Thursday, May 15, 2014

Don't Be Afraid of Your Local Family History Center

picture from Columbia, MS Family History Center

I was told when I first started doing family research that the Church of Later Days Saints had genealogy libraries all over the United States.  I thought how wonderful but I'm not going in there by myself!  So years went by and then when I got married to another genealogy addict he suggested we go see what it was all about.  That was some 10 years ago.  The closest library which is called a Family History Center was only 10 minutes away but when we arrived we discovered a small room with just a few microfilm readers and a volunteer to answer our questions.  Back then in order to have a microfilm sent from Salt Lake City you had to sit in the little room and go through catalogs to find what you wanted.  It was all a little overwhelming and we didn't go back.

picture from Greenville, SC Family History Center

Well things are a lot different now.  First of all the Catalog is now online at and you can browse it at will in the comfort of your own home in your pajammies and fluffy slippers even!  You also order the films you want to view from your home too.

picture from Fabulous after 40

So my husband and I decided to try again.  We found some microfilm we would like to see that we could not get from our own library or through interlibrary loans.  It cost us $7 for each film using our PayPal account.  We were emailed about two weeks later letting us know the films had arrived at the Family History Center close to our home.  Every Family History Center is different as far as size and hours of operation are concerned and ours is only available Wednesday days and Thursday evenings.  So on the next Thursday we went to the center and searched our little hearts out.  The films will stay at the center for about a month and then we have the option to renew then or have them sent back.  The cool thing about the renewal is that it will stay at our Family History Center until another patron requests it which could be indefinitely.

So don't be afraid of using this wonderful source of invaluable materials.  The volunteer at our center was so kind and helpful.  I can't believe I waited so long to try it out.

Do you have experience with your local Family History Center?   I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Until next time, happy hunting.

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