This week in Church history: 50 years ago

The Genealogical Society of Utah was set to note its 50th anniversary, according to the Nov. 4, 1944, issue of the Church News.

The society had been formed Nov. 13, 1894, in the Church Historian's office by a group of 13 men.According to the article, the group "understood that Latter-day Saints must . . . seek after their own ancestral dead as never before, painstakingly and accurately tracing back generation after generation, that all might be linked up in a `chain of priesthood' by the sealing ordinances of the temple.

"This would require aid of a specialized kind, for the major part of the Church members were not at all skilled in tracing pedigrees or in compiling family genealogies. The spirit of ancestral searching, however, was being felt by many devoted persons in the world, and these were compiling and publishing genealogies which included the pedigrees of Latter-day Saints.

"The leaders saw the necessity of schooling our people in the proper use of such records. Hence the avowed objectives of this new Genealogical Society were to establish and maintain a genealogical library for the use and benefit of its members, to teach individuals how to compile acceptable family records and trace their pedigrees, and to foster and encourage the performance of temple ordinances for departed kindred."

At the time of the 50th anniversary, membership in the society had grown to about 27,000 people. The group was actively involved in microfilming records throughout the world.

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