Columbia Missouri Family History Center

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
FamilySearch This article describes the services and resources available at a Family History Center, a branch facility of the Family History Library.

The Family History Center will be closed AGAIN the week of July 16 - 21 due to continued building renovation. We have just conducted a nose test and the smell is as awful as it was a week ago. There is no way anyone should be breathing those vapors. We will hope for better things next week, but check back here a week from this evening (July 23rd) just to be sure. Again, we are sorry for the inconvenience!!!

READ THIS!!!! The NEW Spring 2018 Saturday morning Workshop schedule is on this web page. Just scroll down to the second heading below that says WORKSHOP SCHEDULE!


We are ALWAYS closed when the Columbia Public Schools are closed because of the weather, and on very rare occasion we are closed because road conditions make staff uneasy. You are always welcome to call during our open hours to ensure we are here.573-443-2048).

When we have an unexpected closure, we try very hard to post that closing RIGHT HERE, at the top of this webpage. Occasionally, we close early as weather starts to turn bad. Call us to see what our plans are for an early closing.

Columbia Missouri Family History Center

The Columbia Family History Center, one of about 4,600 such centers in 132 countries, is technically an extension of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we exist to assist patrons in searching for their ancestors. We are staffed by local Church members and others from the community who volunteer their time to serve in the Center. The services provided by the Center are free to anyone who wishes to use them. There is a small charge, however, for copying and for microfilm/fiche rental.

The Columbia Family History Center (FHC) was first opened in 1974 and has been at its current location since 1994. This particular Family History Center is the second largest in the state of Missouri in terms of the number of hours open each week.

We ARE OPEN this afternoon, Thursday, February 22nd.


Center Contacts and Hours

Location Map: Location Map

Address: 4708 Highlands Pkwy Columbia, MO 65203-6259

  • Ring the doorbell at the EAST door to gain entry. Plenty of free parking. Handicapped accessible.
  • Language: English

Phone: 573-443-2048 (answered only when we are open)


Open Hours:

  • Tuesday: 10:00am-4:00pm
  • Wednesday: 1:00pm-4:00pm and 6:30pm-9:00pm
  • Thursday: 10:00am-4:00pm
  • Saturday: Open the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Saturday of the month from 1:00pm -5:00pm

We close when Columbia Public Schools close for inclement weather and during the winter holidays: We are also rarely closed unexpectedly because of inclement weather or illness. We apologize if this is an inconvenience.

We always close for winter holidays including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, and we close for one week in August. Look at the top of this page for specific closing information closer to those dates.

Occasionally we close 30 or so minutes early if no patrons remain in the Center.

Workshop Schedule

The Columbia Family History Center will offer two series of workshops during 2018.  All will be held on Saturday mornings beginning at 10:00 AM and run until noon at the latest.  Workshop leaders will plan an hour + of organized instruction followed by an additional hour or so of Q&A, individual help, etc.

Participants are welcome to pick and choose the sessions they attend.  That is, a participant may enroll for all the sessions in a series or choose only ones of specific interest to them.  The sessions are designed to be “slowed down” compared to a typical conference presentation, with time for questions, clarification, and discussion as we go.

NOTE: While there is no charge, REGISTRATION is REQUIRED for each individual session.   The sessions are being advertised primarily to our local Columbia LDS population although community members are also welcome to attend.  Enrollment will be on a first come-first served basis.  All sessions will be held in the Family History Center.. 

SERIES I SPRING 2018 WORKSHOPS (Especially for NEW and RETURNING researchers)

#1. February 24 Designed for TRUE BEGINNERS, this session will explore what you need to know to get started, what’s most important to do first, what to do with all your “stuff,” and how to manage your expectation.  We’ll also take a look at the main sources of genealogical information available to you.

#2 March 3 In this session we’ll look at lots of issues that, “IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN THAT SOONER,” would have saved you lots of time, trouble, and frustration.  This session has a short description but it can be super valuable to new and returning researchers.

