The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), along with the Genealogical Society of Utah, for many decades gathered, collected and preserved vital records, family histories, documents, pedigrees, lineage charts and any other sources to build a complete picture of a family’s ancestors. The work has covered every area in the United States and most nations of the world.
To make these years of gathering records, housed at the LDS Family History Library (https://familysearch.org/locations/saltlakecity-library), in Salt Lake City, Utah, accessible to many people, over 4,861 Family History Centers have been established across the globe in 134 countries. Each Family History Center (FHC) is a branch of the main LDS Library in Utah. All centers, big or small, are free of charge and staffed by volunteers, ready to assist researcher find information on the families. To view the FHC locations go to https://familysearch.org/locations/.
It will vary what resources are housed at each center’s location, much geared to sources relating to that region, county or state. However, each center can order a copy of certain materials on loan from the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City. There is a small fee to request the material on loan and sent to your local center.
The best collection held at the centers are the microfilm and microfiche records, with machines to view the film. There are ship manifest lists, US Census records, courthouse records, church records along with individual family histories that have been donated. Vital records that have been copied and preserved include birth, marriage, and death records, censuses, probates / wills and land records. Besides the microfilm, all the centers are equipped with computers and a great deal of records have been scanned in a digital format and placed on computer disks.
Traditional sources included genealogical books, pamphlets, magazines all to assist any researcher. Even blank pedigree charts, works sheets and family groups sheets are available to help you get your family organized.
A few of the very important databases available at the FHC include: Pedigree Resource File with over 80 million names which have been collected from other family genealogist. The International Genealogical Index Database has civil and church records from across the globe, some 600 million names. Another useful database is the Ancestral File having over 36 million names, with long family lineages, again supplied by fellow family researchers. Additional documents are being recorded daily, adding to their massive collection.
Most people will find there is a local Family History Center nearby their home, with databases and resources to help discover your ancestors no matter when or where they lived. The FHC with its long proved record of assistance is a wonderful starting point for anyone’s family search.