials and institute manuals.
Formerly known as “Index to Church Articles,” this updated index provides searchers with key articles about specific topics. Moreover, instead of merely offering the source citations, the site immediately links visitors to the magazine article in the Gospel Library section of the Church’s Web site.
The index also refers to articles about the Church in external sources such as news magazines, newspapers, and other media.
In addition to these three newly introduced tools, the Church History Web site also has offerings related to the general history of the Church, Church historical sites, Museum of Church History and Art, the Church History Library, Church Archives, and BYU resources.