Free family history classes perfect for BYU students

Patrons use special databases at the Family History Library to do family history work. The Library recently announced seven classes ideal for BYU students. (Mormon Newsroom)

The Church History Library in Salt Lake City announced seven free family history classes for November focusing on Spanish, Norwegian, Russian and American Indian heritages, as well as a Boy Scout merit badge workshop.

Two classes being offered, “Recursos en linea adema̍s de FamilySearch” (“Online resources in addition to FamilySearch”) and “¿Mis antepasados vinieron de . . . ?” (“My ancestors came from . . . ?”) are designed specifically for Spanish speakers. Other classes focus on reading foreign handwriting and understanding record formatting from various nations.

Paul Nauta, spokesperson for FamilySearch, said the classes might be of particular interest to BYU students with ancestry pertaining to these geographic areas. He said they could also make a great date.

“Your date will be totally impressed that you’re into heritage and some of the finer things in life by going to a research class in Native American studies or Norway,” he said.

Regardless of a student’s previous experience with genealogy, Nauta said, a trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City is a great thing to make a day out of. Thanks to FrontRunner trains from Provo, students can hitch a ride to downtown Salt Lake City, just a half block away from the library.

Roger Minert, a Church history professor with a flair for family history, said a trip to the Family History Library is more than a fun day out on the town.

“Family history is a scholastic study,” Minert said. “If we don’t learn proper procedures, we contribute to the millions and millions of mistakes and repeated ordinances in Family Tree (and) FamilySearch.”

According to Minert, BYU students are in an “excellent position” to learn and utilize the academic training provided by the Family History Library classes.

Nauta agreed, saying, “College students and younger youth are pre-wired to use it and apply it. You guys are the generation to take family history out of obscurity and take temple blessings to ancestors and future generations.”

More information and signups are available at

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