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The Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), established in 1894, does business as FamilySearch International, which is the genealogical arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).[1]

FamilySearch International
Genealogical Society of Utah logo.svg
PredecessorThe Genealogical Society of Utah
FoundedSalt Lake City, Utah, US
(November 13, 1894 (1894-11-13))
FounderFranklin D. Richards
James H. Anderson
A. Milton Musser
PurposeFamily history, Genealogy, Kinship and descent
Area served
Parent organization
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

FamilySearch is the consumer brand for a variety of products and services, including the website, the world-famous Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and 4,600 local family history centers on the world. All of these resources were created to help people find their ancestors and are available free of charge to the public.

Members of the LDS Church believe that tracing family lineage is essential for special religious ceremonies that seal family units together for eternity. According to Mormons, this fulfills a Biblical prophecy stating that the prophet Elijah would return to "turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers."[2]



The headquarters of FamilySearch/GSU is in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, where hundreds of employees and volunteers help inquiring researchers. GSU began microfilming records of genealogical importance in 1938 and began digital imaging of records in 1998. FamilySearch preserves these images from more than 100 nations in the Granite Mountain Records Vault.


The society published the Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine from 1910 to 1940.[3]

In 1975, the GSU became the Genealogical Department of the LDS Church, which later became the Family History Department. At that time, its head officer was renamed President from Executive Director, starting during Theodore M. Burton's term.[4] However, the title "President of the Genealogical Society of Utah" and other GSU titles were still used and bestowed upon department officers.

In 2000, the LDS Church consolidated its Family History and Historical departments into the Family and Church History Department, and Richard E. Turley, Jr. became managing director of the new department and president of the GSU. This broke with tradition,[citation needed] since the President of the GSU was no longer the department's executive director or a general authority of the LDS Church. Later this decision was reversed and the Family History Department was separated from the Church History Department, becoming its own department.[5]

List of presidentsEdit

Name Term Notes
Franklin D. Richards 1894–99 [4]
Anthon H. Lund 1900–21 [4]
Charles W. Penrose 1921–25 [4]
Anthony W. Ivins 1925–34 [4]
Joseph Fielding Smith 1934–61 [4]
Junius Jackson 1961–62 [4]
N. Eldon Tanner 1963 [4]
Howard W. Hunter 1964–72 [4]
Theodore M. Burton 1972–78 [4]
J. Thomas Fyans 1978 [4]
Royden G. Derrick 1979–84 [4]
Richard G. Scott 1984–88 [4]
J. Richard Clarke 1988–93 [4]
Monte J. Brough 1993–2000? [4]
Richard E. Turley, Jr. 2000?–08 [6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Lloyd, R. Scott (November 8, 1997), "Typists marshaled in peaceful army", Church News, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News, retrieved 2008-11-20
  2. ^ Allen, James B.; Embry, Jessie L.; Mehr, Kahlile B. (1995), Hearts Turned to the Fathers: A History of the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1894-1994, Provo, Utah: BYU Studies, Brigham Young University
  3. ^ Meyerink, Kory Leland (1998). Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, Inc. p. 710.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o (Allen, Embry & Mehr 1995, p. 267)
  5. ^ T, Justin. "Breaking News: Changes in Family and Church History Department Organization". Archived from the original on 2015-10-06.
  6. ^ "Biography - Richard E. Turley Jr.", LDS Newsroom, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, March 12, 2008, retrieved 2008-11-20


External linksEdit