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:
- A computer or device to use as you search for ancestors.
- One-on-one support from a real person when you have questions or get stuck.
- Special access to genealogical websites that may not be available to you from your home.
Where Can I Find a Family History Center?
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
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.
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.