Genealogy - Family History Centers
Family History Centers
Family History Centers are run by the Church of Latter Day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City. Their primary goal in maintaining the centers is to assist their Church members in doing their genealogies which enables a church member to "enroll" his or her ancestors in the Church. Wherever there is a LDS congregation there is usually a Family History Center.
Family History Centers promote all kinds of genealogical work. Because they welcome non-Church members to use their facilities and to contribute their research to one of the databases maintained in Salt Lake City you will find many non-Mormons among the users of a Family History Center.(1)
When visiting a FHC you can expect to find:
- a small collection of books. This depends mostly on what titles have been purchased by the local congregation . (The book collection at the Eugene Family History Center is larger than most.)
- assistance by volunteers. Some of them are quite knowledgeable about genealogy and experienced in helping beginners in doing genealogy.
- some census material. Very often the complete 1850 census.
- microfilm readers and printers as well as computers
- availability of various printed forms used in genealogical work
- a computerized catalog of the holdings of the largest genealogical library in the world which is in Salt Lake City. The local center will obtain volumes from Salt Lake City on microfilm for users.
- International Genealogical Index, a computerized file of over 250 million names and some identification of close relatives.
- Ancestral File, a computerized index of over one million names, many of them in unpublished manuscripts about families and family histories done by other genealogists.
- Social Security Death Index, a computerized index of mostly of people who died in the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's and 1990's and identifying the nearest relative
- Military Death Index of deaths during Korean War and Vietnam Conflict
(1) "At the church's Family History Center in west Eugene, director Skip Barnwell estimates that about 60 percent of the 1,000 people who drop by each month are non-Mormons." Eugene Register-Guard, Sept.16, 1998, p.4C