Family history enthusiasts coming to Utah for national conference

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SALT LAKE CITY -- If pre-registration numbers are any indication, The National Genealogical Society annual conference to be held in Salt Lake City could be the largest ever in the country.

Did you know...
The LDS Family History Library has:
  • Records of more than 2 billion names in data bases
  • 2.4 million rolls of microfilm
  • and 278,000 books.
The library is constantly expanding with the help of more than 4,000 family history centers in 88 countries.

With Internet research companies, television programs with a family history focus, and social networking, family history is all the rage.

Downtown Salt Lake City is about to overflow with the fervor of thousands from across the country, searching for ancestors. The big conference starts Wednesday, but another smaller one kicked off Monday.

BYU's annual Family History Conference began just days before the National Genealogical Society gathering.

Organizer John Best said that combined, the two events "make one of the largest gatherings of genealogical information in the world, and it's exciting to see so many great presenters on topics altogether and so many people interested in family history."

Conferences like this are where people learn to do the actual work. But the desire to begin, they say, comes from another place.

Family History Conferences
Monday, April 26- Saturday, May 1

The NBC program "Who Do You Think You Are?" and PBS's "Faces of America" have created an enthusiasm not seen in this field in decades.

"It's more than just finding one record. It's really learning about who your ancestors were, how they lived and what their occupation was and why they moved west," said President of the National Genealogical Society Janet A. Alpert. "It's just wonderful, wonderful stories."

Alpert says 2,000 people have pre-registered and hundreds more are anticipated to walk in to participate in 183 lectures and workshops. And, she says, remember this is also about discovering yourself.

There is open registration for both conferences at the Salt Palace, but the 130 National Genealogical Exhibits are open to the public free. It runs through Saturday.


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Carole Mikita


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