News Story

Church Presents Family History to Australian Prime Minister

Australia’s prime minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd, has a true “Aussie” pedigree, represented by free settlers and convicts alike, according to a family history study prepared for him by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mr. Rudd received two leather-bound volumes containing his pedigree in a presentation in Sydney last week.

The Church gave the genealogy to Mr. Rudd in recognition of his contribution to the nation over many years, including his period as a state public servant and his more recent service as a senior politician and prime minister. 

“You’re very kind to have produced this record for my family and for the country,” he told those making the presentation. “This is wonderful.”

A senior Australian Latter-day Saint leader, Elder Terrence Vinson, made the presentation to the prime minister. “The more people know about their ancestors, the greater appreciation they have for who they are individually here and now,” he said.

“A study of our personal history helps us to respect the struggles that our ancestors endured — in a far different world than the one we live in today — to give us the prosperity we now enjoy.”

Elder Vinson added that Mr. Rudd’s family history contains a myriad of interesting stories. One ancestor, Mary Wade, in her young life was forced to beg for food on the streets of London because of her circumstances. After being sent to Australia as a convict at approximately age 12, Mary settled in New South Wales and had hundreds of descendents at the time of her death in 1859.

“The grand institutions which tie this country together — the parliaments, churches, community organizations, even our constitution — did not appear spontaneously,” Vinson said. “The forebears of every living Australian contributed to the creation of these structures in one way or another. Knowing who they were and what they did gives meaning to our place in the present day.”

Several media outlets reported on the presentation to the prime minister, including The Age .

Another copy of Mr. Rudd’s ancestral data will be presented to the National Library in August as part of Australia’s National Family History Week. This will then enable researchers to frame the contributions made by the prime minister in a wider context. The Church hopes that the presentation of the family history to the National Library will encourage others to search out their own heritage.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a membership of over 13 million internationally and is the fourth-largest faith in the USA. The Australian membership is 117,000 and the Church has consistently been one of the fastest-growing Christian denominations in the country.

Its popular Web site,, contains the largest collection of free genealogical records in the world. The Church’s interest in family history is driven by its doctrine that teaches that marriage and families can continue beyond this life.

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