Columbia Missouri Family History Center

From FamilySearch Wiki
Revision as of 10:40, 25 February 2013 by Vernfrances (talk | contribs) (Closed Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 26 & 27, because of the weather.)

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.


NOTE: Please check RIGHT HERE, at the top or our webpage, for information about unexpected alterations to our normal operating hours.  Such may occur because of inclement weather or unforseen illness.  Checking may save you a trip, especially during winter weather.  Regular hours are posted below.  Thank you.   

Please note that the Columbia, Mo., Family History Center is no longer routinely open Thursday evenings; however, patrons may arrange a Thursday evening research visit by contacting our director 48 hours in advance at (573) 443-0433 or (573) 443-2048.

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) has been in place since 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.

Center Contacts and Hours

Location & Map:

  • 4708 Highlands Parkway, Columbia, Mo. 65203
  • Ring the doorbell at the EAST door to gain entry. Plenty of free parking. Handicapped accessible.

Phone: (573) 443-2048 (Answered only during open hours although patrons may leave messages.)

E-mail: You may e-mail the Center’s director at <a href=""></a>.

Link to Map: <a href=",+Columbia,+MO&hl=en&sll=31.891696,-88.314972&sspn=0.113247,0.133038&z=17">Columbia Missouri Family History Center</a>.

Open Hours:

  • Tuesday: 10 am- 4 pm; Wednesday: 1-4 pm, 6:30-9 pm; Thursday: 10 am-4 pm, evenings by appointment only*; 2nd, 3rd & 4th Saturday of month 1-5 pm. 

*To schedule a Thursday evening appointment at the Columbia, Mo., Family History Center, contact our director 48 hours in advance at (573) 443-0433 or (573) 443-2048.

  • We close when Columbia Public Schools close for inclement weather and during the winter holidays.
  • We are also occasionally closed unexpectedly because of inclement weather or illness. We apologize if this is an inconvenience.
  • We sometimes close 30-40 minutes early if no patrons remain.

Workshop Schedule

Workshops are free to anyone in the community. Preregistration is absolutely required by e-mailing the Center’s director at


Center Resources

Patrons will find four 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

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 ordered from Salt Lake for a nominal rental charge. Relevant films and fiche are identified by using the Family History Library Catalog where one can search my place, surname, keywords, etc. Films usually take 3-4 weeks to arrive in the Center for reading. Patrons have about 4 weeks to examine films before they are returned to Salt Lake. Films may also be renewed.

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

• Footnotes

• 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.

Staff 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

• Seven computers and printers
• Five microfilm readers
• Three microfiche readers
• One microfilm/fiche reader printer
• A multi-function printer that will copy pages from books, etc.
• One 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. For a list of resources go to <a href=""></a>.

Boone County Historical Society, 3801 Ponderosa Street, Columbia. They have a very ueful 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.
* The 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 at <a href=""></a>.
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 <a href=""></a>

Volunteer at the Center

We are always looking for enthusiastic and knowledgable 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.