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

Ellie 3

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.

Ellie 1

"It didn’t take long 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.


About the Author