Family History Centers - LDS
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Family History Centers

The LDS Family History Centers are branches of the Salt Lake City, Utah, Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The FHC's are open free to the public and are located in or near LDS churches all over the world. Because they are branches of the FHL they have access to all records available through the FHL.

When I visited my local FHC, I picked up a copy of a 48-page pamphlet titled "Research Outline IRELAND" I recommend obtaining a copy of this pamphlet as it contains a lot of valuable information about how to do your Ireland research. The cost was only 75 cents US. It can now be ordered online at Genealogical Guides.

The following is taken from the pamphlet RECORDS AT THE FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY
Microform Records:
The FHL has more than 11,500 microfilms and 3,000 microfiche containing information about people who have lived in Ireland. Most of the library's records have been obtained through an extensive microfilming program. The library's collection includes:
  Civil Birth, Death and Marriage Records
  Church baptism, marriage, and burial records   Deeds and tax records
  Census records
  Probate records
  Estate records
  Compiled family histories, pedigrees, and biographies
  School records
  Occupational records
  Military records

While the library has records from all over Ireland, it does not have records for every time period or locality in Ireland. For example, the library has few church records from County Cork.

FamilySearch is a powerful computer system that helps to simplify family history work.
The FamilySearch files useful for Irish research include:
  Ancestral File
  Family History Library Catalog - Source of the FHLC film/fiche numbers
A correspondent discovered a trick for some LDS films. They found a film 1985395 with Lewises from all over. Out of curiosity, they tried 1985394 and 1985396. Eventually, they discovered a series of 15 films, all with a significant number of Lewis records. You might want to try the same trick if you come across a film number relating to your special surname.

The FIRST and most helpful thing a new patron can do is learn to use the Family History Library Catalog, both on fiche and on CD! They are not identical!
  International Genealogical Index
  Social Security Death Index
Microfiche copies of information available at the FHL can be ordered for 15 cents each. They are sent to the FHC you order them through and will stay there permanently.

Microfilm records are about $3.30. They are loaned to the FHC and are available for you to review for 60 days. Permanent loan copies of microfilm records can be ordered for about $6.

Trouble reading the microfilms? Take a piece of bright yellow paper - lay this yellow paper in the film reader so what you are looking at has a much better contrast. Make up a kit to keep of a rainbow of colors reds, blues, yellows, gray, and green, etc., in couple of shades. The different colors improve the contrast to where you can read these films much better even with a magnifier; once you use the paper you still have the option of using a magnifier also. BRIGHT YELLOW WORKs WELL AND DARK BLUE WORKs VERY WELL, but try several colors and shades to se what worked best for you and the film you are looking at.

Submitted by LChristensen

Contacting a submitter

You can write a letter and enclose it in an unsealed envelope with the name of the person on it that you want to contact. You then put that envelope inside another along with a letter stating why you are trying to contact this person to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Membership Records; 150 S Temple; Salt Lake City UT (Zip unknown). They will read both letters; address the envelope and send it to the person--if they have the address of where they are. There is also a Member contact form that can be filled out and mailed in but I don't kow if they are available anywere but from the Church Office Building in SLC--but they can be sent for from the same address above.

LDS = Latter Day Saints (Mormon)
FHL = Family History Library in Salt Lake City
FHLC # = the number for the film or fiche you're looking for
IGI = the International Genealogical Index of the LDS
PAF = Personal Ancestral File, the LDS genealogical software program (very reasonable price)

AIS = Accelerated Indexing System (company that did census indexes on microfiche and the index is known as AIS in the FHCs)
FHC = Local Family History Center for the Mormon Church,
available in most large cities listed as Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints

FHC is the Family History Center. These are branch libraries of the main FHC of the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints in Salt Lake City which is the largest repository of genealogical records in the world. Microfiche, microfilm and computer records of original and/or compiled records can be used at each FHC. These records are worldwide and there is no charge except a modest rental fee for films you may order.

IGI is the International Genealogical Index which is available, free of charge, at the FHC. It contains records submitted for ordinance work by researchers or through the church extraction program. They are worldwide and from a variety of sources. Extractions are all original records.

Essentially, what you'll find on the IGI film/fiche/CD is name, date, place (locale, county/state or locale, county or province, foreign country, type of event (birth, baptism, marriage, death, will). You will also find names of other persons who are associated with (mentioned) the event. Then at the end of the line, you will find a reference to a microfilm reel or microfiche sheet (FHLC # ... ). That's where you'll find a copy (photo/transcription) of the original record.

Just about everything in the IGI is cross indexed. One you identify the parents, then search for the births/baptisms of their children by searching for occurrences of the parents' names. The IGI is alphabetical by surname and then by given name and middle name/initial.

Remember the variety of records in the IGI. Batches that begin with C or M were copied from church or civil records. They were usually double checked and are as accurate as any other transcription.

If you have questions about IGI batch numbers and prefixes, the following website helps answer some of them:
As it explains, some of the prefixes (A and F for example) indicate the source for the information was a family group sheet, LDS sealing record or some other non-primary source; other prefixes (like C, P, etc.) indicate it came from original church or civil records. So knowing what the prefixes mean can give you some idea of how reliable the information might be.

