Ancestral Family Organizations
and Their Importance
BFO Research Committee
First published in October 2004
Updated in December 2016
Ancestral Family Organizations (AFOs)
Ancestral Family Organizations are larger
than parent or grandparent family associations and include the descendants
of a common ancestral couple. The Brough Family Organization (BFO) is
a member of the LDS Ancestral
Families Association (LDSAFA)--which is a free registration, publication
and support consortium for LDS Ancestral Family Organizations (AFOs).
Importance of Ancestral Family Organizations
The Brough Family Organization
(BFO) is one of the largest Ancestral Family Organizations--or AFOs--in
the world. Based on more than forty years of genealogical and historical
efforts by many BFO officers and members, R. Clayton
Brough, BFO Vice-President and Genealogist, has stated the following
about the importance of AFOs:
"Ancestral family organizations are
often able to accomplish much more than individual families or 'grandparent'
family associations. Because of their extensive membership
and databases, AFOs are often able to
locate and obtain genealogical and historical
information much faster and cheaper than individual families or grandparent
"Also, AFOs often know about--and
can find and acquire from different
parts of the world--unique genealogical data and historical records, such
as those found in family bibles, personal journals, private
indexes and photographic collections.
These sources can provide genealogical information not commonly found
in ecclesiastical or government records.
"Finally, because of its broad membership
and extensive number of contributors, AFOs can usually afford
and support extensive research by professional
genealogists much easier and for longer durations than can most individual
families or grandparent family associations."
Ancestral Family Organizations Encourage Friendship and Sharing
Genealogy work and family history often
crosses many political borders and lines of faith. According to Richard
L. Brough, BFO Board Member: "While the doctrines of the LDS
Church teach the eternal significance of genealogy work and family history,
people of all faiths and walks of life can enjoy the friendship and love
that comes from being involved in such work. In fact, the many different
families and religious beliefs within the BFO have only added to its strength
BFO officials regularly encourage their
members to visit each other and to share their genealogical information
and histories. This is done through personal visits, reunions, telephone
calls, emails, website listings, social media sharing, and publications
The BFO - One of the World's Largest and Oldest Ancestral
The Brough Family Organization (BFO)
is one of the largest, oldest, and best
known ancestral family organizations in the world. Since 1969, the
BFO--which is a U.S. non-profit, tax exempt family history and genealogical
organization--has conducted extensive genealogical research on the Broughs
of the British Isles--with specific emphasis on the ancestors, descendants
and relatives of Richard Brough (born 1786) and Mary Horleston (born 1799)
of Staffordshire, England.
On June 20, 1840, Richard
Brough was baptized at the age of 54 into The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or "Mormon"
or LDS Church) at Frooms Hill, Herefordshire, England. Richard was the
first "Brough" in England to join the LDS Church. He was a brickmaker
by trade and had served seventeen years in the Royal Artillery Service
of the British Army. Richard married Mary Horleston in 1825. After Richard
joined the LDS Church, five of his eleven children were eventually baptized
into his new faith. Eventually, three of his children--Thomas,
Elizabeth and Samuel--emigrated
from England to Utah, while descendants of some of his other children
spread out across western Europe or emigrated to Australia.
Today, descendants of these children make up much of the BFO.
However, the BFO doesn't include only descendants
of Richard Brough and Mary Horleston. Since 1969, the BFO has
conducted extensive research on the genealogies
and histories of the many Brough
Families of the British Isles. Currently there are thousands of descendants
of these Brough families living throughout the world, and the BFO has
active members in many countries--including the United States, United
Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and South Africa. Since the
1980's, many Brough descendants have provided extensive genealogical information
about their ancestors to the BFO--including such individuals as Catharine
Ann Brough Hind, whose husband, Stanley
M. Hind (deceased), was a well-known Reverend Canon (Vicar) Emeritus
in the Church of England.
Today, the BFO includes Mormons, Anglicans,
Catholics, and Protestants from four continents, and the organization
has numerous supporters and family members.
Its website, www.broughfamily.org
is one of the most detailed and exhaustive ancestral family "surname"
websites in the world. The website has extensive photographs, genealogical
data and histories on the ancestors and descendants of the Broughs of
the British Isles, and the site receives hundreds of hits (or visits)
each day from people in many different countries.
The Universal Appeal of Family History and Genealogy Work
Kent L. Brough,
former BFO President, has stated the following about the universal appeal
and importance of family history and genealogy work: "Like many other
people, our Brough ancestors faced many challenges and experienced many
events. They were faithful to their families and contributed much to their
civic and religious communities. In most cases, the beliefs we now have
and the freedoms we enjoy today are largely a result of their efforts
and sacrifices. By better understanding the lives of our ancestors we
can appreciate more fully what we now have and enjoy."
In 1966, the Genealogical Society of the
LDS Church published the following statements about "Family Organizations"--which
are as applicable today as they were decades ago:
"The genealogical family orgnization
has as its major goal the compiling and recording of genealogical and
historical information pertaining to the common ancestors of its members.
Cooperation in genealogical research through the family organization is
one of the most successful means of extending and proving pedigrees and
compiling family genealogies. The family organization promotes coordination
of research among individuals researching the same family lines, affords
opportunities for specialization in research, pools time and money resources,
channels wise use of resources, and fosters fellowship and understanding
among its members.
"Throughout the world, people are increasingly
becoming interested in finding out more about their families. Individuals
want to know about the lives of ancestors--their occupations, accomplishments,
what their names were, and where they lived. In discovering ancestors,
individuals seem to discover themselves and are better able to define
their own goals and know what they want and expect out of life. Frequent
association with other family members in family organizations, through
both personal contact and through correspondence, brings on definite feelings
of concern for the family and a greater appreciation of family ties. By
working in family orgnizations, people become 'family oriented' and feel
they are a part of a big family operation." (Genealogical
Instruction Manual, Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1966,
People Become Involved in
Ancestral Family Organizations
In February 2013, R.
Shane Brough, BFO President, stated the following about getting your
people involved in family history work:
"Getting younger family members involved
with genealogical and family history work will be the key to our future
success. They have energy and most of their lives still ahead of them,
and they better understand technology and the internet than many of their
parents and grandparents! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
has recognized this need and has created a great website to help get youth
interested, motivated and energized in accomplishing this work: https://lds.org/youth/family-history?lang=eng.
Interestingly, on February 17, 2013, the Parade magazine (www.parade.com)
that appeared as a suppliment in the Deseret News newspaper of
Salt Lake City, Utah, published an article entitled 'One Big Happy Family,
which stated the following: When a team of psychologists measured children's
resilience, they found that the kids who knew the most about their family's
history were best able to handle stress [over those who played team sports
or attended regular religious services]. The more children know about
their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their
lives and the higher their self-esteem. The reason: These children have
a strong sense of intergenerational self--they understand that they belong
to something bigger than themselves, and that families naturally experience
both highs and lows.'
"I recognize that young people may
not like working on 'history' and may shy away from it. But my guess is
they would like to sit with a grandparent or great-grandparent to hear
and record their life story. They would probably enjoy collecting, scanning,
labeling and organizing old family pictures. Indexing could be fun with
the right project that aligns with their interests. They might like to
participate with us in utilizing existing (and future) technologies to
allow us to have real-time virtual reunions and other family meetings.
They might even like to set up a social network dedicated to just...family
members-and I'll bet they could come up with a pretty creative name for
it as well."
A Personal Testimony of Faith and Family History
for a Personal Testimony of Faith
and Family History by R. Clayton Brough,
BFO Vice-President and Genealogist.