Tucson Arizona 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.
The Tucson Family History Center serves the Tucson area. Established in the 1980's, it houses a large collection of family histories and genealogy books donated by the Southern Arizona Genealogical Society and Pima County Library.

Tucson Family History Center.JPG

Center Contacts and Hours

Location & Map:

  • 500 S. Langley Ave., Tucson, AZ  85710-4834 United States
  • The free standing building is located on the north east side of the Tucson East Stake Center parking lot, south of Palo Verde Park.  There is ample parking and handicap accessibility.
  • Location Map

Phone: 520-298-0905

E-mail: az_tucson@ldsmail.net

Facebook: Search "Tucson Family History Center" on Facebook to join our group to receive updates and information on Center events.

Open Hours (note 2019 holiday and vacation schedule below):

  • Tuesday 10 am - 8 pm (if patrons are at the Center at 8 pm and want to keep working, we will remain open until 9 pm)
  • Wednesday 10am - 2 pm
  • Thursday 10 am - 8 pm (if patrons are at the Center at 8 pm and want to keep working, we will remain open until 9 pm)
  • Friday 10 am - 5 pm
  • Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
  • Closed: Sunday and Monday
  • Closed for Holidays 2019 -
    • Independence Day July 4 (Thursday)
    • Thanksgiving: November 26 through November 30
    • Christmas: December 24 through January 6 (reopen January 7, 2020)
  • Closed for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints General Conference - April 6 and October 5 (Saturdays)

Jewish Special Interest Group

A special interest group for those interested in Jewish Research meets every first Wednesday of the month from 3:00PM to 5:00PM at the Center. The group is facilitated by Moreen Ferdie. We usually meet as a group for education and sharing first and then move to the computers to do individual research. The group is open to anyone.

Family History Fair 2019 - Saturday, February 2, 2019

We had a very successful fair with around 300 people attending. A terrific Keynote presentation by genealogists Diana Elder and daughter Nicole Dyer set the tone for a great day of learning. Thank you to the fabulous presenters who volunteered much time and effort to make their classes informative and motivating. Thank you to all who attended the fair and shared feedback, which we will use to further improve the 2020 fair (likely to be held the first or second Saturday of February). We will leave the classes and links to handouts on this page for a few weeks and then all of this information will be found by going to the Past Events section of this Wiki page.

Fair Flyer

  • Click here for a copy of the Fair information flyer. Spanish version click here

Class Schedule

  • Click here for the one-page class schedule. Spanish version click here


8:30 to 9:20 - Keynote Address

GETTING ORGANIZED ONE PAPER AT A TIME - Are you the lucky recipient of your family's genealogy? Do you have a box, a barrel, or maybe even a suitcase full of letters, documents, photos, family group sheets, etc?  You are probably feeling overwhelmed with either joy or despair.  Go ahead and be ecstatic that you inherited priceless stuff.  Don't despair because you'll learn how to take care of your papers, one step at time. (Handout)

  • Presenters: Diana Elder AGⓇ is a professional genealogist and author. She is accredited in the Gulf South region of the United States and is the Presentation Specialist for The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen). Diana is the author of the bestselling book, Research Like a Pro: A Genealogists Guide  and creator of the “Research Like a Pro” study group and e-Course. Diana shares research tips on her website, Family Locket (http://familylocket.com/) and presents regularly at genealogy conferences.
  • Nicole Dyer has been researching her own family history for 16 years, and has recently begun researching for clients. She is the co-author of Research Like a Pro: A Genealogist's Guide and is a moderator for the Research Like a Pro Study Group. She lectures at RootsTech and other genealogy events. She is the publicity committee chair and steering committee member for the Pima County Genealogy Society and volunteers at the Tucson Family History Center teaching family history story-time to children.


9:30 to 10:30 - Classes

Merging and Correcting Errors in Family Tree (Handout) Presenter: Leonard Ingermanson has been searching for ancestors in Sweden and Finland for over twenty years, using all types of data collections. He has used and worked with FamilySearch Family Tree since its release in 2012, including working at Family Search Product Support in Salt Lake City, answering questions concerning Family Tree.

How to do Family History Research - This class will help show you how to get started with your family history research. The methods have stayed the same, even though we have been blessed with awesome technology. Come learn the tried and true steps that will get you off on the right foot. (Handout) Presenter: Pam Ingermanson has been doing family history for about 21 years. She and husband, Len, were the directors of the Tucson FHC for 7 years. They served two family history missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. She has taught classes on all aspects of the FamilySearch.org website since the website was launched in 1999. She has taught in Salt Lake and all over southern AZ.

