Family History Centers

November 26, 2019  - by 
Two men helping each other while using a computer at a Family History Center

At FamilySearch, we’re doing everything we can to make all the tools and resources we have available to us also available to you—from your computer or even your phone! With so much information and access literally a screen tap away, you may question why people would visit a local family history center.

On the other hand, maybe you’ve never even heard of a family history center and are wondering what one is. Either way, you’re in luck. This article is about to tell you!

What is a Family History Center?

Family history centers are branches of FamilySearch and the Family History Library. They provide resources for research and study of genealogy and family history.

A typical family history center offers you: 

  1. A computer or device to use as you search for ancestors. 
  2. One-on-one support from a real person when you have questions or get stuck. 
  3. Special access to genealogical websites that may not be available to you from your home.  

Where Can I Find a Family History Center?

Girl smiles at computer

Family history centers are located around the world, usually in a building or church owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In fact, there are currently more than 5,000 operating family history centers in more than 140 countries! Use this locator to find the one that’s nearest you.

One thing to keep in mind is that this locator includes FamilySearch affiliate libraries, which are public, special, or university libraries that have partnered with FamilySearch. These affiliate libraries provide similar benefits to a family history center.

What If I Am Not Near a Family History Center?

Maybe you checked the Family History Center locator and can’t find a center near you. No worries! Suggest to your local library that they become an affiliate with FamilySearch. This collaboration will make records and services available to you and to your community, giving more people the chance to discover the magic and joy of their own family’s history.  

When Can I Visit a Family History Center?

Every family history center has different operating hours. It’s a good idea to check in advance when the center you plan to visit is open and maybe even to call and make an appointment. 

This is especially true if you have a specific question or problem you need help with. Perhaps one of the volunteers has the background or expertise you need. You’ll want to visit when he or she is present.

Why Should I Visit a Family History Center?

One-on-One Genealogy Help

Two girls help each other on computers

Your local family history center is staffed by volunteers who want to help you. These volunteers aren’t necessarily experts in family history, but if they can’t answer your questions, there’s a good chance they will know someone who can.

Access to Computers, Internet, and Genealogical Resources

You can use any of the technological resources that the center has to offer—computers, printers, and access to the internet—to work on your family history.

In family history centers, you also have access to premium genealogical websites that you may not have available to you at home.

Records

A woman asks a man at a desk for help

Sometimes you have to be at an official family history center to view or access a particular record. Currently, family history centers and affiliate libraries have access to about 400 million original records in a digital format.

A Great Place to Start Family History

A family history center is a great place to register for an account with FamilySearch.org. If you’re reading this article, you probably already have an account. But what about your friend, neighbor, or relative?

Maybe you can invite that person to accompany you on a little field trip to the local family history center. If you do, you’ll find technology, volunteers, and a friendly atmosphere—everything you need to make this first foray into family history a positive and inspiring experience.

Learn more about your local family history center today. 

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Comments

    1. Thanks for promoting the FHC’s we are afraid that not everyone sees the importance and blessings that they are.

  1. Yes, thank you for getting this word out. We have people still asking us if we are going to close because of so much digitization – Of course we say “No”. Than there are the other many patrons that do their homework and come in to view images at our FHC that cannot be viewed at home. We’re still open, alive, and doing well!

  2. Excellent. I am a stake consultant myself and shared this with a few Family History sites that I am a member of on FB and I have had a few questions already. You may want to mention the Wiki pages as well. We have had a few people contact us this way. Rob Whaite

    1. Bianca, that sounds like a great goal! Try adding in all the information you know about the first 4 generations and see what pops up from the shared family tree. Click here to learn more about how to do that.

  3. Can I get access to records from back home in (Fiji) in your library where I can complete my research
    I now live in Provo n would love to get assistance to complete my genealogy.. thank you

  4. I am hoping for some help please. I have been doing research for many years and purchased your 2005 Family tree programme. Entered all my research, kept adding to it and saving everything. Could get to it at any time to amend or add, but since a Windows Update sometime last year I believe, I cannot gain access to the info on my computer, or on the backup discs. I have the info in paper form but that’s not easily accessible. Do you have upgrades to rescue my records or are they lost forever. Hope you dont mind me asking but I am so disappointed and anxious really. Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.

    1. Margaret, I am so sorry that happened to you!! When Family History Centers are open again I would consider going in and asking this question. I also think there are businesses that specialize in restoring old computers and lost files. That might be something to look into.

  5. My name is Lena H. Jones; I need to change my email address. I am registered with the Family Search in West LA/SantaMonica area Library. I need to change my old email address to the current one as they are closed due to the Pandemic. How can I do this?

  6. Hi,
    I’m looking for a specialist in Brazilian family history to find records that I didn’t find on the Family Search website.
    Thanks in advance

  7. I live in a rural area in Canada. Can a local library or county museum archives become a Family History Centre with access to the Portal?

  8. Can I use my own computer at the Family History Center? Sometimes all the facility computers are taken.

    1. Hi Ellie! Thank you for your question. Yes, you can bring your own computer to the Family History Center.