Friday, December 4, 2009

How To Find A Family History Center Near You

One of the most useful resources that you can use is the local Family History Center near you. These genealogy centers are located all over the world and there are reportedly 4,500 centers in more than 100 countries. Each center is staffed by helpful volunteers (usually doing their own research) and they can help you with questions or problems you have with tracing your family.

To find the local Family History Center, which is run by the LDS Church, you just need to put your country or region, your state or province, county and city. If you want a list of all of the centers in your particular state, just leave the county and state blank. If you are travelling, you can locate the local centers in the area you are planning on visiting.

Why Visit A Local Center? Well, because they have access to ALL the records kept by the LDS and there is no charge for visiting or using the records they have on hand. They also allow inter-library loans (for a $5.50 charge) for microfilm they do not have locally. So, if you want to look at microfilm for the census records of a suburb of London, England, for example, you can order the microfilm and take a month to go through the record with a fine tooth comb. If you are not done with it at that time, you can pay $5.50 to renew the loan. As others might also be looking in the same area, you might get lucky and find a borrowed microfilm of the area you are researching. I found that the local center had a copy of a Scottish census for the area of Scotland for some of my ancestors and I spent an afternoon finding information that I didn't previously have on several families.

What will I find at my local Family History Center? That depends on the size of the center of course. There are some very large centers and others are much smaller. All have access to the Family History Library’s online catalog. The LDS have put in a lot of work over many decades to collect every published family history. They’ve filmed a lot of their collection and you can get to those through the Family History Centers.

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