Ancestry.com and the Mormon Church


#1

Is Ancestry.com a reliable resource for genealogical research despite it being run by the Mormon church?


#2

They take geneology very seriously, but they use the information to "baptize the dead". Catholic parishes were told not to allow Mormons to look through their baptismal records for this reason. Many Mormons who had their ancestors posthumously baptized will update their Ancestry.com info as being baptized Mormon. I have a friend who was surprised to see her Irish grandmother listed as being Mormon!

As for the rest of the information, you can find some interesting stuff and connect with distance cousins.


#3

[quote="MisterCorduroy, post:2, topic:272896"]
They take geneology very seriously, but they use the information to "baptize the dead". Catholic parishes were told not to allow Mormons to look through their baptismal records for this reason. Many Mormons who had their ancestors posthumously baptized will update their Ancestry.com info as being baptized Mormon. I have a friend who was surprised to see her Irish grandmother listed as being Mormon!

As for the rest of the information, you can find some interesting stuff and connect with distance cousins.

[/quote]

Does it only give you the history of your family in the United States, or can they trace it back further?


#4

[quote="FabiusMaximus, post:3, topic:272896"]
Does it only give you the history of your family in the United States, or can they trace it back further?

[/quote]

They do have records from around the world, but, that is subject to how well the country kept records.
My father's line is Irish. I've traced the family to England around the mid-1800s. Before that the trail grows cold. When the potato famine hit in the 1850s, many irish (along with mine) fled to scotland.
Part of my father's line is French. I traced them to the infamous Alsace-Lorraine region between France and Germany.
My mothers line is Czechoslovakian and Bohemian (which in the 19th century were right next to each other. It is impossible to trace this line because of the turmoil that part of the world is constantly in.
An added challenge is the names themselves. They might be shortened, changed, pronounced or spelt differently.


#5

[quote="FabiusMaximus, post:3, topic:272896"]
Does it only give you the history of your family in the United States, or can they trace it back further?

[/quote]

They have many world records too, but it costs more for "international" membership. Mostly from English speaking regions, UK and Canada and Australia


#6

Are you absolutely sure that ancestry.com is run by the Mormon church? This has been a sort of urban legend for years, but there doesn't seem to be proof, and in fact ancestry's legal team once denied the connection.


#7

[quote="MisterCorduroy, post:2, topic:272896"]
They take geneology very seriously, but they use the information to "baptize the dead". Catholic parishes were told not to allow Mormons to look through their baptismal records for this reason. Many Mormons who had their ancestors posthumously baptized will update their Ancestry.com info as being baptized Mormon. I have a friend who was surprised to see her Irish grandmother listed as being Mormon!

As for the rest of the information, you can find some interesting stuff and connect with distance cousins.

[/quote]

That really ticks me off. They are changing the history of the individuals beliefs and that change for future historians will now be distorted. I am outraged by this.

I don't give a hoot if they baptize the dead but to change the faith of the person on a record is downright dishonest.

But again, it is their game and websit. :shrug:


#8

[quote="JustaServant, post:1, topic:272896"]
Is Ancestry.com a reliable resource for genealogical research despite it being run by the Mormon church?

[/quote]

1) Do you have documentation that it's run by the Mormon church?
2) A census record, or military pension record, or birth record, etc., does not depend on the religious faith, or lack thereof, of the presenter. My gg/grandfather's military record is the same whether on a Mormon, Catholic, Muslim, or atheist website.


#9

I do not think Ancestry.com is in any way officially linked to the Mormon church. I do think it was started and run by Mormons. I have never seen any evidence of record tampering. I found the Catholic Church records for my European ancestors at the LDS Family History Library on microfilm. Yes, they do their own "baptism of the dead", hence their interest in genealogy, but they do not alter original records.


#10

It has close ties with the LDS church. Ask Wiki.


#11

[quote="Jerusha, post:10, topic:272896"]
It has close ties with the LDS church. Ask Wiki.

[/quote]

Wiki is not exactly an unassailable source of the truth. Anyone can add information to a wiki.


#12

Yesh, but--- there are sources you can go to at the end in order to verify. Call-center in Provo is a dead giveaway.


