THE MORMON MICROFILMS
                              John Hofstee
                         with the assistance of
                             Anthony Hofstee
This article appeared in Dutch in KRONIEKEN (1998, issue 3)
published by the Genealogische Vereniging PROMETHEUS, at the
Technical University in Delft.  Translated and adapted by the

The author and his brother Anthony (both born in the Netherlands)
have researched the genealogy of their family, which appeared in
book form in 1984 (1) and was published in Gens Nostra (the
magazine of the Nederlandse Genealogische Vereniging) in 1988
(2). The genealogy goes back to 1622 when the first known
forebear lived in Hazerswoude, the Netherlands.  They also have a
very extensive pedigree.  The pedigree was published in Gens
Nostra in 1991 (3), but has been expanded by at least forty
percent since that time.  The pedigrees Hofstee-de Blieck and
Hofstee-Neef, as they existed in mid-1997, were published in
Volume XIV of the Pedigree Books of the Genealogical Society
Prometheus (4).  Approximately forty percent of the names in the 
Hofstee-de Blieck Pedigree are from the Rijnland area of Holland,
another forty percent from other areas in the province of South
Holland (e.g. the islands) and the remainder are names from the
rest of the Netherlands and other countries.  The Neef names come
mainly from Friesland. 
Genealogical researchers often wonder how it is possible that the
authors, working in Canada, have been able to put together such
extensive pedigrees.  However, the authors reply that it is
probably easier for them than for people who do research in the
Netherlands; for all their research in archival records of the
Netherlands, France, Germany and Switzerland they have never had
to go far from home.  The reason is that they use the microfilm
records that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
(Mormon Church) has made of the European records.  These
microfilms can also be searched in the Netherlands and other

For their religion the members of this church have to do
genealogical research about their forebears.  To make this
research easier the Church has microfilmed, around the world,
wherever permitted, most of the archival records useful to
genealogists.  In this manner a person can view and do research
in records from around the world in Salt Lake City or wherever
there is Mormon Family History Centre.  In the period 1950-1970
the Mormons were busy in the State Archives, Regional Archives,
municipal records etc. in the Netherlands, to microfilm the
registers of the Civil Population Records; Church Baptism,
Marriage and Burial records; notarial and judicial records; land-
transfer records; church council records, and so on.  Whatever
was available was copied onto microfilm.  There are exceptions,
items which were not done.  For instance, the Head Tax register
of Rijnland of 1622/3 was not copied.
The same thing was done in Canada, the U.S.A., Great Britain and
other European countries.  This way more than a million
microfilms were made, and each year another sixty thousand are
What is often missing from the microfilm archives in Salt Lake
City are copies of registers that were not found until after 1965
or not released until then, such as the Civil records of the
Netherlands from 1882 on.  However, the Mormons are working hard
to overcome this lack and lately much has been added.
The microfilms that have been made around the world are stored in
a vault in Granite Mountain, a large cave in the Salt Lake City
area.  Duplicates or copies can be viewed in the Family History
Centre in Salt Lake City, and can also be ordered for viewing in
any other Family History Centre of a Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints, anywhere in the world.
Some Dutch Family History Centres may have a complete set of all
microfilms of Dutch records.

There is a copy of the Genealogical Library Catalogue in every
library or Family History Centre, either on microfiche or on
computer CD-ROM.  On it all films and books that are available in
the central Family History Centre in Salt Lake City are indexed. 
Dutch records are indexed by province and then by municipality. 
There are thousands of films of Dutch archival records.  One
municipality with which the authors are familiar is Woubrugge/
Esselijckerwoude.  All registers that are available at the State
Archives in the Hague can be found back in the Family History
Centre index.  At times it is difficult to determine which
records have been copied on a certain microfilm as the
description on the index fiche is very summary.  Sometimes this
makes it difficult to order the proper film.  And one can not
just pick up a film of a certain record and quickly put it back
if it is not the correct one.  Of course, this is possible if the
local Family History Centre has the entire set in its library.
There is, of course, a great advantage to this and that is that
one can also order microfilms of records from other countries. 
After all, it is possible to do research in English, Italian,
Swiss or other records in your local Family History Centre.  One
does not have to visit Venice, Zurich or London to have access to
their archives.  As well, sometimes there are registers or
documents which are no longer accessible in the archives as they
are too fragile, but which were microfilmed, and can therefore be
A visit to a Family History Centre usually does not cost
anything, nor does the use of the microfiche or microfilm reading
equipment or computers.  To order films from Salt Lake City does
cost money.  Here in Canada there are two lengths of time for
which films can be ordered with a different costs, either four
weeks or six months.  At the end of the term it can be extended
at a lower cost.  Often it takes quite a while before a film
arrives from Salt Lake City.  Patience is still a virtue.
The authors suggest that readers order microfilms for the longer
term. If it turns out that the films are not what was wanted they
can always be returned.  And every researcher knows how often a
register is searched again.
The Family History Centres usually also have equipment to make
photocopies of the microfiche or film.  That makes it easy to
review a record at leisure at home to decipher what it says. 
That is often quicker and cheaper than requesting photocopies
from the archives.

