News Release

Family History Expo in American Samoa Connects Families

Visitors were able to search for relatives using new Samoan language capability on

Pago Pago Samoa West Stake in American Samoa held a one-day family history expo recently at the Department of Youth and Women Affairs building in Tafuna, in Pago Pago.

Adney Reid, president of the stake, said, “Our goal was to help those living on our island to better connect with the vast number of resources available to them by way of the FamilySearch system.”

The event completely transformed the center. The hall was filled with family names from nine different nations ─ Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands, the Philippines, Rotuma, French Polynesia, Niue and Vanuatu.

More than 150 visitors attended the event. Volunteers helped guests establish their own free FamilySearch accounts.

Recently, FamilySearch added the ability to use the website in Samoan, Tongan and Fijian languages, making it even easier to use for Polynesian families.

Tagi Schwenke was one of the volunteers at the expo. “It was fun to see their eyes light up as they connected with their families,” she said.

“I met with two ladies that were sisters. They knew some of their family history but as we worked with them using, they got so excited when they began to learn about more relatives. They said how good it was to be better connected to family members that were long departed.”

Local Latter-day Saint member, Matt Wade, said, “Many of our friends in the community have requested to see another expo and wished it could be longer that just one-day. The work of family history research is moving here in American Samoa.”

Elder Faapito Auapa’au, the Area Seventy for American Samoa, was very pleased with the outcome. “One of the most special moments or fruits of such a work is the blessing of feeling the spirit of Elijah or the spirit of our ancestors there with us as we search.”

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