#13

[quote="christofirst, post:5, topic:272896"]
They have many world records too, but it costs more for "international" membership. Mostly from English speaking regions, UK and Canada and Australia

[/quote]

I wanted to try it with my family but we're Italian, not Anglos :-P.


#14

To the question about whether ancestry dot com is accurate: the records are records, a census page is a census page, in that sense it's certainly accurate.

Where you can run into trouble is when you start sharing or importing information from other "researchers" who have input their own poorly cited family trees into the system. There you can easily find mistakes, inaccuracies, and un-sourced conclusions that may not be accurate.

As far as I know, ancestry dot com is nor "run" by the mormon church, although the owners may be Mormon.

Well, actually, looks like it's a public company. Presumably anyone can invest.

corporate.ancestry.com/about-ancestry/management/

familysearch dot org is, however, a free genealogy site run by the Mormon Church:

familysearch.org/

I don't think you can tell from family search, however, if your ancestor has been baptized by the Mormon Church, although I would guess if they are in the IGI they might have been.


#15

[quote="Jerusha, post:12, topic:272896"]
Yesh, but--- there are sources you can go to at the end in order to verify. Call-center in Provo is a dead giveaway.

[/quote]

You DO know that not everyone in Provo is a Mormon, right? And as for the "sources at the end," they're only as accurate as the person who put them there.


#16

familysearch dot org is soliciting help for indexing projects:

familysearch.org/volunteer/indexing

Interestingly, several of the projects include baptismal records from various churches:

Ukraine, Kyiv Orthodox Consistory Church Book
UK, Essex Parish Registers
Mexico, Distrito Federal - Church Records, Baptisms
Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Baptism Transcripts, 1664-1880


#17

[quote="Corvus_Corax, post:15, topic:272896"]
You DO know that not everyone in Provo is a Mormon, right? And as for the "sources at the end," they're only as accurate as the person who put them there.

[/quote]

They did have a licensing agreement with the LDS owned "Family History Centers".

blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/03/ancestrycom_ter.html

Given their past affiliations, and the LDS practice of baptism for the dead (I found a former priest in my family who had the ceremony performed by "unknown" family members), I would say it's better to play it safe, than sorry.

I traced my family through baptisimal records in the RCC in local parishes, and in Sicily. I didn't have to wonder if anyone was using the information for something I didn't approve of.


#18

[quote="Corvus_Corax, post:15, topic:272896"]
You DO know that not everyone in Provo is a Mormon, right? And as for the "sources at the end," they're only as accurate as the person who put them there.

[/quote]

Being from Utah I can tell you that 99% are Mormon. Provo is Mecca for the Mormons.

Salt Lake, on the other hand, is 50 - 50.


#19

I don't think you can tell from family search, however, if your ancestor has been baptized by the Mormon Church, although I would guess if they are in the IGI they might have been.

You have to have a current temple recommend in order to access their necro records.


#20

[quote="Jerusha, post:19, topic:272896"]
You have to have a current temple recommend in order to access their necro records.

[/quote]

I kind of suspected something like that. At the FHC on Santa Monica blvd. in L.A., I recall seeing forms for submitting records to IGI and so forth. I always ignored that stuff.

Regarding ancestry dot com, I joined for a three-month period once, but I didn't feel it was a good value. I met the same set of family researchers that I had already met (not that many people in our family, I guess). I encountered the same problems with sloppy, un-sourced conclusions and people filling in "family-trees" willy-nilly without proving every fact.

IMO this is the great downfall of these systems: computers and relational databases have made look-ups easier, but you still have to think about what you are doing and not jump to conclusions.

To get back to the topic of Mormons and genealogical research, about the only records that they wouldn't have access to are family-held records, like family bible pages and the like. I have some of those kinds of things because my family knows I like to do this as a hobby, so my relatives have given me that kind of thing over the years. I will share copies with individual researchers if they are working on a particular family group. I think there is very little, however, that the Mormon church couldn't find out through the public records. I don't know what the criteria are for baptizing people (do you need a birth record, or what?), but I don't see how I can prevent it.


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