#3. March 10 Are you already using the FAMILYSEARCH.ORG website?  Great, but are you under-using it?  Most people are.  This session will explore the website so you can get the optimal bang for your buck (bad metaphor - FamilySearch is free) and really advance your research.

#4. March 17 The FAMILY TREE in  The FamilyTree is like a lot of things - really easy once you know how, but it can be a bit intimidating at first.  Still, it is a great place to deposit your research, tie into other lines, get great hints when you’re stuck, track Temple work, and collaborate with other people who are also working on your same lines.  This session will help you get started with using the Tree.

#5. April 7 There are so many WEBSITES you need to know about, but you can’t get them all under your belt at once. We’ll examine various websites, mostly free, that can really help you advance your research depending on for whom, when, and where you are looking.  We’ll also look at the pricy websites FamilySearch offers to Church members for free through FamilySearch Partners, spending a bit of extra time on using

#6 April 14 Everybody seems to be INDEXING but you, or perhaps you tried once and ran away in horror!  Let us “de-horror”indexing for you.  In the process you’ll discover that it can be really fascinating but, oh, so rewarding, and it is a true boon to all genealogical researchers.  We’ll try some crowd-sourcing indexing to build confidence and be sure our questions are answered..

SERIES II, FALL 2018 WORKSHOPS - The topics are listed below. The specific dates, however, have not been set. Please check back here in mid-August for those dates.

#1. The FAMILY TREE in, Part 2.  This will be a somewhat advanced version of the same topic addressed in Series I.  Once you’ve spent some time in the Tree doing more than just the basic things, this is the session for you.  

#2. Do you have ancestors from ENGLAND and/or WALES?  Do you feel the need to “bite off” this new challenge?  In this session we’ll explore what you need to learn in order to “cross the pond” to Britain and understand what records are available and how to access them.

#3. Do you have GERMAN ancestors or ancestors from ALSACE-LORRAINE  (in Germany - or was that France? - the boundaries kept changing).  We’ll examine what you need to learn in order to begin your German research, and we’ll focus on how to access and use the records you need.

#4. Understanding Why DNA is important for genealogists.   This session will start at the beginning in understanding the relevance or DNA to your research, compare major commercial DNA analyses, and examine how to make use of your results.

#5. There are many aspects to ORGANIZING YOUR RESEARCH .  We’ll examine these and discuss why why you need a personal genealogical data base manager for your own home computer (with focus will be on Roots Magic).  Don’t run out and buy one,   We’ll get what you need for free.

#6. SEARCH STRATEGIES.  So now that you know lots of things about genealogy, how do you develop a search strategy that will allow you to achieve your goals, or, what do you do when you keep hitting dead ends?  We’ll discuss these issues and do a group project to explore good, better, and still better ways to move forward.  Then we’ll try a couple of friendly search competitions to see what we can learn from each other.



#1. To register for the SPRING, SERIES I Workshops, e-mail Jean Pry at at least 48 hours ahead of the time of the workshop.  If you want to do more than one workshop, you may tell her what those are at the same time.  She will notify you as to whether or not there is space available, so the earlier you register, the better.

#2. Registration for the FALL, SERIES II Workshops will be available sometime in mid-August.  E-mail Jean Pry (address above) if you wish to be notified when those dates are set and registration begins.  Alternatively, you will find the schedule on

a. on the tables by the doors to the chapels (orange color)

b. on the door of the Family History Center (stake center)

c. on the bulletin board in your building (orange color)

d. on the Family History Center’s website, which you can find easily by Googling “Columbia Missouri Family History Center.”

e. and in your Ward Bulletin closer to the time for the Fall Series to begin.

#3. Please do not bring food into the Family History Center.  Drinks must be in bottles with screw-on caps.

#4. The Family History Center is wi-fi connected and you are welcome to bring your personal laptop to the sessions.

Center Resources

Patrons will find 5 primary resources at the Columbia Family History Center.


