Church News

'Saints by the Sea' FamilySearch Campaign Offers New Information About Immigrant Pioneers

Visit https://www.familysearch.org/campaign/saintsbysea to learn more

Ship Brooklyn FamilySearch
FamilySearch partnered with Brigham Young University to index the records of thousands of individuals who immigrated to the United States to join with the Saints. Photo Courtesy of FamilySearch, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.
         

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By Eliza Smith-Driggs, Church News

No matter how much a person knows about their heritage, delving into family history work proves there’s always more to learn.

Between 1869 and 1932, thousands of Saints immigrated to the United States to join with other Saints in the Salt Lake Valley and surrounding regions. FamilySearch and Brigham Young University have indexed records over the past seven-plus months detailing those individuals’ stories.

The resulting FamilySearch campaign, “Saints by the Sea,” launched July 19, just five days before Utahns celebrated Pioneer Day. The carefully researched information is expected to reach over a million FamilySearch patrons.

Roughly five years ago, Kathy Warburton, senior marketing campaigns manager at FamilySearch, stumbled across the “Saints by the Sea” database with her manager. At the time, they found it impossible to match people in that record with those already in the FamilySearch database.

After trying to figure it out on her own for a while, Warburton and her team decided to table the matching endeavor.

One year ago, when Warburton's team spoke with BYU about the intriguing project, professor Joe Price suggested using his computer algorithm to match people in the “Saints by the Sea” database. FamilySearch then coordinated with Price, BYU students and missionaries to verify the matches.

“This campaign is to celebrate those specific pioneers” who left everything familiar to build better lives for themselves in America, said Sarah Hammon, FamilySearch’s senior marketing manager of channels and campaigns.

Many members of the Church of Jesus Christ may already know much about their ancestors, but Hammon hopes “Saints by the Sea” will highlight more pioneers and offer additional context.

She said everyone involved in the project made sure “it’s good information, including as many people as possible, but also making sure that the matches are correct.”

The database contains roughly 90,000 Saints. So far, FamilySearch and BYU have matched a small percentage of them, but Warburton said the project is ongoing. She hopes viewers will have “greater understanding and appreciation of the experiences of their ancestors.”

Added Hammon: “We’re really excited to get this out to as many people as possible” — members and nonmembers alike. FamilySearch and BYU will continuously update the records collection as more information becomes available.

Discover “Saints by the Sea” here.

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