Volunteering Builds Connections in Greenock Branch

by Catherine Murray

Family Search Centre

As a volunteer for my local council in the “Community Learning and Development” (CLD) department, I help people become self-sufficient through teaching them computer skills and helping them with their CVs.

Through this work, I was asked to spear-head genealogy classes at local libraries. Wonderfully, this opportunity coincided with the Greenock Branch becoming a Family History Centre.

The genealogy classes are well attended, and my first objective was to have everyone register at familysearch.org. I walk through the site processes with participants and help them start their own research for ancestors. I informed attendees that the free website was the largest database for records, and that FamilySearch belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

During breaks between courses the participants would bring in refreshments and I heard them discussing what to give me to drink. I knew they knew I was a member of the Church.

After each course, participants receive a copy of My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together [2018] pamphlet, with the details for the Greenock Branch Family History Centre.

In 2019, we opened the Branch as a community centre to promote family research, self reliance courses, and bible studies. I built a Facebook page to build relationships with our neighbours in the community. As of now, we have 400 members and counting.

We networked the page with local organisations, including local governments. Through this, we received visits from the local council leaders, and were approached and asked if we could hold ESOL language classes.

With the permission of the Branch President, we invited the leaders of the CLD department and gave them a tour of our chapel building. A further tour was set up for Ukranian and Afghan refugees, and thereafter, the ESOL language course began. Local council leaders still stop by occasionally to see how the ESOL classes are progressing.

In early 2023, a branch of the Scottish Government gave us a visit to review how the Ukrainians and Afghans were doing, and we gave them a tour. This was a positive step in bringing the church into a good light with the government. From this, we have built positive relationships with our local councils.