News Story

Latest Technology Used to Trace Ancestral Records at Mormon Family History Fair

The Honourable Tony Ince, minister of communities, culture and heritage, and a member of the legislative assembly (representing Cole Harbour—Portland Valley), was invited to welcome and address the participants at the second annual Family History Fair hosted by the Dartmouth Nova Scotia Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on November 14, 2015.

More than 100 budding genealogists from across Nova Scotia attended the day-long event. They learned how to trace their family histories, upload and edit photos, find missing Scottish and Irish records and use the latest technology to enhance family history research throughout the world. Representatives from the Nova Scotia Archives (formerly the Public Archives of Nova Scotia), the British Home Children, the Piper MacNeils of Cape Breton and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 explained how their organizations help individuals find information to fill in their family trees.

Hands-on activities included visiting a local cemetery to photograph headstones, then uploading the images to, a website dedicated to making headstone images available to researchers worldwide. Another activity showed participants how to index the recently released records of four million former slaves of the United States. The records are part of the Freedmen’s Bureau Project, a treasure trove for those with African heritage. FamilySearch and its partners plan to have these records indexed and available online for free when the National Museum of African American History and Culture opens in Washington, D.C., in the fall of 2016.

Additionally, videos from RootsTech 2015, the largest family history event in the world (hosted by FamilySearch), were shown, covering a wide range of topics suitable for novice to professional genealogists.

Local Church family history centre volunteers Beverley Campbell and Joyce Wylie received certificates of recognition at the event for their 30 years of dedicated service. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates 166 family history centres throughout Canada. All centres are open to the public and staffed by qualified volunteers.

Gramma’s Attic was in attendance at the fair with a display of memorabilia from bygone eras, including antique quilts, photographs, an old Bible, kitchen dishes and utensils, furniture and a butter churn.

Latter-day Saints place great importance on family history research. As we research our family histories, we learn more about ourselves. James E. Faust, former counsellor in the First Presidency of the Church, said, “In many ways each of us is the sum total of what our ancestors were. The virtues they had may be our virtues, their strengths our strengths, and in a way their challenges could be our challenges” (“The Phenomenon That Is You,” Ensign, Nov. 2003).

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