When a member of the Mormon Church does research to find his or
her forebears, the results are recorded on forms that have to be
submitted to the headquarters of the church in Salt Lake City. 
Nowadays that is done by computer.  Non-members of the Church can
also have their data recorded. The names with their birth or
baptismal date and place and their parents are copied onto a
computer data base, the IGI.  In the same way data about
marriages is recorded, but no deaths or burials.
Secondly, what also appears on the IGI is so-called extraction
work.  Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
go through entire Baptismal or Marriage Registers and record all
the dates and names, and this too is recorded on the IGI data
base.  In this way the IGI has an alphabetical record of
everything in the registers.  All registers of Great Britain have
been done this way, and Germany has been largely completed.
The computer data base-IGI-can be viewed in two ways.  The list
is copied onto microfiches that are available at every Family
History Centre.  Copies can also be bought at a small cost.  In
the Netherlands the IGI fiches are also available at the Centraal
Bureau voor Genealogie in The Hague and at the library of the
Nederlandse Genealogische Vereniging in Naarden.  Another way to
review the IGI is using a computer in the Family History Centre. 
The whole IGI has been copied onto CD-ROM and can be viewed via
computer at the Family History Centre.  Use of the computer is
quite simple.  Hundreds of millions of names from around the
world are listed on the IGI and there is a large number from The
Netherlands as well.  It is therefore possible to search the IGI
for a desired name.  For instance, the authors found the name
Schellenboom at a marriage in Spijkenisse in 1784.  The place of
birth of the groom was illegible, but using the IGI we found him
and his parents in the Palatine.  Once the authors had the name
of the town, it agreed with what it said in the marriage
register.  In this way the IGI can be used to find where certain
family names occur.  The data on the IGI is not completely
reliable, and should be confirmed.
For those researching Dutch and Belgian names, there is a
difficulty, as they are not consistently recorded by the main
part of the last name.  The prefixes such as "van" and "van der"
are often incorporated in the last name, in the American way. 
Therefore, if one is researching f.i. Van den Bosch, one has to
look under Bosch, but also under VandenBosch.
Through the central Family History Centre it is possible to
obtain the name of the person who did the research which resulted
in the name being recorded.  This way it is possible to make
contact with distant relatives.  Microfilms of the original
research can also be ordered or checked to see if there is
additional data recorded.

This lesser known file contains the names and genealogical data
of the forebears that people have submitted to the Mormon
records.  This concerns mainly members of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but non-members may also submit
their data.  The Hofstee pedigree has been largely recorded and 
de Blieck and Neef have been partly entered.  The church has a
special format that has to be followed to enter the data into the
computer.  This format issues a warning if the data appears to be
incorrect, for instance, if the dates of birth of parents and
children are too close together or are too far apart.  The church
does some checking of the data:  if a date of birth is given and
there are no baptismal records listed then they ask where the
date was found.  The names and addresses of the researchers are
recorded with the data in the Ancestral File, so that they can be

The central Family History Centre (35 North West-Temple Street,
Salt Lake City, UT 84150, USA) has a European section where
assistants speak many languages.  Simple questions are generally
quickly and reasonably answered.  The FHC also has a list of
genealogists who are available for further research.  It is often
a good choice to have research done in Salt Lake City, for the
researchers do not have to travel far and wide to visit various

A Family History Centre of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-
Day Saints can be of tremendous use for genealogical research,
especially for research in other countries.  The IGI can
sometimes be used to find a trace of unknown forebears. 
Thousands of people across the world have used the archives,
libraries and Family History Centres of the Latter-Day Saints to
complete their genealogies or pedigrees.

(1)  The Hofstee/Hofstede Family; An Annotated Genealogy,
available from J. Hofstee.
(2)  HOFSTEDE/HOFSTEE, Gens Nostra 1988. Nederlandse
Genealogische Vereniging, Postbus 976, 1000 AA Amsterdam.
(3)  KWARTIERSTAAT HOFSTEE-DE BLIECK, Gens Nostra 1991, beginning
on page 314.
(4)  KWARTIERSTATENBOEK XIV, Genealogische Vereniging Prometheus,
Lorentzweg 1, 2628 CJ Delft, the Netherlands, 1998.

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