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Family History Library

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Title: Family History Library  
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Subject: FamilySearch, Granite Mountain (Utah), List of historic sites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Family History Center (LDS Church), Library buildings completed in 1985
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Family History Library

Family History Library
Entrance to the Library
Country United States
Type Genealogy Library
Established 1894
Location Salt Lake City, Utah
Branches 4,500+ (2009)
Family History Centers
Website Family History Library

The Family History Library (FHL) is a genealogical research facility in downtown Salt Lake City. The library is open to the public free of charge and is operated by FamilySearch, the genealogical arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).


The origins of the Family History Library can be traced to the founding of the Genealogical Society of Utah in 1894. Through time the Library has changed locations within Salt Lake City as follows:

  • The Society's first library was located in the office of the Church Historian at 58 E. South Temple Street[1]
  • Church Administration Building 47 E. South Temple Street (1917–1933)
  • 80 N. Main Street (1934–1962)
  • 100 S. Main Street (1962–1971)
  • Church Office Building 50 E. North Temple Street (1972–1985)
  • 35 N. West Temple Street (1985–Present)

The current library building, just west of Temple Square was opened on October 23, 1985, and cost $8.2 million.[2]

In 1938 the Genealogical Society of Utah began to microfilm records which contained genealogical data from around the world, and today this microfilm makes up much of the library's collection. Today the Genealogical Society of Utah is more commonly known as FamilySearch, and is currently working on digitizing many of its microfilm collections to be shared online.


Its main purpose is to fulfill one of the LDS Church fundamental tenets: that deceased family members, especially ancestors, can be baptized by proxy, as well as receive other saving ordinances. These ordinances are performed in temples.[3] As its collection has grown, however, more individuals are using the collection to research their ancestry and chart their genealogy.


The library is in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the headquarters of the LDS Church are located. It is the largest genealogical library in the world and is open to the general public at no charge.[4] The library holds genealogical records for over 110 countries, territories, and possessions. Its collections include over 1.6 million rolls of microfilmed records onsite and access the total collection of more than 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records; 727,000 microfiche; 356,000 books, serials, and other formats; 4,500 periodicals; 3,725 electronic resources including subscriptions to the major genealogical websites.[5]

The library offers research assistance to help patrons trace their own family history. Professional genealogists and volunteers offer assistance in about 30 languages, which includes reading and translating genealogically relevant documents. The library also offers free one-on-one consultations on difficult research problems. Additionally, there are classes on genealogical research topics free to the public[6] and classes available online.[7] Free family history research advice and information are offered online at the FamilySearch Research Wiki.

Digitization and indexing projects

The library is in the process of digitizing much of its microfilm collection. An online index to some of the records is also being created. Volunteers to the project are now being actively solicited at The searchable database containing the digital images and index will be available through the church's FamilySearch website. The Pilot Site version may be accessed at


Branches of the library are called Family History Centers (FHC). While there are over 4,400 family history centers operating in more than 134 countries there are only about 17 major regional branch library class facilities. The others are ward, branch and stake facilities with at least one or more genealogical computers.[8] For details, see Family History Center (LDS Church). Most of the microfilms in the main library's collection can be loaned to a family history center for a nominal charge. These centers are staffed by volunteers, and, like the main library, are free of charge and open to the public (LDS Church members and nonmembers alike).

1999 Shooting

On April 15, 1999, 70-year old Sergei Babarin, entered the Library's lobby and began shooting. A security guard and one female patron were killed while several others were injured. One hour and 45 minutes[9] after the shooting began, Salt Lake police shot and fatally wounded Babarin in an exchange of gunfire. Babarin's family indicated he had a history of schizophrenia, a claim not corroborated by the Valley Community Mental Health Clinic.[10] This occurred only four months after a separate shooting incident a block away at the Triad Center.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "History of the Family History Library". Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  2. ^ R. Scott Lloyd (23 October 2010). "Happy 25th birthday, Family History Library!". Church News. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "Genealogy (Family History)". LDS Church. Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
  4. ^ "AAG International Research". AAG International Research. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  5. ^ "About the Family History Library". Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Family History Library Classes". Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Research Series Classes Online". Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
  8. ^ "About Family History Centers". Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Library shooting incident -- the key events A chronology from 10:30 a.m. to just after 5". Deseret News. April 16, 1999. Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  10. ^ a b Ogata, Wendy (13 February 2007). "Infamous shooting incidents in Salt Lake County". Deseret News. Retrieved 2013-02-19. 

External links

  • Family History Library Official Site
  • Family History Library Online Training
  • Find a family history center near you
  • FamilySearch Indexing
  • Family History Library in the FamilySearch Research Wiki
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