Started with Genetic Genealogy (Beginner) - Learn how DNA testing can help you with your family tree research.  This class will discuss the various types of DNA tests, the main testing companies, and the rewards and risks of testing your DNA. (Handout) Presenter: Joey L. Caccarozzo is a trial attorney by day, and a speaker and researcher on nights and weekends, with a focus in DNA, Italian, Louisiana, Slovak, and Ukrainian studies.  She is currently pursuing her Italian genealogy certificate through the National Institute of Genealogy Studies.

German Research - This class will be a quick start to German Research, including how to find the place of origin, emigration/immigration and naturalization, church records, civil registration, maps, and Internet sources. (Handout) Presenter: Steve Packer began his service with the Mesa Regional Family History Center in December 2007.  He also volunteers at the Banner Health Care System working at the Baywood Medical Center. He was introduced to Genealogy by his father who in the 1970's researched the Packer family and contributed to a book that was published in 1988 on the English Packers. (Detailed Biography)

Cluing In to Census Records - Census records are the basis of United States research. Have you discovered all of the clues that can be found in each enumeration? Learn how to make the most of this valuable resource and find the information that will lead to you even more discoveries. (Handout) Presenter: Diana Elder (see background above under Keynote Address)

Lunacy, Litigation, and Love Gone Bad - Oh My, What You Won't Find in the Courthouse - Official county records are a rich source of genealogical and family history.  This course will acquaint you with the types and locations of these records.  Judge Walter’s vast experience working in courthouses throughout the state of Ohio will help the participants in this course to navigate this seemingly complex and sometimes intimidating research source. (Handout) Presenter: Sumner Walters has been working on his own family history for more than 50 years, and has recently been accepting clients professionally.  A retired Ohio state court judge, he is intimately versed in genealogical research within the public records that exist in county court houses throughout the country.  He is currently President of the Green Valley Genealogical Society, and teaches DNA/Genetic Genealogy and Beginning Genealogy, through both the Society and the community.

Researching Civil War Soldiers and Pensions - Many records are created during conflicts. If your ancestors participated in the Civil War, you may be able to find several original sources about their service. Learn about the Compiled Military Service Records, Federal Pensions, Confederate pensions (granted by individual states), and other records that can help you learn about Civil War soldiers. (Handout) Presenter: Nicole Dyer (see background above under Keynote Address)


10:45 to 11:45 - Classes

FamilySearch Family Tree: Adding Source Records from Internet Sites - (Handout) Presenter: Leonard Ingermanson (see background above under Merging and Correcting Errors in FamilySearch Family Tree)

Introduction to FamilySearch - This is one of 4 classes centered on the FamilySearch.org website. This class is an overview showing all the features of this FREE and amazing website. (Handout) Presenter: Pam Ingermanson (see background above under How to do Family History Research)

Getting the Most Out of Your DNA Results (Advanced) - This presentation will give a brief overview of several third-party tools you can use to understand, sort, organize, and analyze your DNA results.  In this session, the most popular sites will be covered including GEDMatch, DNAGedcom, Genome Mate, DNA Painter, and Genetic Affair's new AutoCluster tool. (Handout) Presenter: Joey L. Caccarozzo (see background above under Getting Started with Genetic Genealogy)

British and Welsh Research - (Handout) (Handout) (Handout) Please also refer to this 2018 handout for a more comprehensive list of websites. Presenter: Jeri Martinez

Research Logs: The Key to Organizing Your Family History - Are you ready to take your Family History efforts to the next level and actually get organized? Do you sometimes feel like you have spent the last hour of “research” mindlessly surfing the web looking for records of your family but you have no idea where you’ve been and what you’ve found? You might be ready to put some order into your research! Learn about the different kinds of research logs then try your hand at using one. (Handout) Presenter: Diana Elder (see background above under Keynote Address)

Google: Beyond the Search Button

  • Presenter: Amy Urman

Doing a Genealogy Project from Start to Finish - Do you feel overwhelmed by the never-ending nature of your genealogy research? Dividing research into finite projects can help. We’ll review the basic genealogy research process and how to stay on track during your project. Use a research project template with sections for objective, research plan, locality information, and more. (Handout) Presenter: Nicole Dyer (see background above under Keynote Address)