We have a collection of general genealogy research books that are invaluable to the beginner who is trying to become familiar with period, place, and research strategies. We also have a small collection of books that focus on specific places (Germany, Virginia, etc.), record types (military, vital records), and a very useful collection of general reference books.We hold a collection (about 40 binders) of obituaries and cemetery records from Boone and surrounding counties, as well as newspaper clippings spanning several decades taken from the Columbia Tribune containing genealogically rich information. Currently, these records are somewhat fragile and unindexed. We are currently in the process of working out a system for entering our holdings into a searchable database that will be posted online.

Microfilms and Microfiche


Family History Microfilm Discontinuation

On September 1, 2017, FamilySearch will discontinue its microfilm distribution services. (The last day to order microfilm will be on August 31, 2017.)

The change is the result of significant progress made in FamilySearch’s microfilm digitization efforts and the obsolescence of microfilm technology.

• Online access to digital images of records allows FamilySearch to reach many more people, faster and more efficiently.

• FamilySearch is a global leader in historic records preservation and access, with billions of the world’s genealogical records in its collections.

• Over 1.5 million microfilms (ca. 1.5 billion images) have been digitized by FamilySearch, including the most requested collections based on microfilm loan records worldwide.

• The remaining microfilms should be digitized by the end of 2020, and all new records from its ongoing global efforts are already using digital camera equipment.

• Family history centers will continue to provide access to relevant technology, premium subscription services, and digital records, including restricted content not available at home.

Digital images of historical records can be accessed today in 3 places on under Search.

• Records include historical records indexed by name or organized with an image browse.

• Books include digital copies of books from the Family History Library and other libraries.

• Catalog includes a description of genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, etc.) in the FamilySearch collection.

Centers may continue to maintain microfilm collections already on loan from FamilySearch after microfilm ordering ends. Centers have the option to return microfilm that is available online or otherwise not needed. As more images are published online, centers may reevaluate whether to retain microfilm holdings.

Patrons' Microfiche Collection -- a collection of fiche ordered by our patrons, assorted titles. Contain family histories, vital records, and other types of information.

Indefinite Film Collection -- a collection of films on a variety of subjects, to include vital records, county records, court records, etc
Book Collection: --

For over a hundred years FamilySearch, historically known as the Genealogical Society of Utah, has been dedicated to preserving extant public records. They have photographed millions of relevant records (census, marriage, probate, deeds, military, etc.) and family histories. These, in turn, have been turned into microfilms which may be rented from Salt Lake City and which are shipped to Family History Centers for patrons to use.

We have a “permanent” collection of films and fiche to which patrons have immediate access. Among these is the Scottish Parochial Register. We also have some films that patrons have ordered in the past and which other patrons may use as well.

If the film or fiche a patron needs in not in our collection, it may be viewed at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Relevant films and fiche are identified by using the FamilySearch Catalog where one can search my place, surname, keywords, etc.

Computer Resources

From the Family History Center, patrons can access a variety of premium subscription websites. These are sites that an individual patron would otherwise have to subscribe to and which can be quite costly. The Church, however, has negotiated contracts with these providers that allow access to them without cost for Family History Center patrons in Family History Centers. These sites include:

  • 19th Century British Library Newspapers digital archive
  • Access Newspaper Archives
  • Alexander Street Press (American Civil War)
  • The Genealogist (UK)
  • Find My Past (UK)
  • Genline Family Finder (Swedish)
  • Godfrey Library
  • Heritage Quest Online (includes PERSI)
  • Historic Map Works
  • (formerly Footnote)
  • World Vital Records

We also have a variety of Church sponsored and non-Church sponsored websites on our desktop computers that many people don’t know about, and which we are happy to demonstrate.

In-House Resources

We offer these local records at our Family History Center:

Newspaper Records:
Obituaries from the Columbia Daily Tribune covering the years 1962, 1984 through 2013.
Obituaries from the Hannibal Courier Post from 22 Nov 1958-24 Aug 1959.
Obituaries & Births from the Bowling Green Times from 9 Oct 1958-28 Apr 1960 (plus 14 May 1959 Bowling Green High School graduation service w/senior class photos).
"People of the Past" columns from the Columbia Daily Tribune (early settlers to Boone County).
"Whatever Happened to?" columns from the Columbia Daily Tribune (early homes & businesses of Boone County, including family histories).
"People of Note?" columns from the Columbia Daily Tribune (early families & landmarks of Boone County, written by historian & newspaperman Francis Pike).

