Missionaries in Williston taking photos of tombstones to help people trace their ancestry

Local News

If you see people taking pictures of tombstones in Williston, don’t be alarmed.

It’s a new effort by missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The missionaries usually spend their time sharing their beliefs, but COVID-19 has made it hard to be as sociable as usual.

So to keep up with their community service requirements, they’ve been taking pictures of headstones and sending them to BillionGraves, an online database used to help people trace their ancestry.

“People like knowing where they come from and a lot of times we’re born and our parents don’t really know their family history or they just don’t teach it, but people like to know where they come from and we’re just trying to help people get a better appreciation and understanding,” Sam Nielson said.

More than 100,000 photos have been taken in the last two months throughout North Dakota.

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