12:30 to 1:30 - Classes

FamilySearch Family Tree Questions and Answers - This will be an open forum for answering individual questions about FamilySearch Family Tree. See the handout for information you will need to bring to class to help answer your questions. (Handout) Presenter: Leonard Ingermanson (see background above under Merging and Correcting Errors in FamilySearch Family Tree)

FamilySearch - Searching Records -  This is one of 4 classes centered on the FamilySearch.org website. Learn how to find, search and use the millions of records (mostly digital images of original records) found, for FREE, at Familysearch.org. (Handout) Presenter: Pam Ingermanson (see background above under How to do Family History Research)

All About Ancestry.com DNA - Just received your DNA results from Ancestry and want to know what to do next? Did you take the DNA test for your ethnicity results and not sure what else is available? Or perhaps you are thinking about DNA testing, and want to know more about what happens afterwards?  This class will show you how to maximize what you can get from Ancestry, along with a few new tips for current users. (Handout)(Handout) Presenter: Kathleen Carter is an instructor for the Pima County Genealogy Society’s “Genetic Genealogy in Practice” Study Group. She enjoys helping people to discover their ancestors and reaffirm family stories.  Kathleen is a member of the Pima County Genealogy Society, New England Historical Genealogical Society, National Genealogical Society, and the Association of Professional Genealogists. Her specialties include Genetic Genealogy, and New England and Nova Scotia research.

Resources for Eastern European Research - The countries of Eastern Europe cover a large geographic area, and countries vary depending on what definition you are reading. This is due to the term “Eastern European” having a wide range of geographical, cultural, geopolitical and socioeconomic viewpoints. We will look at various countries that are considered culturally and geographically in Eastern Europe. We will learn resources both on the internet, as well as books, maps, etc., that can be used to learn more about our Eastern European ancestors. On the internet we will look at some websites and databases one can use to find records of their Eastern European ancestors. (Handout) Presenter: Moreen Ferdie, PLCGS, is a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Moreen has been researching her family history for a number of years. She currently runs the Tucson Family History Center Jewish Special Interest Group, and volunteers two afternoons a week at the center.

Strategies to Use When You Hit a Roadblock - When you hit a roadblock in your genealogy research, how can you find what you need to make progress? Discover how to stick to a research process, analyze clues, use the FamilySearch Catalog to identify new records to search, gather hints from DNA cousin matches, and locate sources that are only available on-site. (Handout) Presenter: Nicole Dyer (see background above under Keynote Address)

Genealogy and the Laws - (Handout)

  • Presenter: Amy Urman

Finding Your Family in Probate Records - An overview of the probate process including discussions around probate terminology, the basic flow of a probate case, how women and children fit historically into the probate process, the various types of documents found in probate files, and the clues to be gleaned from researching probate documents. (Handout) Presenter: Jodi Lynn Strait has been doing genealogical research for over 20 years. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Chinkchewunska, New Jersey, chapter of the DAR. She completed the NGS home study course and is a certificate holder of Boston University's Genealogical Research Program.


1:45 to 2:45 - Classes

Secrets to Successful Ancestry.com Searches - Ancestry.com is the most popular website for genealogy research. However, the sheer amount of data can make searching for your ancestors seem daunting. This class will help you navigate the records more efficiently and offer suggestions for maximizing your online research experience. (Handout) Presenter: Sherri Hessick has over 20 years of experience as a genealogy lecturer, writer, and researcher. She volunteers at the Tucson Family History Center, teaches several classes at the annual Tucson Family History Fair, and has been a guest speaker at several local genealogy clubs. Sherri serves on the Board for PCGS and is the society’s Web manager and Blogger. She holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and is a member of the DAR.

FamilySearch - Using the Wiki - This is one of 4 classes centered on the FamilySearch.org website. The Research Wiki is probably the best kept secret on the FamilySearch.org website. A FREE, online genealogy and family history guide that lists websites, provides research strategies, and suggests records and resources to help you find ancestors from all over the world. (Handout) Presenter: Pam Ingermanson (see background above under How to do Family History Research)

Y-DNA - Explore your father’s father’s line…. How does Y-DNA work? When should you consider a Y-DNA test? What do the test results look like? Who should you test? And what can it do for your genealogy research? This class will answer your questions about Y-DNA so you can use it to obtain the best results. (Handout) Presenter: Kathleen Carter (see background above under All About Ancestry.com DNA)

