When is the Center open?
The Menlo Park Family History Center is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
What is the Center?
Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of FamilySearch and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah (United States), located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources to assist you in the research and study of your genealogy and family history by:
- Giving personal one-on-one assistance to patrons
- Providing access to genealogical records through the Internet or microfilm loan program
- Offering free how-to classes
Why is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints so interested in family history?
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints care deeply about their departed ancestors. They research their names, life histories, and stories. They seek to understand who they were and what they did. This strengthens the sense of family connection. We find great inspiration and joy in researching our genealogical history.
For Latter-day Saints, family history is not merely a hobby or pastime. Ultimately, it is the value of each person’s eternal potential and their individual role within the great human family that drive us to devote so much time and resource to honoring and remembering loved ones.
Many people believe that marriage and families end at death. Latter-day Saints believe that families can be eternal when “sealed” in ceremonies that take place in temples.
Because these ceremonies can also be performed in behalf of those who have died, members of the Church research names and relationships through genealogical research. The dead have the choice to accept or reject the services performed for them. Researchers are allowed to submit only names of their own ancestors for these sealing ceremonies.
Who can use the Family History Center?
The Center is open to anyone with an interest in genealogical research.
Where else can I find a center?
There are more than 4,700 Family History Centers in 134 countries. You can search for other locations here: https://familysearch.org/locations
What does it cost?
There is no cost to visit a Family History Center or FamilySearch Library. If you use a printer or copier, please consider making a contribution to the Center to help defray the cost. There is a donation box next to the sign-in sheet.
How do I start?
Family History Center staff can show you how to use the Center’s resources. To make your visit most effective, collect and organize the information you already have. Bring as much information as you have about the ancestor you wish to research, including available birth, marriage and death information. The Center staff can help you use that information to begin or expand your family tree.
What can I do at the Center that I can’t do at home on my computer?
FamilySearch has arranged for several premium online research services to be available at Family History Centers. Access to these online services is provided through the Family History Center Portal at fhc.familysearch.org when you access the Internet from the Center’s computers. Note that entering the web sites of these providers through their regular, public URLs will not provide access to the full versions that have been authorized for family history center use.
Helpful Websites (free access)
The 19th Century British Library Newspapers digital archive – http://find.galegroup.com/bncn/
Access Newspaper Archives – http://www.newspaperarchive.com
Alexander Street Press, American Civil War – http://alexanderstreet.com/
Ancestry.com – http://www.ancestry.com/
ArkivDigital Online – http://www.arkivdigital.net
Create your Who Do You Think You Are? Story, for free
Find My Past – http://www.findmypast.co.uk/
Fold3 (formerly Footnote.com) – http://www.fold3.com/
Historic Map Works Library Edition – http://www.proquest.historicmapworks.com/
Hungary Exchange - http://www.hungaryexchange.com/
Legacy Stories - http://www.legacystories.orgOrigins.net http://www.origins.net/
My Heritage--Library Edition
Paper Trail – http://www.genealogytoday.com/
Puzzilla..org Premium Services
Some of World Vital Records – https://familysearch.org
FamilySearch Learning Center - https://familysearch.org/learningcenter
FamilySearch UTube - http://www.youtube.com/user/familysearch
FamilySearch Wiki - https://familysearch.org/learn
USGenWeb - http://www.usgenweb.org
Genuki (UK & Ireland) http://www.genuki.org.uk
Find A Grave - http://www.findagrave.com
Google Search - http://www.google.com
Mocavo Search - http://www.mocavo.com
Utah Digital Newspapers - http://digitalnewspapers.org
BYU Idaho Special Collections - http://abish.byui.edu/specialCollections
Cyndi’s List - http://cyndislist.com
Who staffs the Center?
The Center is staffed by volunteer members of local congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as non-LDS genealogy enthusiasts from the community. Staff members are not paid for their services. More experienced volunteers may be able to assist patrons with specific research challenges. Expertise of volunteer staff varies, so patrons with specific research questions may wish to call before visiting a center to find out who might be able to assist them, and the best time to visit.
Can I get help with a specific research problem?
Yes. Any of our staff members will be glad to help you with your research. If you have a specialized need with research in a specific region of the world, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of what you need help with and we will try to pair you with a consultant with expertise in that area.
How do I order microfilm records?
The FamilySearch Catalog is available online, and can be searched by place name, family surname, resource title, author, subject, call number, film number or key word. If you find a film you’d like to view, you can order that film using the online film ordering. For more information, see Ordering Microfilm Online. https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Ordering_Microfilm_or_Microfiche_from_a_Family_History_Center
There is a small fee charged for ordering films and fiche that helps defray the cost of copying and shipping. There is no charge to view films from the Center’s “Resident Film Collection.” All microfilm and microfiche must be viewed at the Family History Center where they were ordered. They cannot be transferred to another Family History Center facility, or be removed from the center to view at another location.
Microfilms are typically available at the Center for 90 days. For more specific information about film ordering, ask a staff member at the Center.
Much of the content in this FAQ is from the FamilySearch wiki, a helpful resource where you will also find a wealth of additional information: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/