CHARLESTON, S.C. — How do you fill the chapel on a Saturday morning with adults?
The Charleston South Carolina Stake Family History Center found out at the 12th annual Family History Workshop on Oct. 24. With Calvin and Tommie Willis Provost, family history center directors; Deborah Wilborn Graham, workshop chairman; and a host of volunteers, this year's workshop included 30 classes taught by 16 instructors, five of whom were not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Representatives from the South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston Chapter of the South Carolina Genealogical Society, Charleston County Public Library SC History Room, and the Post and Courier newspaper taught classes.
Steeped in history, Charleston has for many years fostered an awareness of family history, encouraging ongoing involvement by many people in researching and preserving genealogical, community and family records and stories. More than 2,200 fliers, helpful priesthood and Relief Society leaders, a temporary Web site (with more than 450 hits during its brief six-week lifetime), and close ties with local historical organizations helped advertise the workshop.
That effort paid off because this year's workshop attracted more than 185 participants, some of whom traveled more than 200 miles to attend. An estimated 70 to 80 percent of participants were not members of the Mormon Church.
In several classes, people lined the walls or stood out in the hall near open doors of classrooms in order to hear. Registration for the workshop ($5 in advance and $8 at the door) included all materials and handouts, as well as lunch. Local missionaries, who had set up an informational display in the foyer, had to go back to their apartments for more CDs, copies of the Book of Mormon and other literature about the church. The workshop ended at 2:30 p.m. At 2:10 p.m., 102 cars were still in the parking lot
— Andrew E. Graham