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Gardendale Alabama Family History Center

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FamilySearch This article describes the services and resources available at a Family History Center, a branch facility of the Family History Library.

Gardendale Alabama Family History Center

The Gardendale Family History Center welcomes you, and we look forward to assisting you with your genealogical research. We provide access to digitized records, and genealogical websites. Our all-volunteer staff is ready to answer questions about the resources available in the FHC and give limited research guidance.There is no charge for using the facility.

We don’t do your genealogy for you but will gladly assist in answering your questions and provide any needed instruction such as how to download pictures,stories,documents, how to add resources from Ancestry and other sites to Family Search., Teach you about new features and new programs.

                                                                                                 Ward Temple and Family History Consultant-Bro. Rick Williams

Gardendale FHC

Center Contacts and Hours[edit | edit source]

  • Address: 1923 Mt Olive Blvd Gardendale, AL 35071
  • Phone: 205-607-7368

Open Hours:

  • Open by Appointment Only.
  • For Appt - Call Sis. Eveyn Baldwin -Ward Temple and Family History Consultant 205-607-7368 - New Member Family History, Basic and Intermediate Family History, and Irish Family History.
  • Bro. Rick Williams Ward Temple and Family History Consultant 205-223-8041-Family Search, Ancestry,Roots Magic, and Google Advanced Researcher.

Holiday Schedule:

We occasionally Close due to Inclement Weather or Illness. Closed All Major Holidays. Closed Thanksgiving week. Closed last two weeks in December for Christmas and New Year. Closed on Saturday and Sunday for April and October for General Conference.

Using Family History Center[edit | edit source]


  • Adults accompanying youth groups should prepare to actively participate with their youth.
  • Local temple and family history consultants are an excellent resource to bring with your group and will provide continuity after your visit.


  • Copies of any documents found during your visit can be printed at the Center . (B/W 8"x11").
  • Documents could also be scanned and saved to your flash drive.

Guidelines for a Successful and Rewarding Visit

  • Please DO NOT bring food or drink to the Center.
  • Church Account Registration: Each member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of the group needs to have an Church Login Account BEFORE coming to the Center. Please have them log into or another church account site to make sure their username and password are working. For members who don't have a current account, have them register for one prior to your visit. They can do this by going to and clicking on the Register for an Church Account button on the right side of the screen and entering the necessary information, which includes their church membership number and birth date. Their membership number is on their temple recommend or can be provided by their ward clerk.
  • Personal Family History Information: Except for Indexing visits, please have everyone bring a personal Pedigree Chart with as much family information as possible.
  • Specific Goal or Objective to Accomplish: Each group should have an idea or goal, before they arrive, of what they would like to accomplish during the visit to our Center.
  • Patrons may bring their personal computers for note taking or entering information into personal genealogical programs. Wireless Internet access is available.
  • Patrons may bring memory sticks to download information or copies.

Center Resources[edit | edit source]

Collections[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch Catalog:
Book Collection: --

Databases and Software[edit | edit source]

