The Family History Center (FHC) was founded in 1894. It serves about 2,000 patrons daily and is the largest facilities of its kind in the world. The FHC has many valuable resources:
- Books: 310,000 books, serials and other formats
- Periodicals: 4,500
- Film: 2.4 million different rolls of microfilm
- Fiche: 742,000 sheets of microfiche
- Hours: Monday (8am-5pm); Thursday-Saturday (8am-9pm)
- Cost: Free
- 202 Computers
- 509 microfilm readers
- 36 microfiche readers
- 28 microfiche/microfilm copiers
- 700 electronic resources
- Scanners and copiers
- 396 table seating places
- 200 cameras presently filming in 45 countries
The web address is FamilySearch. Through the internet access you can use the Library Catalog Search Criteria:
- Place Search
- Surname Search
- Keyword Search
- Title Search
- Film/Fiche Number Search
- Author Search
- Subject Search
- Call Number Search
Searching for your Surnames can also be done online. The Ancestral File has over 36 million names linked together. The 1880 census is available. The International Genealogical Index (IGI) has over 125 million names. The Pedigree Resource File has about 150 million names linked. The US Social Security Death Index is also available for free.
One note of caution: Contributors are encouraged to document their sources and be sure of the correctness of their submissions. But, there are those well-meaning contributors that submit incorrect information. The Family History submissions are a great starting point to lead you in a direction to find your family. Always back up and prove your data and cite your sources. This refers to the Ancestral and Pedigree Resource files.
Of course, a lot of us cannot just pick up our genealogical records and travel to Salt Lake City, Utah where the FHC is located. Using a local Family History Center is a great alternative. There are over 4,000 centers in more than 88 countries. Get to know the people who work at the centers, the equipment they have and their collection. The staff will be happy to assist you in ordering your film. Most local libraries now have the option to order records from the FHC, so if you do not have a FHC near you, check with your local library!
On the home page of the online Familysearch site, there are great resource tools. The Personal Ancestral File (PAF) software can be downloaded for FREE. Digitized books are available through the BYU site at Family History Archive BYU.
What is the future of Familysearch and the LDS in genealogy?
- It is undertaking the largest scanning project in the world. All of the records contained in the Granite Mountain Vault, along with other donated records, are being scanned and to be released to the public as they become available. (http://search.labs.familysearch.org)
- The Largest Indexing initiative is in work. (FamilySearch Indexing) You can volunteer and work from home anytime, online 24/7. It only takes minutes a week, start and stop at your own convenience. There are a large variety of projects, new additions added weekly. YOU can be a part of the largest community-based indexing effort in the world. There are over 150,000 volunteers, 1.5 million names indexed daily, 250+ millions names already published, and the Spanish language interface is now available.
- Partnership with Footnotes.com and other organizations
In conclusion, the Family History Center is a great resource tool for you in your genealogical endeavors. Whether you are in Utah at the Family History Center, visiting your local Family History Centers or online at Familysearch.org or indexing, take advantage of the wealth of information these sites have to offer.