Printed on: February 03, 2012

BYU-I grad makes his mark in genealogy


Brigham Young University-Idaho graduate D. Joshua Taylor started working on his family's genealogy when he was 10 years old.

He started as a hobbyist, but today the Rexburg native is making his mark across the country doing similar research for other families.

Taylor has been hired by brightsolid, a leading British online genealogy service, to expand the company's reach in the U.S.

"My role is to work with partners within the U.S. genealogy field (and provide them with) some unique resources," Taylor said.

Taylor comes to brightsolid with significant work experience in his field.

"He fell in love with the idea of reading, researching and finding out really interesting facts about people," said Taylor's father, David Taylor. "He became very good at it, very early on."

As a teen and college student, Taylor started doing volunteer work at local family history centers. After graduating from college, he took a job with the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. In that role, he was a featured genealogist on several episodes of NBC-TV's "Who Do You Think You Are?" The reality show helps celebrities trace their family history.

"When you do family history, you don't think you'll meet celebrities," Taylor said. "But it's really nice because it's just like you and me when (a celebrity) starts to discover their family history -- it's brand new and exciting."

Taylor worked with "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker and "Double Jeopardy" star Ashley Judd.

In addition to his work on television and with the historical society, Taylor has traveled the country lecturing and teaching about genealogy. He will perform a similar role on behalf of brightsolid.

Tracing family origins is a very important and meaningful activity for many people, Taylor said.

"Genealogy is a mystery, it's a hunt, and it's a connection to the past that makes us understand our present," he said.

Nate Sunderland can be reached at 542-6763. Comment on this story on Post Talk at talk/.

Genealogy degree

Brigham Young University-Idaho students can start working toward an associate degree in family history beginning this fall.

The private university developed the degree in cooperation with the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The new degree will prepare students to find employment in family history-related fields and become certified genealogists.

"Over the course of the two-year program, students will develop portfolios that will demonstrate mastery and experience they have gained in conducting personal and professional research in family history," BYU-Idaho teacher Stan Kivett said in a news release.