What is Family History?
Genealogy (from Greek: γενεά genea, “generation”; and λόγος logos, “knowledge”), also known as family history, is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members. The results are often displayed in charts or written as narratives.
The pursuit of family history and origins tends to be shaped by several motivations, including the desire to carve out a place for one’s family in the larger historical picture, a sense of responsibility to preserve the past for future generations, and a sense of self-satisfaction in accurate storytelling.
(Source – Wikipedia)
Why Do Mormons Do Their Family History?
We believe that it is important to understand who we are by studying where and who we came from, and offering the opportunity of this knowledge to our posterity. We learn from history. Especially our own family history.
Equally important for us is the chance to help our ancestors who have not yet had required ordinances completed for them in a temple. Doing our family history provides the information needed (dates, places, basic info), in order to take the names to the temple and complete the ordinances for them by proxy. This enables those who are deceased, but did not have a chance to complete the temple work for themselves while they were living, to enjoy in all of the same blessings through having the required steps completed for progression.
We love those who have gone before and respect them. We owe them our dedication because they paved the way for us. We cannot be saved without them nor they without us. (D&C 2:1-3)