The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is the largest library of its kind, attracting visitors from all over the world who want to learn about their ancestors.
The library was a hub of activity during 2019, and 2020 will be no different. Below, we look back on major events and achievements of 2019 and take a look at what is ahead for the library in 2020.
125th Anniversary of the Family History Library
2019: FamilySearch kicked-off a year-long celebration of its 125th anniversary on November 13, 2019, commemorating its founding in 1894 as the Genealogical Society of Utah.
2019: DNA Day at the Family History Library was on April 25, World DNA Day. Participants learned about using DNA for family history research, got answers to their DNA questions at the Open Lab, and participated in activities at the library. Recorded webinars and handouts are available free online.
2020: Be on the lookout for DNA Day in 2020, when the library will again offer activities and classes.
2019: In June, families and visitors flocked to the fifth annual Family History Library block party. The event included a rock-climbing wall, a scavenger hunt in the library, and musical entertainment featuring several cultural heritages. Relative Race cars, pioneer games, dress-ups, and handcarts provided photo opportunities.
2020: Enjoy fun family activities at the sixth annual block party on June 13, 2020.
2019: Library visitors who came between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve last year enjoyed inspiring Christmas videos, music and performances, a Christmas around the World scavenger hunt, Christmas Bingo, coloring pages, and family photo shoots.
2020: Gather at the library for free activities during the 2020 holidays.
2019: On May 10, 1869, a ceremonial Golden Spike was driven at Promontory Point, Utah, signifying the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad. In conjunction with the sesquicentennial celebration, the Family History Library held a Chinese Research Day honoring thousands of Chinese immigrants who sacrificed and labored to make the railroad a reality.
Day of the Dead
2019: The library celebrated the Day of the Dead. Visitors enjoyed watching Disney’s Coco and trying samplings of pan dulce and pan de muerto.
2020 Cultural Celebrations: The library will feature displays, photo opportunities, and commemorative activities each month. These displays and activities will celebrate different themes based on the month.
For example, in February, the library will celebrate both the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing and African American history. From February 15 to 26, a replica of the Mayflower will be on display on the main floor of the library; then it will be moved to the Expo Hall on February 26 during RootsTech.
For information about other cultural celebrations, follow the Family History Library Facebook page.
2019: In 2019, the Family History library book collection expanded by more than 16,500 genealogically significant books. The process of cataloguing and shelving them is underway.
2020: As book processing continues, collections will be shifted to make room to shelve the new books. The library will likely purchase and process as many books this year as last.
2019: The Family History Library providedweekly classes and webinars on researching records from the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and other major regions. Recordings of past webinars and accompanying handouts are available online and are listed by topic or instructor.
2020: Upcoming webinars for 2020 include a variety of topics, everything from researching specific country records to reading old handwriting to Family Tree instruction.
2019: Library reference areas have been remodeled to increase computer and records access and help options. Some computer stations have two or three monitors so patrons can examine and compare records.
2020: The project will expand to more floors, and phase two will begin in 2020.
New Library Hours
2019: The library expanded its hours to better meet patrons’ schedules by staying open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The main floor, which includes the discovery experiences, is now open on Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
2019: Family History Library volunteers worked diligently in the background to make RootsTech 2019 a success, and experts from the Family History Library were among the presenters. Webinar sessions are available online from last year.
2020: During RootsTech 2020, employees and volunteers will again share their expertise in the Salt Palace and at the Family History Library. The library’s chief genealogical officers will host special VIP events for RootsTech 2020 in February.
Library Genealogical Team
2019: The FamilySearch Chief Genealogical Office, in conjunction with the BYU Family History program, has instituted a new credit-based family history internship program for family history students from BYU and affiliated universities.
2020: Internships will continue throughout the year. As part of the experience, interns will receive guided support for accreditation with the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen) or certification with the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG).
This year, the library will also welcome more half-time genealogical officers. These new team members will help provide more focus on specific areas of the world, such as Latin America and Asia.
For continued updates on Family History Library events and other announcements, be sure to follow the Family History Library Facebook page.
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