Brough Family Organization

Ancestral Family Organizations
and Their Importance

by the
BFO Research Committee
First published in October 2004
Updated in December 2016

Ancestral Family Organizations (AFOs)
     Ancestral Family Organizations are larger than parent or grandparent family associations and include the descendants of a common ancestral couple. The Brough Family Organization (BFO) is a member of the LDS Ancestral Families Association (LDSAFA)--which is a free registration, publication and support consortium for LDS Ancestral Family Organizations (AFOs).

Importance of Ancestral Family Organizations
     The Brough Family Organization (BFO) is one of the largest Ancestral Family Organizations--or AFOs--in the world. Based on more than forty years of genealogical and historical efforts by many BFO officers and members, R. Clayton Brough, BFO Vice-President and Genealogist, has stated the following about the importance of AFOs:
     "Ancestral family organizations are often able to accomplish much more than individual families or 'grandparent' family associations. Because of their extensive membership and databases, AFOs are often able to locate and obtain genealogical and historical information much faster and cheaper than individual families or grandparent associations.
     "Also, AFOs often know about--and can find and acquire from different parts of the world--unique genealogical data and historical records, such as those found in family bibles, personal journals, private indexes and photographic collections. These sources can provide genealogical information not commonly found in ecclesiastical or government records.
     "Finally, because of its broad membership and extensive number of contributors, AFOs can usually afford and support extensive research by professional genealogists much easier and for longer durations than can most individual families or grandparent family associations."

Ancestral Family Organizations Encourage Friendship and Sharing
     Genealogy work and family history often crosses many political borders and lines of faith. According to Richard L. Brough, BFO Board Member: "While the doctrines of the LDS Church teach the eternal significance of genealogy work and family history, people of all faiths and walks of life can enjoy the friendship and love that comes from being involved in such work. In fact, the many different families and religious beliefs within the BFO have only added to its strength and purposes."
     BFO officials regularly encourage their members to visit each other and to share their genealogical information and histories. This is done through personal visits, reunions, telephone calls, emails, website listings, social media sharing, and publications and videos.

The BFO - One of the World's Largest and Oldest Ancestral Family Organizations
     The Brough Family Organization (BFO) is one of the largest, oldest, and best known ancestral family organizations in the world. Since 1969, the BFO--which is a U.S. non-profit, tax exempt family history and genealogical organization--has conducted extensive genealogical research on the Broughs of the British Isles--with specific emphasis on the ancestors, descendants and relatives of Richard Brough (born 1786) and Mary Horleston (born 1799) of Staffordshire, England.
     On June 20, 1840, Richard Brough was baptized at the age of 54 into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or "Mormon" or LDS Church) at Frooms Hill, Herefordshire, England. Richard was the first "Brough" in England to join the LDS Church. He was a brickmaker by trade and had served seventeen years in the Royal Artillery Service of the British Army. Richard married Mary Horleston in 1825. After Richard joined the LDS Church, five of his eleven children were eventually baptized into his new faith. Eventually, three of his children--Thomas, Elizabeth and Samuel--emigrated from England to Utah, while descendants of some of his other children spread out across western Europe or emigrated to Australia. Today, descendants of these children make up much of the BFO.
     However, the BFO doesn't include only descendants of Richard Brough and Mary Horleston. Since 1969, the BFO has conducted extensive research on the genealogies and histories of many Brough Families of the British Isles. Currently there are thousands of descendants of these Brough families living throughout the world, and the BFO has active members in many countries--including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and South Africa. Since the 1980's, many Brough descendants have provided extensive genealogical information about their ancestors to the BFO--including such individuals as Catharine Ann Brough Hind, whose husband, Stanley M. Hind (deceased), was a well-known Reverend Canon (Vicar) Emeritus in the Church of England.
     Today, the BFO includes Mormons, Anglicans, Catholics, and Protestants from four continents, and the organization has numerous supporters and family members. Its website, is one of the most detailed and exhaustive ancestral family "surname" websites in the world. The website has extensive photographs, genealogical data and histories on the ancestors and descendants of the Broughs of the British Isles, and the site receives many hits or visits each month from people in different countries.
The Universal Appeal of Family History and Genealogy Work
     Kent L. Brough, former BFO President, has stated the following about the universal appeal and importance of family history and genealogy work: "Like many other people, our Brough ancestors faced many challenges and experienced many events. They were faithful to their families and contributed much to their civic and religious communities. In most cases, the beliefs we now have and the freedoms we enjoy today are largely a result of their efforts and sacrifices. By better understanding the lives of our ancestors we can appreciate more fully what we now have and enjoy."
     In 1966, the Genealogical Society of the LDS Church published the following statements about "Family Organizations"--which are as applicable today as they were decades ago:
     "The genealogical family orgnization has as its major goal the compiling and recording of genealogical and historical information pertaining to the common ancestors of its members. Cooperation in genealogical research through the family organization is one of the most successful means of extending and proving pedigrees and compiling family genealogies. The family organization promotes coordination of research among individuals researching the same family lines, affords opportunities for specialization in research, pools time and money resources, channels wise use of resources, and fosters fellowship and understanding among its members.
     "Throughout the world, people are increasingly becoming interested in finding out more about their families. Individuals want to know about the lives of ancestors--their occupations, accomplishments, what their names were, and where they lived. In discovering ancestors, individuals seem to discover themselves and are better able to define their own goals and know what they want and expect out of life. Frequent association with other family members in family organizations, through both personal contact and through correspondence, brings on definite feelings of concern for the family and a greater appreciation of family ties. By working in family orgnizations, people become 'family oriented' and feel they are a part of a big family operation."
(Genealogical Instruction Manual, Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1966, page C-1).

Helping Young People Become Involved in Ancestral Family Organizations
     In February 2013, R. Shane Brough, BFO President, stated the following about getting your people involved in family history work:
     "Getting younger family members involved with genealogical and family history work will be the key to our future success. They have energy and most of their lives still ahead of them, and they better understand technology and the internet than many of their parents and grandparents! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has recognized this need and has created a great website to help get youth interested, motivated and energized in accomplishing this work: Interestingly, on February 17, 2013, the Parade magazine ( that appeared as a suppliment in the Deseret News newspaper of Salt Lake City, Utah, published an article entitled 'One Big Happy Family, which stated the following: When a team of psychologists measured children's resilience, they found that the kids who knew the most about their family's history were best able to handle stress [over those who played team sports or attended regular religious services]. The more children know about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem. The reason: These children have a strong sense of intergenerational self--they understand that they belong to something bigger than themselves, and that families naturally experience both highs and lows.'
     "I recognize that young people may not like working on 'history' and may shy away from it. But my guess is they would like to sit with a grandparent or great-grandparent to hear and record their life story. They would probably enjoy collecting, scanning, labeling and organizing old family pictures. Indexing could be fun with the right project that aligns with their interests. They might like to participate with us in utilizing existing (and future) technologies to allow us to have real-time virtual reunions and other family meetings. They might even like to set up a social network dedicated to members-and I'll bet they could come up with a pretty creative name for it as well."

A Personal Testimony of Faith and Family History
     Click here for a Personal Testimony of Faith and Family History by R. Clayton Brough, BFO Vice-President and Genealogist.

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