Cardston Alberta Family History Centre

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

Centre Contacts and Hours

  • 138 - 4 AVE WEST, CARDSTON AB T0K 0K0 Canada
  • Building is located adjacent to Cardston High School parking lot (east of the high school)
    *Location on Map

Phone:  FHC: 403 653 3288     

Phone: 403 653 4056

FHC Hours:

  • Mon - Thur:   9am - 5pm
  • Wed Evening:  6:30pm - 9pm
  • Saturday: 9am - Noon
  • Sundays: Closed


Help for Patron Visits

Visits to the Center will be most successful by filling out the information you have on a "Family Group Sheet" and bringing it with you to the Center. We have "Family Group Sheets" available at the Center or the booklet entitled "My Family" may be purchased for $1.00 at the Cardston Distribution Center across the street from the Temple. The booklet has pages for short stories, pictures, personal data and a pedigree going back to great-grandparents.

Holiday Schedule for 2014

*  The Centre will be closed:  Saturday and Monday of Long Week-ends throughout the year.

 * It is also closed the first Saturday each year in April and October for General Conference broadcasts from Salt Lake. 


  •   The Centre will be closed on the following dates in 2014.

               * General Conference:       Saturday:                        April 05

               * Easter Weekend:            Saturday and Monday:     April 19 and 21

               * Victoria Day Weekend:    Saturday and Monday:     May 17 and 19

               * Canada Day:                  Tuesday:                          July 01

               * August Civic Weekend:   Saturday and Monday:     August 02 and 04

               * Labor Day Weekend:       Saturday and Monday:     August 30 and September 01

               * General Conference:       Saturday:                        October 04

               * Thanksgiving Weekend:  Saturday and Monday:     October 11 and 13

               * Remembrance Day:        Tuesday:                          November 11

               * Christmas Season:         Monday:                           December 01 - January 05, 2015


  •  The 2014 Summer Schedule will be as follows starting Monday, 02 June - Monday, 01 September.

              *  June:  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday:                9:00 am - Noon

                            Wednesday Evening:                                6:30 - 9:00 pm

              *  July and August: Tuesday and Wednesday:       9:00 am - Noon

                            Wednesday Evening:                                6:30 - 9:00 pm

Regular FHC schedule will commence after Labor Day on Tuesday, 02 September.


Calendar and Events


Indexing classes will be offered the first Thursday of each month from 7 - 8 pm at the Cardston Family History Centre, as long as there is enough interest in learning about indexing.  

Contact Kathy Selk 403 653 4269 or Lydia Beazer 403 653 3237 for information and registration.

Family History Classes:

Family History classes for the general public will be offered on a continuous rotation as long as there is interest and teachers available.  

Anyone in the community and surrounding area is welcome to attend the classes, as well as do personal family research during hours of operation.  Consultants are available on each shift to assist patrons.


"Family Tree" classes will be taught by Wayne and Sondra Smith on Tuesdays from 7-9 pm at the Cardston Family History Center.

"Family Tree" sessions will be offered in 4-week sessions.

The next "Family Tree" session will be Tuesdays: Apr 1, 8, 15, 22 from 7-9 pm.

"Family Tree" sessions will also be offered in May and June if there is enough interest.

Please contact Valorie Kapcsos for information and registration: 403 653 4056.


"RootsMagic" classes will be taught by Jennifer Griffiths on Thursdays at the Cardston Family History Center from 7-9 pm.

Please contact Valorie Kapcsos for information and registration: 403 653 4056.


"Beginner One-Hour Classes for FH'" will be held on 'Saturdays from 10-11 am.  Classes will be taught by Jerry and Connie May and are offered on the following dates.

February 15:          "Basic Computer Skills"

February 22:          "Organizing and Creating a Plan" 

March 1:                "Why Use a Research Log" 

March 8:                "Printing Temple Ordinance Cards" 

March 15:              "Family Tree Navigating for Beginners"

March 22:              "Putting Photos on Family Tree" 

March 29:              "Editing on Family Tree for Beginners" 

April 12:                 "Putting Sources from Internet onto Family Tree" 

April 26:                 "Beginning FamilySearch" 

May 3:                   "Deleting How and Why on Family Tree" 

May 10:                 "Merging on Family Tree" 

May 24:                 "Using Wiki" 

Class size limited to 10 people.  Will be a hands-on experience.

