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The Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


The Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
35 North West Temple Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3400
Telephone: (801) 240-2331
Fax: (801) 240-1584
Web Site:


Monday: 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday through Saturday: 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Closed Sundays and Federal holidays


The Family History Library holds over 2 million rolls of microfilmed records, 400,000 microfiche, and 300,000 books. It also houses an extensive collection of written manuscripts including family histories, local histories, indexes, periodicals, and aids to help in genealogical research. This immense collection of genealogical material covers most of the world, allowing researchers to search original records from countries as far as the Netherlands, Hungary, Chile, and China, although the emphasis is on Great Britain, Canada, Europe, and America. The Library's United States holdings include records from thousands of county courthouses and state and regional archives, plus all of the U.S. Census records from 1790-1920. Known for their extensive knowledge and excellent assistance, the staff at the Family History Library will help answer questions and guide you through the Library. Other key resources include the computerized FamilySearch system and the inter-library loan program that the Library maintains with its more than 2,000 branch Family History Centers around the world (books do not circulate in this inter-library loan program).

The International Genealogical Index (IGI) is an index which documents births and marriages of deceased persons from around the world. Beginning with submissions from individuals, both church members and non-members, the IGI was started in 1969 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition, extractions were made from pre-1970 temple records. To get records from places other than just church archives, the Extraction Program was developed. The Extraction Program involves hundreds of volunteers, some of whom travel around the world to filming records. Other volunteers then transcribe the records on the films. The Parish and Vital Records List, which is published by the Library, shows which records have been extracted and listed in the IGI for each geographical area and time period. It also shows which records are currently being extracted. The volunteers copy birth, christening, and marriage information about deceased individuals listed in various church and civil vital records. These records are not limited to LDS Church members or their ancestors.

The IGI contains over 250 million names. Most of the names come from records dating from the early 16th century to the late 19th century. The index does not include every person from any given country, nor the names of all persons from the records indexed. However, the names listed in the IGI are not limited to individuals who are relatives of LDS members.

The IGI is accessible through the Family History Library and also through its Family History Centers around the country. It may also be available at some major genealogical societies and libraries. It can be accessed on microfiche and CD-ROM.

It should be noted that the extracts from the original records that are recorded in the IGI are not always accurate. Many agree that there is wide variation in the reliability of the records found in the IGI. In addition, it is possible that you will find incomplete records in the IGI. That is, you may come across a record that contains the name and the date, but not the place of the event. This is a result of the submitter not including this information. (All records recorded before 1992 are complete.) For these reasons, the IGI is recommended as an excellent source of information, provided that you verify your information against original documents. In short, use the IGI as a tool to direct you to the original record.

The Ancestral File can best be described as the world's genealogy database. Primarily, it links individuals into families, so that eventually we may be able to see all of mankind linked into one great big family tree! The heart of the Ancestral File comes from contributors, just like you, who submit their family trees to the Library. The Library then adds your tree to the Ancestral File or attaches it to another part of your family that has already been submitted. All in all, the File contains about 20 million names.

The Church encourages everyone to submit what they have to the File, although they do not verify the information that others submit to them. By searching the File, others can find out what research has already been done on their family. In addition, your submission may finally link those long lost branches of your family. For more information about Ancestral File submissions, contact the Family History Library.

The Social Security Death Index, is an index that consists of 39 million records of deaths reported by the Social Security Administration. These deaths occurred between the years 1962 and 1988. With this index, you can get information regarding a person's birth date, death date, Social Security number, state/county code of residence, last residence zip, and the lump sum payment zip. From this initial information, you can then write to your local Social Security office for more information from the form SS-5, the application for a Social Security card.

You can access the Social Security Death Index through the FamilySearch computer system at the Family History Library and at each of the Family History Centers. However, before you make a trip to the Family History Library, you can do a free search of the Social Security Death Index right here. All you need to do is type in your ancestors' names right at your own computer!

The Military Index is a listing of individuals who served and were killed in the Korean or Vietnam War. The Military Index is also available through the FamilySearch computer. The Family History Library also has many other U.S. and foreign military records.

The Family Registry in a microfiche index that is separate from the FamilySearch computer. This index lists organizations and individuals who are interested in sharing their genealogical information. It covers about 300,000 individual parties. One of the best ways to grow your family tree is to contact others who have already researched part of your tree for you. Even if no one has specific information regarding your family, they may have some helpful tips for you. This resource is a great place to go when you need a little assistance from the rest of the genealogy world.

Research outlines give detailed advice about how to do genealogical research in a specific country, emphasizing what information may be available through the Family History Library. The Family History Library has research outlines for the United States and dozens of foreign countries. Research outlines can be downloaded from electronic bulletin boards, or you can send a written request to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Access to Records

On site
Records are available to anyone who visits the Library or its branches. (For information about a branch near you, look under "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" in your local white pages or contact the Family History Library at the above address.) It's a good idea to visit a local branch before making a trip to Salt Lake City. You can search the Library catalog at any branch and get the call numbers for the records that you want, so when you do go to the Library, you can spend your time looking at records, instead of searching for them. Photocopies are allowed for all non-restricted records. For access to microfilm records that are not commonly circulated, a written request is necessary. In the written request, you must include the dates you will be in the library, your name and phone number, and the film numbers that you expect to examine upon your arrival. Researchers who plan to use the microfilm records of non-restricted materials can do so using the self-service microfilm readers available at the Library. It is often a good idea to visit a Family History Center before going to the main library in Salt Lake City, in order to get used to the Library's cataloging system and record retrieval process.
Through the mail
The Family History Library staff and volunteers will not do research for you, although they will answer specific questions and attempt to guide you through the beginning of your genealogy research. They can also assist you by providing a list of genealogy professionals in your area. Almost all of the microfilm records available at the Family History Library can be loaned to Family History Centers around the world. Contact your local Family History Center for more information about their record loaning program. It usually takes only a couple of weeks to receive the information that you need.
By electronic mail
CompuServe: 75300,3123
GEnie (research questions): F.H.Library
GEnie (FamilySearch questions): FamilySearch
America Online: FamHistLib
Literature available
The following informational pamphlets are available; most are free or less than a dollar. Also, you can obtain a list of publications by writing to the library at the above address.
  • Library Services and Resources
  • Family History Centers Address List
  • A Guide to Research: Family History Center
  • A Guide to Research: Family History Library
  • Request for Photocopies
  • Tracing Immigrant Origins
  • Research Outline of the United States
  • Research Outlines for dozens of foreign countries

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