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Chileans to create family tree

Chileans are being asked to gather and submit their genealogy in the coming years to help build a national family tree. The nationwide family history effort is being planned to coincide with Chile's bicentennial in 2010.

The Church will likely play an important role in the development of the national family tree — offering both its extensive genealogical resources and know-how, said Chile Area public affairs director Rodolfo Acevedo.

Beginning in late December, Chileans will be able to submit their family histories via the Internet at www.chilebicentenario.cl. Those records will then be matched against family history archives from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Catholic Church and other entities, according to El Mercurio, a Chilean newspaper. The publication noted that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has among the best genealogical records in the world, while the Catholic Church in Chile has baptismal records stretching back over a century.

Brother Acevedo anticipates Chilean Latter-day Saints will assist with the national family tree from a grass-roots level.

"As soon as the [Internet program] is available the Church members will respond," he said.

Brother Acevedo said Church family history centers in Chile have received copies of genealogical records specific to the South American nation from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. The Church's experience in family history research has gleaned attention from a wide variety of Chilean publications and organizations in the past. That attention will likely grow with the bicentennial family tree effort, he added.

Chile's Bicentennial Commission has made it a priority to bring the nation's family and people closer together in conjunction with the South American nation's 200th birthday.

"The goal is to be able to have a family tree [underway] by 2010 to help create better relationships between families," Andres Moran of the Bicentennial Commission told El Mercurio.

A standardized form will reportedly be used by the public to submit the information, which will then be carefully verified against other records to ensure accuracy.

Mr. Moran told El Mercurio that Chile is following the lead of Sweden, which crafted a similar family tree about 10 years ago.

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