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     

Hours for Jan- May 2019

  • Monday - Thursday 9:00 - 5:00 Friday 12:00 - 3:00 {Youth Program} Saturday - Closed
  • Private appointments can be made through Linn or Darla Jensen at 403 653 3314 {H} or cell 403 929 1089
  • If you want to make private bookings you should have your own consultants to assist in research
  • June Monday - Wednesday 9:00 - 12:00
  • July and August Tuesday and Wednesday 9:00 - 12:00 By Appointment
  • Holiday Schedule for 2019 *  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 2019
    • All statutory holidays
    • General Conference
    • Dec 6 2019 - Jan 6 2020

FHC Calendar: Click Here to open the FHC Calendar

Reservation Procedure

Determine the date you would like to come by checking our Online Calendar for available dates.
Determine the goal for your visit. You may want to check the list of suggested activities in the "Links" section below for ideas.

Review the FHC Booking Guidelines below.

Click the link below to book a time or you may call the Centre - 403 653 3288 or 403 653 3314 Linn or Darla Jensen to reserve the date. 

Book the FHC Centre for your Group or Activity by Clicking Here

FHC Booking Guidelines:

Book online at this website - see link above

Facebook page link - Cardston Family History Center News

Phone the FHC at 403-653-3288

Sundays may be used for instruction and booking.

Monday nights can be booked by families for family home evening as long as staff are not called on to leave their own family home evenings to participate. 

Tuesday and Wednesday evenings are available for bookings on a first come first serve basis, however, a ward is only allowed to schedule one night per month. If we have enough demand then we could split the evenings into 2 shifts, 6:00-8:00 and then 8:00-10:00 allowing additional shifts in a month.

Thursday nights will be reserved for classes and stake training.

Friday nights and Saturdays are available for bookings and have been very successfully used for socials involving Elders Quorums or Auxiliaries wanting to do research and combine a fun activity with it.

If a group wishes to book the centre more than once a month, it is possible if the time they desire is not booked 2 days prior to the desired time.

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 guidelines for scheduling a group visit.

See ideas for Group bookings below under LINKS

Help for Patron Visits

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

FHC Classes  

Family History Centre Classes - Thursdays from 7:00-9:00

Class Registration - Click Here to Register Online see outline of each class below

Family History Classes for 2019

Please check the class outlines to help you find the right class for your needs.  

Family Tree – How to Sign in and Navigation

1) Sign in to FamilySearch

2) Change the zoom level on the screen

3) Expand and contract family lines

4) Use alternate views to see your ancestors. (fan chart etc.)

Family Tree – How to view details about direct-line ancestors    

1) Open a summary card for an ancestor

2) Open the Person page for an ancestor

-view children and spouse(s) for an ancestor

3) Place an ancestor as the first person in the Family Tree View

4) Use the “Recents” menu to choose a person for the first-position view

5) Produce a pedigree for the person in the first position

6) Produce a family group sheet for an ancestor

7) Use the Time Line to see historical events for an ancestor

Family Tree – Editing Family Information for an Ancestor

1) Update vital information

2) Update marriage information for a couple

3) See changes that others have made to an ancestor’s record

4) Use the Watch List to be notified when others make changes for an ancestor

5) Correct data problems in your family tree information

Family Tree – Adding Missing Ancestors to your tree

1) Adding missing ancestors to your tree

2) Adding missing children for your ancestors

3) Add unconnected people to your tree

Family Tree – Adding Sources for your Ancestors

1) Adding Sources for an ancestor’s records

2) Learn about sourcing and why it is important

3) See record hints for ancestors

4) How to review and attach a source to your ancestor

5) Tag events to the sources you have found, edit or detach sources

6) Using your Source Box to keep track of sources for your ancestors

Family Tree – Duplicates and Merging    

1) How to merge duplicates in family tree

2) Correct relationship errors in your family tree

Adding Memories

1) Scanning photos and documents

2) Uploading photos and documents to familysearch

3) Tagging and labeling photos and documents

4) Adding Stories

Searching and Sourcing Indexed Records on Familysearch

1) What documents will have the information I need?

2) Why sometimes less is more

3) Searching strategies and time savers

4) How to use film #, filters, and wildcards

Searching Unindexed Records on Familysearch

1) How do I find ancestors information that has not yet been indexed?

2) Learn where to find unindexed records.

3) Learn strategies to narrow your search more quickly.


1) Learn about Puzzilla and how it works

2) Log in and browse your family tree

3) Select an ancestor and see descendants

4) Learn how Puzzilla can help you with family history

Using Smartphones and Tablets with Familysearch

1) Android, smartphone, or IPAD users

2) Bring your device with familytree downloaded

3) Learn how to use and navigate the app

Partner Sites Overview

1) Ancestry

2) findmypast

3) My Heritage

4) Similarities and Differences


1) Researching in Ancestry

2) Tips and tricks for searching records

3) Understanding the family tree in Ancestry

The FH Guide - Overview

1) Overview of this wonderful resource

2) How this can help FH Consultants

3) How I can learn about anything Family History at home

4) How to involve my family in Family History work


1) Introduction to genetics for family history

2) Basics of DNA research for family history

3) Learn more about DNA research

4) Different types of DNA tests

Indexing - see schedule for Indexing classes below

1) Learning about Indexing

2) Getting started

3) Improving basic indexing skills

4) Handwriting

If there are any other classes that you feel are needed, please let us know and we can create a class and add it to our calendar.


Indexing: "Indexing - Try a Batch" -1st Tuesday and Wednesday Monthly

Indexing "Try a Batch" classes will be offered the first Tuesday and Wednesday of each month from 5:30 - 7:00 pm at the Cardston Family History Centre, as long as there is enough interest in learning about indexing.  

Contact Verla Campbell 403 653 1404 or Patricia Beazer 403 894 4480 for information and registration.

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.


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 are welcome to attend the classes, as well as participate in doing personal family research during hours of operation.  Consultants are available on each shift to assist patrons.


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 Temple and Family History consultants and the staff at the Family History Centre are available to help you transfer your PAF files to one of these programs of your choice.


Staff training meetings will be held on the second Wednesday of each month from 5:00 - 6:00

Centre Resources

Databases and Software

  • FHC Portal This centre has access to the Family History Centre Portal page which gives free access in the centre to premium family history software and websites that generally charge for subscriptions.
  • 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

  • 21 networked computers with printer access           
  • 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 flashdrive 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: Blaine Jensen 403 448 0008 or 653 2746 Secretary Diane Barnes 403 653 2657


Group Size

If you would like 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 12 computers, a projector and screen, and our smaller classroom has 9 computers and 1 with dual monitors and screen for group instruction where all patrons don't need a computer.  A film-reader room also a computer with dual monitors, and a microfilm scanner with printer access.


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


Copies of any black and white 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 Centre.

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 on  "Get Help" in upper right area

     - click on  "Learning Centre Video Courses"

View these videos which allows you to learn how to navigate on "Family Tree."

Youth may also like to create a 9-generation "Fan Chart" in pdf format which they can save to a flashdrive 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.)  

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).
     - 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 for 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 are interested in family history and could assist patrons at the Centre from 1 to 4 hours at a time.