Funeral Home Records:
Parker's Funeral Home Records 1892-1925.
Parker's Funeral Home Records 1926-28 June 1960.

Cemetery Records:
Elmwood Cemetery, Mexico, Mo. (read Fall 1962).
Memorial Cemetery, Boone County, Mo. (read Summer 1982).
Howard County Cemetery Records (read approximately 1961-1963).
City of Centralia Cemetery & Glendale Memorial Gardens, Centralia, Mo. (Compiled from Evans & Thompson, Ellsberry, Gibson, obituaries).
Columbia Cemetery, Columbia, Mo. (by Elizabeth Prather Ellsberry 1963; rearranged in alpha order by E. Henry; corrections by Ruth Minner; addtns & corrections by Ruth Minner & Athelda Henry May, 1985.
Howard County Cemetery Records: Boonesboro, Friendship, Lewis, Mt. Gilead, Walnut Ridge, Washington Cemetery-Fayette, Washington Cemetery-Glasgow, Clark's Chapel-northwest of Boonville (copied various months of 1963).
Cole County Cemeteries by Members of Jefferson City Branch, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (read 1957-1960).
Boone County Cemeteries (read in 1980s).
Audrain County Cemeteries (copied in 1976).

Vital Records:
Boone County Marriages: Index A & Index B; Index 1872-1880; Book 1 (1900).
Howard County Marriages & Probate.
Audrain County Marriages 1836-1879 (listed by male last name).
Audrain County Marriages 1880-1890.
Hatton (Surname) & Willingham (Surname) Women Marriages.
Turner (Surname) & Toalson (Surname) Women Marriages.
Toalson, Turner & Willingham (Surnames) Men Marriages.
Howard County 1817 Taxpayers.


Who Can Help You Think About Your Quandary

We all get stuck in a rut from time to time and need some new ideas about how to pursue old research problems. Our staff can be very helpful in exploring other approaches to research with you. Perhaps we can think of something you haven’t. We’ll be happy to try!

Hardware and Equipment

  • 5 computers and printers
  • 4 microfilm readers
  • 2 microfiche readers
  • 1 microfilm/fiche reader printer
  • and 1 new (to us) digital film reader
  • 1 multi-function printer that will copy pages from books, etc.
  • 1 camera mount used for taking digital pictures from a microfilm reader
  • Instructional CD and DVDs
  • Wi-fi connected

Resources in the Local Area

Local libraries, archives, and societies have useful information about Missouri and Boone County. Some of these include:

  • Boone County Courthouse (for land, marriage, court, tax, and probate records from Boone County, Mo.)
  • The Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City.
  • Boone County Historical Society, 3801 Ponderosa Street, Columbia. They have a very useful museum and library that focuses on Missouri and Boone County history.
  • The State Historical Society of Missouri is located on the ground floor, east side, of Ellis Library on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia. They have a very significant newspaper collection from Missouri and a fine reference library.
  • Daniel Boone Regional Library corner of Boradway and Garth in Columbia, has books and resources of interest to Mid-Missouri researchers. One can search their catalog online.
  • Midwest Genealogy Center, a branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library, is located in Independence, Mo. It is a gem of a genealogy library and only 100 miles to the west. Visit their website at . One can search their catalog online.


The Missouri State Archives has been a national leader in scanning and digitizing records of value to genealogists. The program, called the Missouri Digital Heritage Collection, has a variety of records of historical and genealogical import. One of the most used is the The Missouri Death Certificate project, located at Missouri Digital State Archives

Volunteer at the Center

We are always looking for enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteer staff to work in the Center. The typical commitment is for a 3-hour/week shift. Staff must have an enthusiastic commitment to family history. Additionally, they must be comfortable using computers, have good interpersonal skills, and be willing to take the initiative to learn and ask questions. They must also be willing to abide by LDS Church standards while working in the Center.