Syllabus a 'Family History Stimulus'

Ken Chase

Ken Chase

One of the bigger fans of the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy has never actually been to the conference. Ken Chase, a retired professor of mechanical engineering at BYU, buys copies of the conference syllabus each year and gives them away to his children or relatives.

“I bought four or five CDs this year,” Ken says. “Usually I just buy one or two. It’s my own ‘family history stimulus program,’ to help them to do family history research.”

Ken’s parents and in–laws both did extensive genealogical research on the Chase and Grant lines, even hiring professionals to work on some lines. They found so much information that he felt he couldn’t contribute much himself. But he is very much involved in family history work in other ways: he takes names to the temple regularly, and also serves each week as a temple worker.

He is impressed with the technological advances that make family history work so much more accessible to people in their own homes—that you can do family history on your laptop computer, while sitting on the sofa. “It’s really wonderful what’s available now,” he says. “I have a neighbor who is scanning books into the system as a volunteer—family histories, journals, and the like.”

Ken also is interested in the family stories that are being posted on and other websites. But he sees his primary role as encouraging other family members in that work.

He has a brother–in–law who serves as a family history consultant in the Family History room at the Seville in Orem, Utah. That brother also received a copy of the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy syllabus, which includes the background material and tutorials provided by those who speak at the event.

Ken and his wife (now deceased) have nine children, and “all but seven of them are sons,” he tells people. Two daughters are very much into family history, and others have interest, which he tries to encourage by giving them the syllabus CDs.

When people start working on family history, they often get hooked when they feel the Holy Spirit, or the spirit of Elijah. “I call it ‘spiritual hugs,’” Ken says. “You just feel like somebody gave you a hug” as you work on family history and serve in the temple. He is counting on that spirit to keep his children involved.

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