In May 1999, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced "the long-awaited step of allowing home access via the Internet to some of the most significant materials in our Family History Library" with the inauguration of the Internet Web site, www.familysearch.org.
Initially, the Church put about 400 million names from its family history collection on the Web site; more were added later. The service was an immediate success.
I do not own a computer nor have I ever been on the Internet, yet by the end of that year, the FamilySearch site had already helped me with my family history.
I have submitted my ancestors' names to the Ancestral File, which is part of the Web site. My name and address are linked with each one as the submitter.
I received a letter from a man in my ancestors' land of origin asking about one of my ancestors who shared his surname. He had traced his ancestry into the same area and had looked at the Ancestral File on the Internet and found my name and address as a submitter for the person with the surname he was looking for.
I had done research on this particular ancestor but had not had success in finding his parents. I answered the letter, saying I had no additional information, and I asked him to send a copy of his family tree with the information he had.
I was very happy when I received his reply. He had done research on some of the lateral lines of brothers to his ancestors. He had found the marriage of a couple who were likely the parents of my ancestor.
By looking at the microfilms of the original records I found the place where the husband was from when he married. When I researched that place, I found the christening record of my ancestor.
Because I submitted my family history to the Ancestral File, and because it is available to millions of people via the Internet, I was able to extend that line back five more generations and obtain about 50 names of people related to me who can have their temple work done.
Richard F. Vincent, Mount Jordan 2nd Ward, Sandy Utah Mount Jordan Stake