Conference addresses spirituality of genealogy

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Devin Ashby is a family history enthusiast. However, his interest began only 10 years ago. After the initial ‘ah-ha’ moment, he became committed to family history work. He understands that to get involved you have to start.

“Start somewhere,” Ashby said. “There are all kinds of excuses why we can’t start now. The most important thing is you can’t get a testimony of it unless you start. ”

As a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ashby utilized family history as a retention method for the new members of his congregation. He had eleven converts in his ward and described the process of working with those new members.

“As we helped new converts do their four generations, their chances of retention sky-rocketed,” Ashby said.

Ashby said that after new converts begin their own work, they can immediately go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead. Then after one year they can complete the other ordinances.

“It is a ward effort of retention and perfecting of the saints because it keeps people focused on the temple,” Ashby said.

Ashby is a speaker at BYU’s 44th Family History Conference this upcoming July 31 through August 3. He has attended the conference several times and works for FamilySearch as a community advocate.

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One of many booths at the Family History Conference in 2011.
Ashby is one of hundreds of teachers and will be teaching three different classes, two on indexing and one on the spiritual aspects of family history.

Assistant Program Administrator, John Best, said that the Family History Conference will draw in many types of people to the 44th annual conference.

There are approximately 600-650 people who attend yearly. People come from all over the country and all over the world. It is open to anyone. Primarily, LDS people come, but the conference does draw some who are not of the Latter-day Saint faith.

“It’s a field that interests a lot of people,” Best said. “It is a long standing conference but we still need to get people involved. It is one of our main goals to seek after our dead and so we are trying to get more people involved.”

They have several types of classes for those ranging from beginners to advanced. For beginners, there are hands on classes and methodology classes.

Some of the classes include international research. In one of the classes Ashby is teaching, he will explain some of the new projects that FamilySearch is developing, including researching main ports so people can trace their ancestry from the U.S. ports to their homeland country.

The conference will be held July 31 – August 3 and you can register online at their website.

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