Williams sheds light on family trees

By DAISY WASHINGTON / Community Columnist

For the past 20 years, Northport native Pauline Williams has used her skill as a librarian as a service missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where she devotes 20 hours of her time each week.

Williams worked in the Columbiana Ward Building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which houses a Family History Center. During this time, she assisted many people as they searched to find their family history and their ancestors. Pauline’s volunteer work included the Shelby County Archives, where she was responsible for scanning and indexing historical documents which were then uploaded to FamilySearch.org.

Williams and her late husband, Lloyd.

Williams worked alongside hundreds of other volunteers indexing family history documents such as birth, marriage and death records as well as census, land immigration and naturalization and military certificates.

“I volunteer in order to serve others, to help my fellowman. It also keeps me engaged and is a point of focus for me since the loss of my spouse, Lloyd,” Williams explained.

All of the documents are reviewed for accuracy before being published on FamilySearch.org. Access to the database is free and requires an account to be set up with a password.

Williams earned an M.S. in librarianship at the University of Oklahoma in 1973. She began her career as a reference librarian and then collections development librarian and also library assistant. She said it was the experience of working one-on-one with people to assist them in finding the information they needed that is the most rewarding part of what she did as a librarian and also led her to the volunteer work with the Church.

78-year-old William was married to her spouse, Lloyd Malcolm, for 56 years before he passed October 2020 at the age of 82.  She has one daughter and two grandchildren.

Outside of her volunteer work through her church, Williams spends her days planting and tending to her fruit gardens and mowing the 4 acres of land she must keep maintained. Gardening since childhood, she continues the tradition of her husband, who was a horticulturist working her fruit garden for several hours each day. Pauline grows eight different varieties of blueberries, figs, persimmons and her Che bush (which is similar to a mulberry bush).