Please contact Corene Atwood for information and registration: 403 653 4376.


Please use a flashdrive to save your personal information while working on computers at the FHC.
Computers are wiped clean regularly of any personal information left on them, and your information will be lost.


The church discontinued any further support of the "Personal Ancestral File"  ("PAF") program on

15 July 2013.

Members are encouraged to use the online family history program "Family Tree" for recording their family histories and preparing names for temple ordinances.

For those who wish to keep a personal record on a home computer, the Family History Department has recommended three third-party programs that integrate with Family Tree - Ancestral Quest, Legacy or RootsMagic.

These programs are available for download in free and paid versions from the Internet. Ward Family History consultants and the staff at the Family History Centre are available to help you transfer your PAF files to one of these new programs of your choice.


Staff Training Meetings:

Staff meeting held the first Monday of each month:  5:15 - 6 pm at the FHC during the regular season.

Mini training lessons are usually held at each staff meeting.

Centre Resources


  • Family History Library Catalog: This centre has the ability to order any of the films and fiche available through the Family History Library Catalog.  However, the Church encourages patrons to order films and fiche from home computers.  Patrons are notified by email and telephone when these items are mailed from Salt Lake and arrive at the Cardston FHC.  Patrons may read the films at the FHC.

Databases and Software

  • FHC Portal This centre has access to the Family History Center Portal page which gives free access in the centre to premium family history software and websites that generally charge for subscriptions.
    • Databases & Software
  • Genealogy database software (Ancestral Quest, Family Insight, Legacy, RootsMagic)
  • Word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software such as OpenOffice 
  • Free access to several subscription sites through the FamilySearch Portal such as:
  • Access Newspaper Archive
  • Alexander Street Press - American Civil War
  • ArkivDigital (Swedish)
  • British Newspapers
  • Find-My-Past
  • (Footnote)
  • Genealogist
  • Heritage Quest Online
  • Historic Map Works
  • Paper Trail
  • World Vital Records.
  • Free internet access to the New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS) website 

           *  Hardware and Equipment    

       * 14 networked computers with printer access

  • 4 microfilm readers           
  • 1 microfiche reader
  • 2 computers set up with dual monitors 
  • Copy Machine

Multimedia Centre

Cardston Family History Centre has an area where you can work with equipment consisting of a computer, and printer.  :*Scan photos and transfer them to a flash drive or to a DVD. You can also make printed copies. Use the software to edit, enhance, correct, add to, or delete unwanted material from a photo-graph. Scan pictures and print them, or transfer them to your flash drive or DVD.

Centre Services

Staff Research Specialties

Resources in the Local Area

Cardston Public Library   25 - 3 Ave West  -   Phone Number: 403 653 4775

Cardston Historical Society visits by appointment.-  President: Noel Burt 403 653 3431 or Maxine Rogers: 403 653 2746


Group Activities

The Cardston Family History Centre offers the opportunity for individuals, organizations, and other groups to schedule a group visit to our Centre. We offer a variety of options that are sure to provide interest to your group - Youth, Adult, Church, Organization, Club, etc. Please review the following guide lines for scheduling a group visit.

Group Size

If you want a tour of the Centre, groups should be 10 or fewer to avoid distrubing other patrons who are working.  If you want to schedule a time for instruction, we have 2 options - Our large classroom has 13 computers and our smaller classroom has 1 computer and screen for group instruction where all patrons don't need a computer.

Reservation Procedure

Determine the date you would like to come by checking our Online Calendar for available dates.
Determine the goal for you visit. You may want to check the list of suggested activities below for ideas.
Call the Centre - 403 653 3288 or 403 653 4056 (Ron or Valorie Kapcsos) to reserve the date. 

Available Times

In order to use the Centre as efficiently as possible, we suggest the following times:
Evening group visits: Tue., Wed., and Thur. -- schedule appointments beginning at at 7:00 PM.


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


Copies of any documents found during your visit can be printed at the Centre for $0.10 each.

