Friday, April 4, 2014

Serving Time, Indexing Records

Happy Friday! Alex and I are heading out of town this weekend, but I just saw a genealogy article that I had to write about. Prisoners doing genealogy research? Wha...?? Enjoy!
A recent Huffington Post article discusses how prisoners in Salt Lake City, Utah, have been indexing records and doing family history research on behalf of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
The first family research center was opened by the LDS Church at the Utah State Prison more than 20 years ago. Last year alone, inmates indexed more than 2 million records (which go online and can now be used by genealogists like myself!). In addition to indexing, the program allows inmate volunteers to spend up to three hours at a time at the center, doing research on behalf of others, and even doing their own genealogy, which one of the correctional officers says spurs a "remarkable change" in the prisoners. I always knew genealogy was good for you!
If you didn't already know, the LDS Church is famous for its use of and support for genealogical resources. The Church has opened family research centers all over the world, and even the headquarters for is located in Utah, the epicenter of LDS. The Mormons' interest in genealogy stems from their belief in proxy baptism, or baptism for the dead. They believe that being baptized in the Mormon church is the only way to enter the Kingdom of God. Therefore, many families research their genealogy for ancestors who may not have had the chance to choose a Mormon baptism. Once the baptism has been done, the belief is that the dead may decide whether or not they accept it.

(Article: Huffington Post)

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