A pedigree chart printed by the U.S. Postal Service and being distributed at post offices throughout the United States has prompted a commendation from Elder J. Thomas Fyans of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Elder Fyans, a managing director of the Church Family History Department, sent a letter to postmasters in Salt Lake City regarding the chart titled "Plant a Family Tree.""Because families are so important, we are very pleased to note your emphasis on `Plant a Family Tree,' " Elder Fyans wrote.
"We were impressed with your philosophy regarding the linking of families together and your slogan which talks about the post office delivering dreams that help preserve our heritage."
The free pedigree chart, available at post offices, includes spaces to list parents, grandparents and great-grandparents along with dates and places of births and deaths. On the sides of the chart are spaces to list brothers and sisters, spouse, children, uncles and aunts.
On the back side of the chart are suggestions under the heading, "How to get started." Listed among sources of help are the Family History Library and Family History Department of the Church.
In an article on the back of the chart, U.S. Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank is quoted as lamenting that children today "don't have much of a relationship with their past or with their grandparents."
He added: "American families no longer stay in one place, building roots generation after generation. In today's fast-paced culture, members of families are often separated by large distances, growing up with little knowledge of their own families or their place in history.
"To encourage people to learn about their past and to develop a sense of history and tradition, we are urging people to `Plant a Family Tree.' We have provided a fill-in family tree on the back of this paper to help you trace your family's history.
"Learning more about our family history can help bind us more closely to our families, to our past and to our country. . . .
"So have some fun by tracing your family history. And begin to make your own history by writing letters to your grandparents, family and friends. Letters give you a piece of history that you can hold on to for generations."