Family History Library
The Family History Library (35 N. West Temple St., 801/240-2331, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., closed federal holidays) houses the largest collection of genealogical information in the world. Library workers have made extensive travels to many countries to microfilm documents and books. More than 125 employees are assisted by over 400 volunteers to keep track of the records.
The LDS Church has gone to this effort to enable members to trace their ancestors, who can then be baptized by proxy. In this way, according to Mormon belief, the ancestors will be sealed in the family and the church for eternity. However, the spirits for whom these baptisms are performed have a choice of accepting or rejecting the baptism.
The Family History Library is open to the public. If you’d like to research your family tree, bring what information you have and get the library’s booklet A Guide to Research. A brief slide presentation explains what types of records are kept and how to get started. Staff will answer questions. In most cases the files won’t have information about living persons for privacy reasons. The church leaves nothing to chance in preserving its genealogical records and history—master copies on microfilm rest in vaults deep within the mountains southeast of Salt Lake City.
If you are new to genealogical investigation, you may want to start your research at the FamilySearch Center (15 E. South Temple St., 801/240-4085, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., closed federal holidays), on the main floor in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (formerly Hotel Utah). The center has individual computer stations with access to family history resources and staff is available to help you free of charge.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition