What to bring to the Family History Center

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FamilySearch This article describes the services and resources available at a Family History Center, a branch facility of the Family History Library.

Family History Centers vary in size, materials, hours and staffing.  Broadly, there are those who have microfilm & mircofiche readers and those who do not have them.  Specifically, there are Ward (Branch), Stake, Multi-stake and Large Multi-stake (regional genealogy libraries) FHCs with the smallest having a single computer to library class facilties. 

  • For a general introduction to Family History Centers, click here.
  • To find a FHC near you, please use this link.
  • Some FHCs maybe listed as FamilySearch Centers, they all serve the basic function of helping you with your family history and genealogy.

Preparing for a Visit to a Family History Center (FHC) [edit | edit source]

1) Place any records (birth/death certificates, etc.) along with names, dates, places you are aware of or have found into a box or folder. Organize them by family surname, dates, or places. You may choose to bring a notebook with this information. Keep all original material safe. Always use photocopies or digital copies for researching.  Don't forget a pencil or pen!

2) We recommend you enter the knowledge you have gathered into a Genealogical Software of your choice. An easy one to learn is Personal Ancestral File (PAF).  PAF & other genealogical software assists you in organizing your records and data.

3) Decide what you would like to achieve and then bring any information you already have with you. Please check the hours the FHC is open. Please remember that all FHCs are different in capacity and resources. When in doubt ask.

4) Complete and bring your Pedigree Chart, Family Group Sheets or your PAF (or other genealogical program) a copy of your data file on an flash drive (memory stick) for transporting information back and forth to the Family History Center. You can also use a floppy disk or CD. The 3.5 inch diskette holds only 1.4MBs of data or equal to a one or two digital pictures.  The CD can hold up to 650MBs of data but most CDs can not be updated. This is why the Flash drive is suggested.

5) To obtain forms such as blank Pedigree Charts, Family Group Sheets and others, go to Genealogy Research Forms or you may choose to go to:  BYU charts or use PAF or your other genealogy program to print blank forms.

6) When coming to the Center, be sure to have a small amount of change to pay for any copies that you want. Remember the smaller FHCs may not have photocopiers.  Bring a digital camera or cell phone (6 megabytes or better) to take pictures of the material you need.  Sometimes a tripod is needed for low light situations to avoid blurred or shakey pictures.