The Family History Centers are a very helpful resource for genealogy research and the people there are friendly and always willing to help. The staff is made up of volunteers doing their own family research so they themselves have (at one point or another) been at whatever stage you are. And although they are privately owned and operated, everyone is welcome to use these centers.
Before you visit, contact the center to determine the hours of operation and any needed directions to find the center. You can find the locations of larger Family History Centers in the United States and Canada on the LDS website.
The library has collected millions of microfilms, thousands of microfiche and books, and many other records. Most of the microfilms have been acquired through an extensive microfilming program that began in 1938. They continue to film original documents in churches, courthouses, and archives in many countries. The originals of these microfilms are preserved in a vault in the mountains near Salt Lake City. And copies of microfilms are available for use at the Family History Library and at Family History Centers.
You will be asked to sign a book with your name, and then you simply proceed to the front desk and tell them what you are looking for. They will get the information for you and, if you need them to, help you understand what it means.
You can also reserve a computer and browse through CD-ROM files that are part of the International Genealogical Index (IGI). This is an international index that has been collected through a process of extracting parish records, cemetries, etc. from all over the world, as well as, information other people have submitted from their own research.
Even more information is available on CD-ROM's so just ask and the staff only too willing to help find it for you. If the center you are visiting doesn't have the information you want, the staff can find it at the main library and have a copy sent to them. They will explain the costs associated with these types of requests. When your information arrives at the center, you will have a month to review it and then it is returned back to Salt Lake City.
The LDS annually publishs this collection of individuals and the names they are researching. In order to be listed you must be willing to share information with anyone who writes to you. You can list up to 15 surnames that you are researching, and pricing information is available at your local FHC. Requests must be submitted by November of each year for the following edition.
International Genealogical Index is a registered trademark of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Family History Center is a trademark of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.