The Gross-Steinberg Family Tree presents:


shared by James Gross

Hi there,
Here is some good basic info on "What is the LDS " for genealogy research.

SUMMARY: What is a Family History Center?

What are the Family History Library and the Family History Centers?
Presented by: Byron D. Holdiman


There is only one Family History Library.  It is located in Salt Lake
City at 35 N. West Temple Street directly west of the historic Mormon
Temple Square.  The beginnings of the Family History Library started in
1894 when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church)
formed the Genealogical Society of Utah to gather records from all over
the world which help people trace their ancestry.

Although the Family History Library and its associated Family History
Centers are services of the LDS Church, the general public is welcome
and the resources they have: books, microfilm, and databases include
materials from censuses, vital records, church records, and family
records for members of many other religious groups.

There is no charge for using the library and there is even a limited
amount of free parking for a 3 hour period a block north of the library.

The Family History Library is open:
         Monday..................7:30 AM -  6:00 PM
         Tuesday-Saturday........7:30 AM - 10:00 PM
The Family History Library is closed on Sundays and on the following
holidays:  New Years, Independence Day, Utah's Pioneer Day (July 24),
Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas, and New Years Eve.


In 1964, the LDS Church started forming branches of the Family History
Library.  These branches are called Family History Centers.  Presently
there are approximately 2000 Family History Centers in over 58
countries.  These Family History Centers are usually located in local
LDS Church meetinghouses and staffed by
volunteers, but not all LDS Church meetinghouses have a Family History
Center.  Each Family History Center varies in size.  The largest one,
Utah Valley Family History Center located on Brigham Young University
Campus, has a large collection of microfilms and books, as well as
several computers.  A small Family History
Center might be located in a small room with just a few sources on hand
and only one computer.  Many Family History Centers fit in size
somewhere in the middle.


What sources are available at the FHL or an FHC that could help me?

The Family History Library and the Family History Centers have sources
from all over the world available for use in the forms of books,
microfilms, microfiche, and computer databases.

The Family History Library has a large collection of microfilms
containing vital records, church records, military records, cemetery
records, county histories, family histories, etc.  The LDS Church
started microfilming records in 1938 and is still continuing the project
of microfilming the records of the world with about 200 microfilm camera
operators filming the records.  The collection contains over 2 million
reels of microfilm.

Family History Centers do not have all of the films, but usually have
some of them on hand.  Films that they do not have can usually be loaned
to the Family History Center.

Part of this microfilm collection is the U.S. Federal Census from 1790 -
1920, as well as censuses from some of the states and other countries.

Periodical Sources Index (PERSI) is available on microfiche at the
Family History Library and the Family History Centers.  PERSI is an
index nearly all English-language and French-Canadian genealogical
periodical (over 2000 periodicals).  It is indexed by surnames,
localities, and research methods.  PERSI is published by the
Fort Wayne/Allen County (Indiana) Public Library.

The International Genealogical Index (IGI) is an index of over 140
million names of deceased persons that were submitted by members of the
LDS Church or by the LDS Church extraction program from original
records.  It is available on microfiche and through the FamilySearch
program at the Family History Library and the Family History Centers.

The Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) is an index to all of the
books and films in the collection of the Family History Library.  The
FHLC can be used on microfiche and through the FamilySearch program at
the Family History Library and the Family History Centers.

Ancestral File is a genealogical pedigree database available through
FamilySearch that helps patrons in locating genealogical information and
in coordinating research effort with others.   Anyone can submit their
family records to be included in this database.

The U.S. Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is an index of people who
died mainly between 1962 and 1993 (some back to 1937) whose death was
reported to the Social Security Administration.  This is available
through FamilySearch too.

Also available on Family Search is the Military Index, an index of
individuals in the United States military service who died or were
declared dead in Korea or Vietnam (Southeast Asia) during the Korean and
Vietnam Conflicts (1950-1975).

The Family History Library has a great collection of books, but these
books cannot be loaned to a Family History Center.  Some books have been
microfilmed though, which allows patrons to obtain the microfilm version
on loan at a Family History Center. Some Family History Centers also
have their own collections of books.

The Family History Library puts out Research Outlines for each state in
the U.S., as well as Research Outlines for several countries.  The
Research Outline lists sources specific for the region.


How do I locate the nearest Family History Center?

There are several ways to locate the nearest Family History Center.
Most of the U.S., Canada, British Isles, New Zealand, and Australia FHCs
can be accessed by World Wide Web (WWW) at

A list of most U.S. and Canada FHCs can be accessed by anonymous FTP
access to or  FHC-CANADA,
FHC-US-AL-HI, FHL-US-ID-OK, and FHL-US-OR-WI can be downloaded from the
/pub/lists/elijah-l directory of GENEALOG.FHC-CAN,
downloaded from the /roots-l directory of

The list of most U.S. and Canada FHCs can also be accessed through by
sending an e-mail message:

Subject:  get archived/{filename as listed above for}
          (i.e., get archived/FHC-CANADA)
(leave blank)

The file will be sent automatically to your e-mail account.

A directory of Family History Centers of the U.S. is also available
through the shareware program of IGI255 ver 4.4.

If a Family History Center is not found nearby through searching the
above lists, one might call the nearest Family History Center and
inquire if there is a closer Family History Center.

By calling the Salt Lake Distribution Center at the toll-free number of
1-800-537-5950 within the U.S. and Canada or calling (801)-240-1174
outside of the U.S. and Canada, a list of Family History Centers for a
specific area anywhere in the world can me sent out through the mail.

A letter can also be mailed to the Salt Lake Distribution Center asking
for a FHC Address List for a certain area at:  Salt Lake Distribution
          1999 West 1700 South
          Salt Lake City, UT  84104-4233

FHC Address Lists are available for:  California (U.S.), Mountain States
(U.S.), Nevada and Utah (U.S.), North Central States (U.S.),
Northeastern States (U.S.), Northwestern States and Hawaii (U.S.),
Southern States (U.S.), Southwestern States (U.S.), Africa/Asia,
Australia/New Zealand, British Isles, Canada, and Continental Europe.

Thanks to the Tampa Family History Center and the subscriber of Elijah-L
for the information and assistance.

Byron D. Holdiman
  LIS Student, USF, Tampa, FL
  Graduate Assistant, Special Collections
  Elijah-L moderator (a LDS-related Genealogy Discussion Group)

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