News Release

FamilySearch Celebrates 50 Years of Record-keeping in the Philippines 

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and FamilySearch Philippines hosted a special event dubbed "So All May Be Remembered: Celebrating 50 Years of Records Preservation in the Philippines" at the EDSA Shangri-La Manila last January 11, 2024.

Elder Steven R. Bangerter, the Philippines Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with his counselors Elder Yoon Hwan Choi and Elder Carlos G. Revillo Jr., attended the event.


Since 1894, the Church and FamilySearch have partnered with record custodians worldwide to save historical records for future generations. This translates to more than 149 million images of civil and church records captured by FamilySearch in over 80 provinces across the Philippines in the last 50 years.


My dear friends, I believe we do what we do because of what we feel when we do it. That within our spiritual DNA we understand there is a connection between us. And as we participate in this great work, that connection is awakened,” Elder Bangerter said in his message.


Our dear friends, on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I express to you in a profound and sincere way our gratitude to you. Whatever your religion, whatever your reason, we all feel the same when we do this great work, and we unite with you and link our hearts and arms with you as we go forward,” he added.


Historians, genealogy professionals, archivists, librarians, museum curators, civil registrars, academics, government officials, social media influencers, and members of the media were invited to the VIP event. A dinner was held on behalf of the combined efforts of the records preservation community, which has made great strides in this field.


The highlight of the event is a panel discussion with leading Filipino forensic genealogist Mr. Todd Sales Lucero, National Historical Commission of the Philippines chairperson Dr. Emmanuel Calairo, Catholic Church Historian Rev. Fr. Melquiades Serraon, FamilySearch Senior Product Manager Jonathan Wing, FamilySearch Multi-Area Manager Wayne Metfalfe and Social Media Influencer and history buff Ms. Mona Magno-Veluz who also served as panel moderator.


The panel deliberated on the present condition and prospective developments in preserving records and the accessibility of historical documents in the Philippines. They also discussed how FamilySearch has helped communities maintain access to essential information to the people – especially since the Philippines is subject to multiple storms, earthquakes, and other disasters and tragedies year by year.


"Many people don’t realize it, but if not for FamilySearch’s and the LDS Church’s microfilming and digitization efforts, many of our Spanish-period (and later) records would not have been preserved in digital form," Lucero wrote in his column at The Freeman.


"These records are more than mere physical records of the past. Preserving these records and making them free to use to the world allows FamilySearch to give everyone an opportunity to connect with their deceased loved ones’ histories," Lucero added.


Last October 25, 2023, the Church of Jesus Christ and FamilySearch Philippines met with Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan to turn over a "Digital Reading Room" containing over 10 million digitized and indexed civil registry records.


The Digital Reading Room for the City of Manila is an ongoing project of FamilySearch International and contains civil documents, including birth certificates and marriage certificates, from the 20th century (1901 to 1991).


In 1973, the first microfilming started in collaboration with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.


Shortly after, in the late 70s and the 80s, FamilySearch started collaborating with the Philippine government through the National Archives of the Philippines, the Civil Registry of the City of Manila, the Philippine Statistics Agency, the Kaisa Heritage Foundation, and other religious institutions, such as the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.


FamilySearch is also in partnership with related businesses to help them effectively do their work in the Philippines, including Floro International Corporation and Luzviminda Genealogical and Microfilming Services.


These ongoing efforts paved the way for digitization and making these records available online to FamilySearch users worldwide.

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