If the batch number is a plain 6 digit number (such as 330906), that means that the information came from a Family Group Sheet submitted by a member, and, you can order that record on microfilm to view for yourself. It may or may not have additional information about other family members. That depends on the time-period involved. For example, during the 1970's, sheets for "individual" were used (as well as regular family group sheets) which did not list the whole family.

If the batch number is preceded by an alpha letter, such as C803406 - that means that the information came from an extracted record, such as birth, christening or marriage record. It does not include death records. You can order this record from the church (film number is listed), however, no additional information will be found. The best thing to do is to go to a local Family History Center, look under "Parish Registers", and locate the parish register in question. You can order that register on microfilm, and take a look at the "mortuary" or "deaths". This additional information is quite helpful, as it helps identify the oldest ancestors residing in that parish.

The long batch numbers followed by sheet numbers are member and library patron submissions. The church also transcribed census records. We've all learned how wildly a relative's age varies from census year to census year. Sometimes the transcribers assumed it was two different people, the ages were so different.

Finally, as a starting point, when transcribers only found the marriage record, they would guesstimate the bride's and groom's ages. If they only found the children's births, they'd guess at a marriage date. They just wanted to give people a place to start looking.

Batch numbers for the IGI search can be found by doing the following:
go to Custom Search, select Family History Library Catalogue
select Place Search
enter the location
select Church Records - Indexes
choose the church of interest
press View Film Notes to see the records available and years covered.
press View Title Details to see the Batch Number

To convert the Batch Number to the form needed in the Custom Search,
remove the hyphen, e.g. 08832-1 becomes 088321
if there's no letter at the front, put an M at the front for marriage
records or either a C or a P for christening records

In Custom search enter your surname and the batch number and bingo!!

AF is the Ancestral File also available, free, at the FHC. These are genealogies submitted by researchers throughout the world. The records are worldwide in area.

Both the IGI & AF are available on microfiche or computer. Both are well worth checking. Remeber, however, to USE THEM AS CLUES, find the documentation before adding to your own tree. :)

Submitted by: Lmaybe

A few URLs for finding your nearest Family History Centers.
List of Family History Centers by State

There is a MAIL LIST: [email protected]. Turn off any auto sig, leave subject blank, put only the word SUBSCRIBE in the body.
Hints for using FHC's and the new online site. FAQ for LDS-GENEALOGY-L
Archives for LDS-GENEALOGY-L

THE LDS is beginning to release publically some of the materials they have prepared and the prices are VERY reasonable.
Note: The 1851 British Census CD-ROM will work on Windows 3.1, Windows 95 or Windows NT. There is no Macintosh version. The included software will operate in 4 megabytes of RAM memory on Windows 3.1, but the producers strongly recommend 8 megabytes or more. It also requires a super VGA video card and monitor combination running at least 256 colors.

The phone number for the LDS distribution center
for those outside the US and Canada is 1-801-240-1093,
from Canada : 1-800-453-3860 ex. 2031,
and from the USA: 1-800-537-5950
or write to:

Salt Lake Distribution Center
1999 West 1700 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84104-4233

Researching at the Main Library

Going to Salt Lake City to research at the Family History Library is a great holiday for a genealogist or historian because there is so much there, right at your fingertips. If you get an idea of where another piece of data might be, you can go right to it, no waits. Other than your room and food, there are no costs for going there researching, unless you make copies, and the cost of copies is quite reasonable. Go for several days, you'll hate having to leave. Since the library is closed on Sunday, that is a good day to fly into town, get settled, see the local historical sights etc, then fly out the next Sunday.

The concept is that this is self-service researching and you do your own looking up, but there are lots of volunteers there to help you on the simpler quests, and very good professionals at the reference desks for the harder problems. Plus there are classes given on a regular basis on special topics.

All the CDs and basic microfiche that you will find at your local branch FHC are there, plus a huge collection of books and copies of almost all the microfilms on five floors. (There are a few less-used items that you might need to request from storage, but most of it is there.) Therefore you should concetrate on the materials you can't see at home (the book collection) or the films that it takes time and money to order. So spend as much time at your local branch as you can, using the FHL Catalog to make lists of the materials you will need to consult there.

If your local branch is hard to get to, you can buy all the microfiche of the Ireland part of the Catalog (10 fiche- maybe a few more now) and the 99 fiche for England for 15 cents US each. There is a minimum charge of $2.00 so you may as well order more. You can also order the fiche for individual states and provinces and other countries. Then just look around your local area to find a fiche reader. Or buy one secondhand. There are lots of them available cheap nowadays now that the material they used to be used for is now on computer.

Get the order blank at the local FHC.

Then prepare yourself with those lists before you go.

You'll be able to walk to the library or your hotel will have a courtesy van to pick you up at the airport and take you to the Library in the morning and pick you up at night. They have a lunch room with vending machines, or you can walk across the street to the mall or restaurants. (My research buddy and I would have a good breakfact, a snack for lunch, then a decent dinner break at a restaurant and a walk, and then go back to the library for an evening session. The library is open 7:45 am to 10 pm, but closes at 6 on Mon. and Sat.)


About the Family Search Site

Online IGI Data Extraction Program
Colin Hinson in England has released Windows 95 software for extraction of data from the online IGI personal record files.

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