Latter Day Saints Family History Libraries
Members of the Church of Latter Day Saints (also known as Mormons) have a religious obligation to trace their ancestors. They share the information they have collected over the years with non-believers through the IGI and by allowing us to use their facilities and the records they have filmed.
The Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) has filmed a massive amount of information of interest to genealogists - Parish Records, Manor Court Books, jail indexes, wills indexes, census and lots more. They have made this information available to anyone who can attend one of their libraries.
Some people, whose only contact with members of the church has been a knock at the door from one of their missionaries or an approach in the street, are a little nervous about using the LDS Family History Libraries, worried that members may try to convert them. There is no need to worry about this. The church members who act as volunteers in the Libraries are forbidden from discussing religion at all, although they will answer particular questions.
The Libraries are usually housed in a room in the Church building. They vary very much in size. Some only have room for 5 or so people others have room for more. An appointment is always necessary as they are very much in demand.
The libraries have film and fiche readers on which you can search records. Some libraries have limited access to Ancestry.com on computer and a selection of genealogy CDs that can also be searched. Most libraries have a small collection of films and fiche on permanent loan, usually the GRO index. It is possible to order any record they have filmed for a small fee and it is held at the library for a month so that you can search for that elusive event.
For those who live many miles from the counties where their ancestors lived a nearby Family History Library may be the only place where they can view pre 1837 records and take that vital step back another generation.
Using the libraries The first thing to do is to find out if there is one near you.
If you find you are able to visit a library the next step is to see what records you can order in to the centre. A place name search here will bring up every record filmed of the parish of your interest.
Make a note of the film number that you want to view and take it to the centre where the volunteers will order it for you. Currently (June 2007) it costs £2.70 for a month's loan and £3.50 for 3 month's loan. This is the only charge. The Latter Day Saints make no charge for using their facilities.
Many volunteers at the centre are experienced researchers and can offer help and guidance to beginners and to more experienced researchers. Without the Latter Day Saints Family History Libraries I wouldn't have made anywhere near the progress I have with my tree.
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