The Ins and Outs of Newspaper Research - Newspapers are a great source of family history details. Newspapers give facts and tell stories of our ancestor’s lives. We will learn some tips and tricks to searching newspapers, briefly cover what different facts one can learn about their ancestors in newspapers, and look at a number of newspaper websites and databases (including how to effectively search them). (Handout) Presenter: Moreen Ferdie, PLGCS (see background above under Resources for Eastern European Research)

Location, Location, Location: Putting Your Ancestors in Their Place - Do you have a difficult ancestor? One that just won’t stay put in one place? Are records difficult to find in the location you finally have him pinpointed? Have you been more interested in finding names and dates than discovering the what, where, and why of your family? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, maybe it’s time to take a step back from searching for specific records and put your ancestors in their place. (Handout) Presenter: Diana Elder (see background above under Keynote Address)

Finding the Living

  • Presenter: Amy Urman

Analyzing Documents: What Does the Document Tell Us - A four step process will be explained that will help you analyze all the information contained in a document. (Handout) Presenter: Leslie Carney is a Professional Genealogist specializing in Southwestern United States, including Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Native American Indian, and Sonora Mexico. She has been researching since 1992 and is experienced in researching and documenting family history in various repositories and archives. She is a speaker and lecturer who enjoys educating others and promoting interest in genealogy.


3:00 to 4:00 - Classes

The Family History Guide (thefhguide.com) - The Family History Guide is a "game-changing, must-use" resource for family history researchers, from beginners to experts. We'll go over the vast amount of information and resources in the Guide and demonstrate its value for everyone, no matter where they are in their family history discovery journey. No more Googling topics like "British Genealogy" and sorting through 130,000 websites! (Handout)(Handout 30 Things to See)(Handout 100 Questions) Presenter: Bob Black volunteered for three years at the Tucson Family History Center before becoming the Center director in 2014. He is a trainer for thefhguide.com and often presents to community groups on Center resources, FamilySearch.org, The Family History Guide, and other general family history topics. He is a member of the Pima County Genealogy Society steering committee.

Adding Memories to FamilySearch Family Tree - This is one of 4 classes centered on the FamilySearch.org website. Learn how to upload stories, pictures, documents, and audio files that will help you preserve memories to be shared for generations to come. (Handout) Presenter: Pam Ingermanson (see background above under How to do Family History Research)

Mitochondrial DNA - Explore your mother’s mother’s line…. How does mtDNA work? When should you consider a mtDNA test? What do the test results look like? Who should you test? And what can it do for your genealogy research? This class will answer your questions about mtDNA so you can use it to obtain the best results. (Handout) Presenter: Kathleen Carter (see background above under All About Ancestry.com DNA)

Where to Find Records for Your Jewish Ancestors - Genealogists researching their Jewish ancestors find many online websites/databases to search. Some of these websites/databases are specifically for Jewish research (ex. JewishGen, Yad Vashem, etc), and others are for all denominations (ex. Ancestry, Family Search, Fold 3, My Heritage, etc). During this presentation we will look at some of these websites/databases and learn how to search them effectively, with step by step directions on how to find specifically Jewish ancestors. We will look at the ones already listed above plus many other online websites/databases. (Handout) Presenter: Moreen Ferdie, PLGCS - (see background above under Resources for Eastern European Research)

The FamilySearch Catalog: A Researcher's Best Friend - Where can you find the answer to your difficult research problem? It might be hidden in one of the databases on FamilySearch. Learn tips and tricks to locate records for your ancestor using the online FamilySearch Catalog. (Handout) Presenter: Diana Elder (see background above under Keynote Address)

Paper Trail of Death

  • Presenter: Amy Urman

What Websites are Available for Your Swedish Research? - (Handout) Presenter: Leonard Ingermanson (see background above under Merging and Correcting Errors in FamilySearch Family Tree)


The Family History Guide

Go to www.thefhguide.com for a free learning, resource, and training center for family history/genealogy.

The Family History Guide Mission Statement: "Our mission is to greatly increase the number of people actively involved in family history worldwide, and to make everyone's family history journey easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable."

Here are some of the unique features you'll find on the site:

  • Over 1,200 Goals for learning, supported by over 2,300 flexible Choices
  • Step-by-step instructions to make learning easier
  • Instructions on how to access and use FamilySearch, Ancestry, Find-My-Past, and MyHeritage
  • Links to over 2,400 videos and articles from FamilySearch, Ancestry, and more
  • QUIKLinks that take you to record searches from multiple sources, with a single click
  • A Vault full of additional resources not included in the learning goals
  • Project Tracker sheets and Training materials for self-study or group instruction
  • Family history resources for families, youth, and children
  • Extensive information for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints member interests

Brigham Young University Family History Technology Lab

The BYU family history technology lab (click here) has links to several innovative programs to research, visualize, and play games with ancestor information in your personal FamilySearch.org family tree.

