The Church History Library has merged its Pioneer Database and Missionary Database into a single, combined research tool called the Church History Biographical Database.
The new Church History Biographical Database was announced in a video Thursday during RootsTech by Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr., a General Authority Seventy who is serving as church historian and recorder for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The new database maintains the same information, functionality and ease of use as before but with new features and plans to add datasets in the future, said Elder Curtis, who referenced his own ancestors in demonstrating the features of the database.
“The Biographical Database is a powerful research tool. However, we’re not finished with it. For years to come, we will continue adding information to the database,” he said. “I know that this new tool can bless our lives — and, by extension, our ancestors’ lives, as our hearts are turned to them.”
The Church History Library is already working to add data about those who marched with the Mormon Battalion and information on early Latter-day Saints who lived in Nauvoo.
The Pioneer Database was developed about 25 years ago. The Missionary Database was launched in 2016. The idea to combine the two was envisioned shortly thereafter, according to Jeff Haddon, a manager over digital experience and communications at the Church History Library.
“With the launch of the missionary database, we realized that more and more of these ideas for databases would emerge,” Haddon said. “We realized the ideal thing to do from a researcher’s standpoint is bring these datasets together into a single, searchable database, where all of this biographical information could be presented together.”
Haddon provided the following facts about the new database:
- The new database spans the years 1830 to 1940.
- It contains information on more than 100,000 individual pioneers and missionaries, as well as their pioneer companies and missions.
- Search results in the new database can be filtered and narrowed in multiple ways, including limiting the results to only show pioneers or missionaries.
- Individual information is presented in a timeline view to allow users to see relative timing of life events.
Learn more about the Church History Biographical Database by watching Ryan Combs’ RootsTech presentation, which provides an overview of the Church History Biographical Database, or visit BiographicalDatabase.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.