“In 2004 a maximum force, category 5 cyclone struck the island nation of Niue. It was miraculous that only two people lost their lives, as the devastation leveled a long coastal area.” Homes perched 90 feet above sea level were crushed and swept away. The island experienced wind gusts up to 200 miles per hour.
“The fury of nature took a heavy toll on trees, buildings, and people on Niue.” Priceless government records were lost. “These valuable documents include[d] 30,000 images of birth, death, and marriage records and an index of Europeans who had immigrated to Niue. The documents also included genealogies of Niue women which are used to determine property rights as well as some other genealogies.”
“Years earlier FamilySearch volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had meticulously microfilmed many of Niue’s vital records.” Consequently, following the disaster the Church was able to present copies of these missing records to Niue’s government leaders.
That is what we call, “Serendipity in Genealogy.”
FamilySearch. “Niue Island Disaster - FamilySearch Records Preservation.” YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHgh5D76EjU : accessed 13 September 2012.