Past events

Family History Fair 2019 - Click here for the list of courses and links to class handouts

Family History Fair 2018 - Click here for the list of courses and links to class handouts

Family History Fair 2017 - Click here for the list of courses and links to class handouts.

Family History Fair 2016 - Click here for the list of courses and links to class handouts.

Family History Fair 2015 - Click here for the list of courses and links to class handouts.

Family History Fair 2014 - Click here for the list of courses and links to class handouts.

Family History Fair 2013 - Click here for the list of courses and links to class handouts.

Center Resources

Arizonatucsonfhc.jpg

Collections 

  • The Cox Collection: This microfilm collection contains copies of US county histories published in newspapers in the 1875-1900 period, as well as city directories for major cities of the time.
  • Tucson FHC catalog Several thousand donated books, film and fiche as well as webinars are part of our holdings.This User guide explains how to search it. Be sure to "Search" the "Catalog" in FamilySearch.org as we are transitioning our catalog of holdings to that catalog. Many of our books are found in the FamilySearch catalog and our internal catalog, but some are only found in one of the two catalogs.
  • 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.  Websites available are:
    • 19th Century British Library Newspaper Digital Archive 
    • Alexander Street Press - The American Civil War: Research Database, Letters and Diaries, Images and Photographs
    • Alexander Street Press - Social and Cultural History: Women and Social Movements in the United States
    • American Ancestors (New England Historic and Genealogical Society)
    • Ancestry - Institutional Versions: US, Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom
    • ArkivDigital Online - Swedish church records
    • FamilySearch Discovery Experiences
    • FamNet
    • Find My Past (UK) - Institutional Version
    • Fold3 (military records)
    • The Genealogist - Gold-Level Subscription
    • Geneanet
    • Kinpoint - Premium
    • MyHeritage / World Vital Records (all content has been added to MyHeritage.com) - Library Edition
    • Newspaper Archive
    • Paper Trail
    • Puzzilla - Premium Services
    • Scottish Records (DOS program version)
    • (See "Additional Computer Resources" below for more premium subscriptions available only at the Tucson Family History Center)

Periodicals and Magazines

  • Internet Genealogy
  • NGS quarterly
  • American Ancestors (NEHGS online magazine)

Computer Software Programs and Resources

We  have deluxe versions of the following genealogy management software for you to "test drive."

  • Legacy 9
  • Roots Magic 6 and 7 (software programs that interact with Family Search and My Heritage)
  • Ancestral Quest 15

Additional computer resources include:

  • Genealogy Bank (the Center has a paid subscription for patron use)
  • NEW Newspapers.com Publisher Extra edition (the Center has a paid subscription for patron use)
  • American Ancestors Institutional edition (the Center has a paid subscription for patron use)
  • Family Tree Maker disks (some--check catalog)
  • Some Pedigree Resource File disks
  • PAF 4 and PAF 5

Family Search Compatible and Verified Programs

  • Many interesting and helpful programs that tie to information in Family Search can be found at FamilySearch.org/solutionsgallery

Hardware and Equipment

  • Eleven (11) patron use computers with free access to the premium sites listed above
  • Microfilm digital copier - copy microfilm/microfiche images to flash drive
  • Scan pictures and documents directly to FamilySearch Memories
  • NEW Photo Scanning System: scan up to 85 photos per minute at 300 dpi, flatbed scanner will separate multiple photos on one page (such as photo album or scrapbook pages), and 'auto correct' can bring pictures back to life

Center Services

Individual Consulting

  • Center staff are available for personal consulting with no appointment needed and at no cost

Staff Research Specialties 

  • British Isles: Saturday, 10am - 2pm
  • US: Thursday, 10am - 2pm
  • Other specialty times and languages available; send your request to az_tucson@ldsmail.net

Presentations

  • Center staff are available for presentations to community and religious groups. Please send an email to the address above with your request. There is no charge for such presentations.

Volunteer at the Center

  • Community volunteers with an interest in family history, a desire to serve others, and are willing to commit to a weekly or bi-weekly shift for at least one to two years are invited to join our staff.  Training will be provided.  Contact the center through our email or phone number at the top of this page for specific opportunities that fit your schedule.