By Tanner Bennett
Nov 01, 2015

Scouting for Genealogy

There came a time in my life when I had to come up with a project in order to earn my coveted Eagle Scout. I was 14 years old and I was giddy with excitement. I had seen the men in every Court of Honor who got to go sit in the Eagle’s Nest, all of those veterans and warriors of previous Scouting years. My father, the patriarch and head warlord of my family. My brother Brandon, the sage whose advice I never quite asked for, but always appreciated. My brother Mason, that fiery being whose respect and admiration I had always sought to receive. There were others too like my bishop, or other parents, people I looked up to. Now it was my time to earn my spot in that coveted Eagle’s Nest.

pictures of graves

Photos: Billy Calzada / San Antonio Express-News

In my young and eager mind I thought that it would be fun to build a bridge somewhere or paint a wall for someone or something like that. When I expressed my ideas to my saintly Mother, she gave me an idea for something that would be far more lasting, and help many more people.

In my neighborhood, there is a big cemetery. She told me that a lot of the information from that cemetery was not online so it was hard for people to do their genealogy. So the idea that we decided on was that we would take pictures of each headstone and post the information (name, marriage date, death date) online.

It seemed to me that this project was one that tied in perfectly to what I was trying to do as a Scout. I wanted to help the greatest amount of people possible. This project allowed me to help people on this side of the veil, and on the other.

flag service cub scoutSo we went forth! About one hundred people came and helped me take pictures. It was a great experience even though I found a headstone with my name on it with that specific date on it as my death date (I stayed away from that one). After we were all done they sent me all of their pictures and I had the task (along with my mom and a very helpful guy in my ward) to go through those pictures and index all of the information.

We were able to give the information that we indexed to Family Search and they added it into their archives. Now that information is all online for anyone looking for their ancestors.

Suffice it to say, I too sit in the esteemed Eagle’s Nest at Court of Honors now. I hope that the efforts made that day have ripple effects that spread through eternity in helping people reach salvation.

Tanner BennettAuthor: Tanner Bennett | BYU Student, Friend of Scouting


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