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Research at the Family History Library

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Founded in 1894, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City is the largest library of its kind in the world, encompassing 142,000 square feet on five floors, and is open free to all visitors. Over 3 million records from over 110 countries make this library a one-of-a-kind treat for anyone interested in genealogy and family history.

Location:

35 N. West Temple St., Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Hours:

8:00am - 5:00pm Monday and 8:00am - 9:00pm Tuesday through Saturday. Closed on Sundays.

What to Expect

You do not have to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) to use the Family History Library facility, and you will not receive any type of religious solicitation if you visit. The Family History Library employs about 125 full-time and part-time professional staff, as well as approximately 400 well-trained volunteers who are all very happy to help you with your research questions. They cannot do your research for you, but they can help you use the library's facilities, suggest records for you to search and answer basic questions such as how to get started, where a town is located, and what records are available and how to use them.

The Genealogical Records

The impressive collection at the Family History Library includes over 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records; 742,000 microfiche; 310,000 books, serials, and other formats; and 4,500 periodicals. A majority of these records contain information about people prior to 1920. New records are being added daily with approximately 200 cameras currently microfilming records in over 45 countries. Records have been filmed in over 110 countries, territories and possessions.

Patron Resources

  • 252 patron computers
  • 509 microfilm readers
  • 36 microfiche readers
  • 28 microfilm and microfiche copiers (Copy costs are $.20 U.S. per page)
  • 4 microfilm scanners
  • 15 book copiers
  • Seating capacity for 396 at tables, plus additional standing workspace
  • Regular orientation classes and specialized research classes (See the Schedule of Upcoming Classes)

Visitors with Special Needs

Family History Library visitors with special needs are welcome and will have access to all facilities. A Spectrum Magnification machine located on the third floor is available for the use of visually impaired patrons. The Library also offers the use of specialized microfilm readers. The Sorenson Video phone for deaf assistance is available for patron use on the third floor. The Family History Library also offers wheelchair access and limited assistance for hearing-impaired or foreign-language researchers. For TDD telephone questions, call (801) 240-2616.

Preparing for Your Visit to the Family History Library

The Family History is a huge place and you will need to do some advance planning if you want to make the most of your visit.

1. Begin by gathering all the background information on your family beforehand, and familiarize yourself with the records you want to search. Check the Family History Library holiday schedule to make sure it will be open.

2. Visit your local Family History Center to familiarize yourself with the available printed materials and microfiche as well as to get some practice with using the microfilm readers and computer tools. This can simplify your research and save time when you get to the Family History Library. Visit Find a Family History Center to find one near you.

3. Use the online Family History Library Catalog to select the records you wish to view when you get to the library and to determine if they are immediately available in the library. Films listed in the catalog as "Vault" films may need to be requested up to three days in advance. You can do this by email fhl@ldschurch.org or fax (see numbers below) prior to your visit. U.S. and Canada microfilms, fax: (801) 240-1924 British microfilms, fax: (801) 240-1928 International microfilms, fax: (801) 240-1929

4. Most documents are written in the language of the country they are from. You usually do not need to know the foreign language to use the records, but learning a few key terms is helpful. Consider printing out the helpful language genealogical word lists available at Research Helps (scroll down the page to Language and Languages - Dictionaries) prior to your visit. This will save you time while in the library.

5. Familiarize yourself with the parking and transportation options. Many people find it easiest to stay in one of the nearby hotels and walk back and forth to the Family History Library.

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