(B/W 81/2 "x 11").  Documents could also be scanned and saved to your flash drive.

Guidelines for a Successful and Rewarding Visit 

“ The Cardston Family History Centre computers have been recently updated and upgraded to allow patrons easier and enhanced access to many of the exciting new genealogy programs and websites provided by the Church Family History department.

Please DO NOT bring food or drink into the main computer area of the Center.

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.

LDS Account Registration:

Each LDS member of a group visiting the FHC needs to have an LDS Login Account BEFORE coming to the Centre.

Please log in to or another church account site to make sure their username and password are working. For members who don't have a current account, register for one prior to your visit. This may be done by going to and clicking on the Register for an LDS Account button on the right side of the screen and entering the necessary information, which includes their church membership number and birth date. The membership number is on the temple recommend or can be provided by their home 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 the Centre.

Suggested Activities at the Centre

While most of the activities below can be done at the Centre, we've also tried to give you the forms, websites, etc. needed so you could prepare these activities for your own groups - Youth groups, Family History classes, Relief Society mini classes, etc.          

Children 8-11

 Youth 12-18
Introduction to the Family History Centre:  A tour and overview of the Centre, including the resources, tools, equipment, computers, multimedia & oral history center available for use by our patrons. History Activities for Children: History Activities for Children:

Introduction to FamilySearch / Family Tree:  Finding an ancestor on FamilyTree, or doing research on FamilySearch, to locate historical documents about that ancestor and learn more about him/ her.  

To learn more about using Family Tree, Sign in to your account, click on Family Tree, click Get Started or View Training. View Training allows you to learn how to navigate on Family Tree.

Great preparation for Pioneer Trek
We use the 3 short videos - Steps 1, 2 & 3 found at allowing time after each for hands-on practice.

The Youth may also like to create a 9-generation Fan Chart in pdf format which they can save to a flash drive and get printed at a local print shop (our printers do not print large enough to make the chart readable). (Local drug stores or businesses may offer this service.) (Find an ancestor) View the video - Family History - Made Simple (2:19), excellent for children as well as adults. It ends with the suggestion to search
You could then view the video "Step 2 - Discover a Family Record" (2:23)

FamilySearch Website - A Great Place to Do Research

FamilySearch - More ways to search for ancestors

FamilySearch - Even more ways to search for ancestors

Introduction to Indexing - An overview of the why and how of indexing with hands-on practice.
Go to FamilySearch Indexing and take the 2 minute Test Drive (button in upper right).
Another good getting started video is FamilySearch Indexing Quick Start (5:49)
Youth may also enjoy the Indexing App for their phone or tablet.

Research Quick Start - A focused presentation demonstrating popular research websites to find specific information on your ancestors.'

Cemetery Scavenger Hunt - Find a Grave is an excellent research site where volunteers post information about their deceased ancestors in cemeteries around the world. You may find birth / death dates, tombstone pictures, links to other family members, photos and even biographical information.
This scavenger hunt type activity will help you learn how to use the site and inspire you to contribute as well.

Access is free at the Family History Centre

  • View video "Search for Historical Records on" (7:42 min.) stopping periodically to practice the techniques discussed.
  • Starting your own Database Begin by viewing the video - Family History - Made Simple (2:19)
  • Create a new database (Ask leader ahead of time, which program their group would like to use.)
  • Enter their own personal information.
  • View the video - Finding Easy Information (3:07) pausing after the memory section (1:18) and have them add their family members and information they know.
  • Open a new tab and View the video "Step 2 Discover a Family Record" (2:23)
  • Search for records about an ancestor on
  • Add the information they find to their database.
  • Continue the video - Finding Easy Information (at 1:19), then challenge them to go home and gather what records they can find and start interviewing relatives to learn more.
  • ______________________________________________________________________________________

Volunteer at the Centre 

We are always looking individuals who are experienced with family history and computers and could assist patrons who come to the Centre.  The commitment generally requires working one 4 hour day shift each week, or whatever the volunteer is able to contribute.  We also welcome youth who would are interested in family history and could assist patrons at the Centre from 1 to 4 hours at a time.