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Inside job: Inmates help further Mormon genealogy work
Family history » Efforts are under way at prisons and jails in Utah and Idaho.

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"They start thinking more in terms of others than themselves and that, we find, is a very beneficial perspective for inmates," he said. "The inmates have a reason to look forward to the day instead of spending excessive time in their cells and with other inmates and bemoaning their situation in life. They have a better attitude, have a better perspective on life and are more motivated to change."

That’s partly because the centers are a sanctuary from daily prison life, Hopkins said. "It’s a place you can go that is quiet, that’s not part of the everyday life in prison," he said. "It’s a place that’s peaceful. … The volunteers make it more like we’re not in prison."

At a glance

Why Mormons do genealogy

“Latter-day Saints believe that the eternal joining of families is possible through sacred sealing ceremonies that take place in temples. These temple rites may also be performed by proxy for those who have died. Consequently, for Mormons, genealogical research or family history is the essential forerunner for temple work for the dead. In Latter-day Saint belief, the dead have the choice to accept or reject the services performed for them.”

Source: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/topic/genealogy

What is indexing?

“Indexing is the process of reading digitized versions of physical records — such as census, vital, probate and church records — and typing the information they contain into an online searchable database. Through this work, indexing volunteers make it possible for members and other family history researchers to easily locate their ancestors’ information on the Internet.”

Source: LDS Church Ensign magazine article at http://tinyurl.com/kja5l4d

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Hopkins has worked on all sorts of records, including World War I draft registrations, Brazilian passports and North Carolina marriage records. "The benefit to me is knowing that I’ve done something to help somebody else," he said. "I know when I am looking online to find a name or something and I actually find it, is a relief, it’s exciting. I know that after I’ve indexed something, it is helping someone else feel that exhilaration that I’ve experienced."



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