  • FHC Portal This center has access to the Family History Center Portal page which gives free access in the center to premium family history software and websites that generally charge for subscriptions.
Research Data: Contains indexed, searchable information on over 4 million soldiers and thousands of battles, together with 15,000 photographs. ◦Letters and Diaries: Contains approximately 100,000 indexed pages of diaries, letters, and memoirs, including 4,000 pages of previously unpublished manuscripts, such as the letters of Amos Wood and his wife and the diary of Maryland planter William Claytor. Images, Photographs, Posters, and Ephemera: Provides a vivid history of the American Civil War with over 1,400 images.
  • Access Newspaper Archives - is the world's largest online newspaper archive. Featuring billions of articles from historical newspapers around the U.S. and the world, NewspaperARCHIVE makes exploring history and genealogy easy and fun. Discover fascinating news in archived newspapers hundreds of years old—including obituaries, birth announcements, sports articles, comics, and more—to fill in the life stories you are interested in. And share those stories with others through our community at Our NewspaperARCHIVE. All of our historical newspapers are full-page and fully searchable. Try exploring above, and discover your history today!
  • Ancestry Institutional version – Ancestry gives you access to thousands of collections of records from around the world, including immigration, census, voter, vital, and military records; newspapers and periodicals; family trees; photos and images; directories, maps, court, land, wills and financial records, stories, memories, and histories; and detailed records about births, marriages, deaths, land ownership, and much more. It is the largest for-profit genealogy company in the world.
  • Arkivdigital – is the largest private provider of Swedish Church Records and other historical records online! All images are newly photographed color images of the original documents.
  • Findmypast – makes it easy to research your UK ancestry and create your family tree. Search census records and trace births, marriages, and deaths to bring your family history to life.
1911 British Census (accessed through the Find My Past website) – The 1911 UK Census is a record of everyone who lived in England and Wales in 1911. It provides a unique snapshot of the lives of those who lived at that time. Note: Some parts of Find My Past access may be limited due to negotiations (23 Oct 2013).
  • Fold3 (formerly – Search or browse millions of historical documents and photos. Fold3 has refocused their efforts on gathering the best online collection of military records and stories. The Fold3 name reflects military history and honor, since traditionally, the third fold in a flag-folding ceremony honors and remembers veterans for their sacrifice in defending their country and promoting peace in the world.
  • Genline - English parish records, directories, census, civil registration, surname mapping, and selected army and navy lists.
  • Godfrey Library The Godfrey Library’s collection consists of over 200,000 books and periodicals including biographies, genealogies, state and local histories, city directories, cemetery and funeral records, church records military histories, newspapers and family bibles. The capstone of our collection is the American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI), an index of more than 4 million names from the more than 800 books in our original collection and the Boston Transcript genealogy query column.
The majority of the library’s material is focused on New England families and history, but there are a great deal of books and periodicals relevant to those researching other states as well as internationally.
  • Heritage Quest Online Heritage Quest Online database is a collection of material for both genealogical and historical researchers, with coverage dating back to the late 1700s. Researchers can use HeritageQuest Online to find their ancestors, trace their paths across America, and learn what life was like in the areas where they settled. Searches include:
  • Census: Find ancestors in the complete set of U.S. federal census images from 1790 to 1930, including name indexes for many years.
Books: Find information on people and places described in over 24,000 family and local histories.
PERSI Periodical Source Index™: Find information about people and places from this index of over 2 million genealogy and local history articles, updated annually.
Revolutionary War: Search selected records from the Revolutionary War Era Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files.
Freedman’s Bank: Search for individuals in Freedman’s Bank (1865-1874), which was founded to serve African Americans. Includes a name index and images for bank depositors and their dependents and heirs.
U.S. Serial Set: Search the Memorials, Petitions, and Private Relief Actions of the U.S. Congress in the LexisNexis® U.S. Serial Set.
  • Historic Map Works™ Historic Map Works™ Library Edition is one of the most extensive digital map collections available, with over 470,000 high-resolution, full color historic and antique maps. The core of the collection consists of cadastral (property and land ownership) maps illustrating the geographic and development history of the United States and also includes illustrations, city directories, and more. This unique content allows genealogists, historians, and academic researchers to track the "residential genealogy" of families and locations.
  • Origins Features comprehensive and exclusive British and Irish record collections dating back to the 13th century, as well as rare and unique photos and books to browse.
  • Paper-Trail Provides access to 19th-century westward American migration documents.
  • World Vital Records - Over 158 million digitized images, including US and UK Censuses. Over 300 million names from birth, marriage and death records. Over 75 million names from military records. Over 100 million pages of newspapers, 1739 to present. One of world's largest historical map collections with 1.5 million maps. More than 8,000 high school, college and military yearbooks. More than 30 million tombstone photos.

Learning Resources[edit | edit source]

Library Resources[edit | edit source]

Class/Training Rooms

Family History Library-Main room with computers.
HP Group Room next to Family History Library for Instruction.

Patron Equipment Resources[edit | edit source]

We are a Computer Only Family History Center. We do not order microfilms. All computers are on high speed internet.

  • 2 Computers, and 1 Copier/Printer/Scanner

Patron Software Resources[edit | edit source]

This software is on our computers. This allows the patron to use with a flash drive, or for training or for evaluation. These programs are also compatible with FamilySearch Family Tree.

  • Ancestral Quest - Ancestral Quest is the modern version of the old Personal Ancestral File (PAF). Ancestral Quest Basics is available for FREE download. The free basic version is a full genealogical program with some of the AQ special print & web features turned off.
  • Roots Magic- Roots Magic has a basic version called Roots Magic Essentials and it is available as a FREE download.
  • Legacy- Legacy has a basic version called the Legacy Standard Edition and it is available as a FREE download.
  • Personal Ancestral File (PAF) - FREE - multi-language versions available. While this program is no longer supported by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is still popular and robust. It can be down loaded from various locations on line. Care is needed to download the free product only and not other products.

