Dan Poffenberger, a British research consultant for the Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visited the monthly meeting of the Sons of Utah Pioneers Settlement Canyon Chapter on Thursday, March 5 in the new TATC building on the west end of Tooele Boulevard.
He presented some of the new technology that is enabling people to find their dead ancestors at an ever accelerated pace that would have been unimaginable a few years ago. Not only can ordinary people access millions and millions of records at a key stroke, and invoke searches that culls through those records to find our ancestors, but can also upload stories, photographs and vital records that really create a bond between us and those who lived lives hundreds of years ago. It becomes as close to really knowing them as possible.
For example, “Poff,” as he prefers to be called, dictated a story in his smart phone that we all heard again in about two minutes from his free family history account online. Old recordings we may have of our ancestors’ voices can be uploaded, along with their photographs in a like manner. These stories can be made public for all to hear, or they can be kept private for only our family to enjoy. The combinations of actions are growing every day. These become invaluable to our families today, and those to come tomorrow.
With the click of a button, our family trees can be studied in the traditional family tree, a portrait family tree, a descendant family tree and even a landscape family tree. While there will always be bugs to work out, “Poff” reminded us how difficult it was to do family history just a few years ago. It helps to get through the few frustrating moments with ever-expanding technology rather than go back to musty libraries, genealogy trips to foreign countries, and pen and paper records.
Poffenberger and his wife, Keirstin, have been married for 26 years and have five children and two grandchildren. Dan has presented at numerous conferences around the United States and internationally.
If finding and keeping alive your pioneer ancestors is something that appeals to you, come check us out at our pot luck dinner and presentations the first Thursday of every month at the TATC center auditorium.