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Making Ancestral Research Easier

March 2022

family sitting at a kitchen table looking at family history on a laptop

Derek Dobson served his mission in Hong Kong from 1985 to 1986. As a young man from rural Canada, this was an exciting new experience. Even with his love of the Chinese people and fluency in the language, Derek could not have guessed what powerful ties he would weave over his lifetime with people scattered throughout Asia and the Pacific.

Derek currently serves as a customer experience manager at FamilySearch with an emphasis in Asian ancestry. His team is working on making the website more culturally authentic and inviting for people from all over the world to use FamilySearch’s services and to feel comfortable sharing their information with FamilySearch. Derek explains, “It’s all about trust and willingness to share their data with us.”

This is accomplished by offering different content to users based on language, country, or region. Derek states, “We try to make our website inviting based on the perceptions and practices of the people who are using it. The pursuit of family history is deeply engrained in some Asian cultures.”

Historically, for instance, Chinese and Korean people have gathered and maintained family records over many generations. The Chinese collections, known as jiapu, are generally maintained by clans, which can be massive in size—millions of people.

Through the efforts of those like Derek who seek to preserve vital records worldwide and make them accessible online, Family-Search is truly an instrument helping carry out God’s work for all His children on the earth.