News Story

Mormons Host One World–One Family Conference

More than 350 family history researchers recently gathered in Brampton, Ontario, in a meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the fourth annual One World–One Family Conference

Doors were open to community members who were interested in learning more about family history research from experienced researchers and genealogists throughout Ontario.

Parm Gill, member of Parliament for Brampton–Springdale, read opening greetings from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who noted that “in tracing your own family tree, you will gain a better appreciation of our diverse Canadian citizenry and the links that exist between all members of the human family.”

Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell welcomed attendees and quoted Carl Sandburg, who said, “When society or a civilization perishes, one condition can always be found: They forgot where they came from.” The mayor noted that Brampton is “so fortunate to be a city of many peoples and many faiths who have all come to this city to live together peacefully.” Following the theme of the conference, she said, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all come together and discover and celebrate our collective past and history ... with each other? Because, after all, we are really one world and one family!”

Awards of distinction were given to two women who have made outstanding contributions in family history. Sheila Hsia has traced two lines of her family back to 1960 BC and has helped many Chinese researchers discover their ancestors. Mississauga librarian Dorothy Kew has demonstrated persistence and activism, resulting in indexed Jamaican civil registrations from 1880 to 1999, which were recently posted on

Dr. Donald R. Snow, a retired Brigham Young University professor, gave the keynote address urging participants to preserve and protect their family history. His workshops gave clear, detailed help for using FamilySearch, Family Tree and other free websites.

During the conference, 27 workshops were held on topics ranging from researching Aboriginal families to researching the British Home Children, the British West Indies, China, DNA, England, English wills and administrations, Ireland, local Peel County, the Philippines, Scotland, Spain and South America. One workshop even took participants on a virtual tour of the new Archives of Ontario. Additionally, instruction was given on how to use Mormon genealogical resources, how to index and how to survive the technical world of genealogy. The conference concluded with a plenary address given by Brian Gilchrist, a reference archivist for Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives who received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal this year for his outstanding contributions to Canadian genealogy.

Especially noteworthy was Toronto Temple President Richard Norton’s workshop titled “Why Mormons Build Temples.” He explained that the crowning sacraments of Mormon temples are the sealing ceremonies that unite fathers, mothers and children in eternal family relationships. Latter-day Saints believe that these sealings and other temple rites may also be performed by proxy for those who have died. Consequently, family history research is, in Latter-day Saint belief, the essential forerunner for temple work.


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