Youth Program Assistance[edit | edit source]

Youth Temple and Family History Consultant Training 

Young Women Personal Progress- You have a noble responsibility to use your strength and influence for good. Let us help you achieve your Personal Progress goals. Faith Value Project: Take a family history class at the Family History Center, and collect stories of your relatives or others who have demonstrated faith. You may also interview family members or others and record their names.
See also: Personal Progress Award.

Remind the youth to bring with them for their hands-on visit

  • Their Church Account user name and password
  • A filled-in pedigree chart OR the name, birth date and birthplace of an ancestor who was born before 1901.
  • Paper and pencil/pen for taking notes of information found.

Duty to God - The Duty to God Certificate Requirements (by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints):
Deacon - Family Activities:
4. Keep a written record of your family history. Ask a parent or the ward temple and family history consultant to help you prepare a 4-generation pedigree chart.
Priest - Family Activities:
9. Submit the names of one of your ancestors for temple work or write a 500-word personal history.
See also: Duty to God Award.

BSA[edit | edit source]

Boy Scout Merit Badge in Genealogy - We can help you accomplish your BSA goals for this merit badge.

Requirements to be completed before coming to the library:
  • Contact a family member by telephone, e-mail or letter, and interview them about their life. Ask about events that have occurred and where they happened. Record the information you learn and bring this information to the workshop.
  • Complete a pedigree chart. Click here for a .pdf fill-in pedigree chart. The information can also be handwritten. List yourself and at least two additional generations. Bring this information to the workshop.
  • Complete two family group sheets, one listing your parents and all of the children in your family, and another listing one of your parents and their siblings in a family group with your grandparents.Click here for a .pdf fill-in family group sheet. The information can also be handwritten. Bring this information to the workshop.
  • Please also bring the name of an ancestor or relative who was alive in 1940.
  • List 8 to ten important events in your life (time line) and bring the list to the workshop.
  • Using your time line, write a short autobiography of your life and bring it to the workshop.
If Scouts complete the items above before coming to the library, and bring their documents with them, they will be able to complete the following requirements at the library, and have authorized personnel certify the completion of their merit badge requirements.
Requirements to be completed at the library:
  • Define the terms "genealogy," "ancestor," and "descendant."
  • Name three types of genealogical records and explain how they help you chart your family tree. Obtain one genealogical document that supports your family tree and evaluate this information.
  • Contact a genealogical repository.
  • Explain the effects of computers and the internet on genealogy. Explain how photography and microfilm have influenced genealogy.
  • Discuss what you have learned about your family through your genealogical research.
Genealogy Merit Badge Resources

Center Services[edit | edit source]

Resources in the Local Area[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers

Birmingham Alabama Family History Center
(Largest FHC in Birmingham Stake)
2780 Altadena Road
Birmingham, AL 35243-4537
1 205-967-7279

Repositories with very large genealogical collections

Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Local History and Genealogy Reading Room is part of the world's largest library including 50,000 genealogies, 100,000 local histories, and collections of manuscripts, microfilms, maps, newspapers, photographs, and published material, strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources.

National Archives, Washington DC, census, pre-WWI military service & pensions, passenger lists, naturalizations, passports, federal bounty land, homesteads, bankruptcy, ethnic sources, prisons, and federal employees.

Allen County Public Library (Indiana) home of the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), more than 350,000 printed books and 513,000 items of microfilm/fiche including family histories, censuses, city directories, passenger lists, military records, local histories, American Indians, African Americans, Canadian, British, & German collections.

Training Resources

American Ancestors - Online Seminars
Ancestral Quest - Tutorials -Learning Center
BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy
FamilySearch - Learning Center
FamilySearch - Wiki
Granite Genealogy - Training
Indexing Helps
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsTemple & Family History Training - Starting place for Ward Temple and Family History Consultants and Priesthood Leaders.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Youth and Family History Training
Latter-day Saint Ancestry Tracing Latter-day Saint Ancestors
Legacy Family Tree - Training

RootsMagic Learning Center

Links[edit | edit source]

Volunteer at the Center[edit | edit source]

We welcome volunteers from the community to help serve in the Family History Center. It's a great way to help others and to learn by doing. You need not be an expert. Ability to use a computer and willingness to become familiar with the FamilySearch website and resources are key. Contact the Stake TFH Consultant - Center at: