You’re Never too Young to Enjoy Discovering Your Family’s History

June 17, 2014  - by 

A beginning genealogist quickly became a teacher at the Family History Library, downtown Salt Lake City. Eleven year-old Ellie Taplin learned how to find microfilms, search them to find a name, scan, and enhance the image—by Thursday of her first week. Now she is helping others.

Ellie is the daughter of Cari and Seth Taplin of Longmont, Colorado. Since 2003, Cari has traveled to the Salt Lake Family History Library to research her family’s past. Cari says, “It started with a rumor that we were related to Roy Rogers.” It turned out that rumor wasn’t true, but by then Cari was hooked on genealogy. “I had always loved listening to my grandfather tell stories about the family.”

Why is Ellie in the Salt Lake Family History Center? “Because my mom made me. She said come on and do genealogy with me,” Ellie said.

“It didn’t take long

Ellie 1
for Ellie to learn the techniques. Now I can just watch over her shoulder,” Cari said.

Ellie studied deed records for two days. Once she locates the right record, she finds the microfilm number, gets the film, and searches the film until she finds the right page, then looks until she recognizes the name. She then makes a scan. Ellie has even learned how to do enhanced scans.

Ellie is now working on finding information on Elizabeth Berlin, her 5th great grandmother. She picked a line in the family genealogy and it turned out to be a grandmother with Ellie’s given name: Elizabeth.

It can be hard work. Ellie says sometimes it’s good to take a break, “because too much of a good thing is a bad thing—just like chocolate.”

Ellie is no slouch at other things too. She is a black belt in Karate and an orange belt in kick boxing. She taught herself how to knit by watching YouTube videos. She enjoys singing with the Kids of the Kingdom choir with their church, Calvary Chapel of Longmont.

A multi-talented young woman, in an avocation that used to be reserved for the elderly, eleven year-old Ellie Taplin is an example of how universal the love for genealogy can be.


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  1. What a wonderful experience for all of your family. Young people like Ellie are our most recent Family History Consultants. They learn so quickly and are soon teaching us what we have pointed them towards. Our future, with more young people like Ellie, is in good hands. Carry on, Ellie!

    1. Be sure that your young consultants get some training on Family Tree. They are very good at computers, but each program needs some training. See FamilySearch Family Tree training lessons and videos. You can Google it. But it is also on

  2. Thank you Ellie for not just clicking on Green Arrows, but for finding out the truth first. I am surprised she has to go to microfilms still. Isn’t her film on the historical records already indexed? Or just click Search Records, and attach to the Person Page. Maybe she is in an area of the country or world that hasn’t had films indexed yet. Ellie would be a great indexer!!!

  3. That is so great Ellie has learned so much about her ancestors. I really enjoyed reading about her. Thank you Ellie and mom for sharing her story. Good luck Ellie!!

  4. Well done young lady, you are at an age where it will all sink in very quickly.
    I is magic to hear that there are younger ones coming on board to enhance their knowledge.
    You will also find that when you really get into it, it will help you with school work as you will read stories of days gone by and increase your learning skills. Going by the happy face you will go a long way .
    Greetings from Down Under (Aust)