While many Teche residents and visitors from around the world are preparing to create unique combinations of common ingredients into more than 100 competition gumbo entries on Sunday, the Saturday pre-gumbo cooking teams and fans will be dancing to the music slated to play all day in downtown New Iberia. For those who prefer indoor challenges, Cynthia Hofmeister, a volunteer genealogist and professional landman assisting others through the Opelousas Family History Center, will be coordinating a workshop for family research buffs. Through a service with resources maintained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hofmeister is finally doing what she moved to south Louisiana to do — help African-Americans and people of all ethnic groups search for their ancestors. Her passion to dig deep into the available records has carried her through a successful career as an oil and gas landman, but Hofmeister considers the family research to be a calling.

Where and when will the conference take place?

The conference, “Preserving The Past One Name At A Time,” is a free New Iberia Genealogy Conference being held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 409 Bayard St. Sixteen classes will be offered for the Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Using Family Search. We will be having specialty classes on African American research, “Where do I begin” for Spanish speaking, basics of land plotting, Lineage Society applications, personal narratives with timelines, door prizes and a light lunch will be served.

Is registration required?

For planning seating and lunch, it would have been great to have pre-registration, but more importantly, we want anyone interesting in learning more about searching for family to attend this Family History Conference.

Why is family history so important to your church?

We believe in doing Temple and Family History work because we believe families can be together forever. That is our Heavenly Father’s plan. The Book of Mormon goes back to Aztec Indians and what happened on this continent. It is the second testament that Jesus Christ was here. To us it is a commandment to do our family history. In 1994, the prophet at the time came out with a proclamation to the world and it was about standing on family values. The 13 Articles of Faith, Joseph Smith’s gospel message to the church in 1842, briefly includes the belief in God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost; that men will be punished only for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression; and that through Christ’s Atonement, people can be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion, confirmation and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost are all necessary for salvation. Those are only the first four Articles of Faith. For a full list visit LDS.org and search for the 13 Articles of Faith.

Researching family is not just a hobby for you, is it?

No, I consider it a calling fully supported by my husband, Erich. As a young woman I listened to my mother and aunts talking about their family ancestors. By my father’s directive, the family became members of the LDS church when I was young. My fascination grew for family history after marrying Erich. We were high school sweethearts. I began looking into his family history.

Tell about your family research and what you discovered.

Working on my own family research for the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, I made an amazing discovery. There were parallels of the family’s movement and that of the establishment the LDS church. Going beyond my direct ancestor, I discovered mine stayed in the Northeast, but a brother moved west into Utah where the lineage is linked to the foundation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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