A chronology of society's historical development

Here is a chronology of major events pertaining to family history research and temple work for the dead in this dispensation, especially the historical development of the Genealogical Society of Utah.

1894 - Announcement about sealings. Wilford Woodruff affirmed the importance of eternal family units, the necessity of sealing families under priesthood authority and the obligation of Church members to trace their lineages for this purpose. The Genealogical Society of Utah was created November 13, 1894, to coordinate the work of the Church to accomplish this purpose.1910 - Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine. First issue was published. Continued as the official voice of the society for the next 30 years.

1918 - Revelation to President Joseph F. Smith. The revelation on the salvation of the dead and the visit of the Savior to the world of spirits after His crucifixion clarified Church doctrine pertaining to these matters and the need for proxy temple ordinance work for the dead. In 1976 this was added to the canon of scripture.

1927 - Temple Records Index Bureau card index. The First Presidency authorized the checking of all name submissions against a card file index to all endowments. The index was maintained through 1969 when new endowments were recorded in Genealogical Information and Names Tabulation (GIANT). The TIB was still used to check submissions through 1990. It prevented duplicate ordinances for one in five names submitted for which work had been done.

1938 - Microfilming. This program permitted the gathering of family history sources to the main library and later to family history centers. It provided the sources for name extraction. With the construction of the Granite Mountain Records Vault in Little Cottonwood Canyon in 1963, microfilming assured the long-term permanency of the record of mankind.

1961 - Name extraction. Initially known as Records Tabulation. Society staff extracted names from original records and sent these to the temples for ordinance work. The introduction of Stake Record Extraction in 1978 permitted the wide involvement of members in family history work. It provided a foundation for the expansion of temple work in the 1980s.

1964 - Branch libraries/family history centers. These facilities could order microfilmed sources from the collection in Utah, permitting access to researchers throughout the world.

1966 - Four-generation Program. The Church encouraged all families to compile their own records and ensure the temple work had been performed at least four generations back. The program was revised in 1976 as a request went out for families to consolidate and verify the information on their sheets. The sheets provided the initial data for Ancestral File.

1969 - World Conference on Records. This conference established the visibility of the Society's work to a world audience. This image was enhanced by the second conference held in 1980.

1970 - GIANT. An acronym for Genealogical Information and Names Tabulation. This system automated names processing and introduced the automated storage of massive name files, primarily the International Genealogical Index. It functioned until 1990, when it was replaced by TempleReady.

1976 - Revelations added to the scriptural canon. President Spencer W. Kimball submitted revelations concerning work for the dead to be added to the canon of scripture (D&C 137 and 138). In subsequent years, interest increased substantially throughout the world in family history research.

1981 - Temple Recording System. The first system to automate the recording of temple work. It was replaced in 1990 by the Ordinance Recording System which functioned in connection with Temple-Ready to simplify record-keeping practices for temple work.

1988 - Family Record Extraction and Cooperative Indexing. These programs accomplished the indexing of pre-1970 temple records and introduced the indexing of major large genealogical sources. Family Record Extraction and Stake Record Extraction were combined in 1994.

1990 - FamilySearch. Through compact disc technology, this system decentralized access to an ever-increasing storehouse of information for Church members. It provided automated access to Ancestral File, the International Genealogical Index, the Family History Library Catalog and several smaller databases.

1993 - TempleReady distributed to stakes. This system was sent out to all stakes composed of English-speaking members, enabling members to clear names for temple work on their own. The function of clearing names had been performed by the society since 1927, when the Temple Index Bureau was created.

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