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LDS Family History Centres

LDS4readercopier-1Members of the Church of Latter Day Saints are obliged to trace their ancestors as part of their faith. The church has microfilmed many resources to facilitate this and has also made these available to non-members through their Family History Centres.

FHCs are attached to churches but not all LDS churches have a FHC. To find your nearest one search here Family History Centres

Each centre is financed by the church to which it is attached and the available facilities vary. Some may only have one microfiche reader and one film reader, others have several of each and also copying facilities. Some FHCs have a small reference library of useful books and a permanent collection of films and microfiche. Many have computers, which have internet access.

All centres are run by knowledgeable volunteers, who are available to give advice to beginners about how to trace their ancestors. They will also advise about which films or fiche may help with the search.

There is an online catalogue of all the resources filmed by the LDS here Family Search Catalogue

The simplest way to use the catalogue is to do a place search. This will show everything that has been filmed for that place. This could be parish records, school admission records, Poor Law records, cemetery indexes, wills indexes and much more. Click on the category of interest and then make a note of the film or fiche number needed. Care should be taken over selecting which film or fiche to order as some are transcriptions of original records, rather than copies of the original records.

Films and fiche can only be ordered at a Family History Centre and there is a charge for each one ordered, paid at the time of the request. It usually takes 2 – 3 weeks for a film or fiche to arrive but if the one requested is already on loan to another centre it may take longer. Sometimes the film or fiche may not be available in Garrett’s Green, the central UK facility, and it’s necessary to send to the main library in Salt Lake City for a copy. This takes much longer.

When the film or fiche arrives at the centre you will be notified and asked to make an appointment to view it.