The Family History Library is a Treasure Trove of Genealogy

When it comes to discovering your family history, there is no better place to start than the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  It is the gateway to a treasure trove of resources that will help you climb your family tree and answer the popular question these days: who do you think you are?

At the 142,000 square foot library you will have access to:

  • Over 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records

  • Free access to many subscription online genealogical websites and databases

  • 727,000 microfiche

  • 356,000 books and periodicals

  • 3725 electronic resources

  • 475 computers

  • 408 microfilm readers

  • 36 microfiche readers

  • 24 digital microfilm and microfiche copiers

  • 14 book copiers

If that sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t worry, there are folks who can help.  In fact the library has100 full-time and part-time professional staff and 700 trained volunteers poised to answer your questions.

In fact, the Family History Library is your portal to a vast array of knowledge and resources that extend beyond its physical shelves. To see for yourself watch the newly released videos by FamilySearchVids:

Granite Mountain Records Vault Part 1

Granite Mountain Records Vault Part 2

As you saw in the videos, the granite mountain vault provides safe and secure preservation of priceless historic records that can be accessed through the library.  Another access avenue is the FamilySearch website . There you will find millions of records that can be searched online, and the complete Family History Library catalogue.  FamilySearch is making a heroic effort to digitize the granite vault and deliver it to genealogists online.  Here’s the latest on that effort from FamilySearch:

Millions of Historic Documents from Microfilms Now Emerging Digitally Online
"FamilySearch’s microfilm conversion initiative is beginning to sail. Over 12 million digital images from thousands of microfilm, representing 8 countries, were published online for free viewing this month. FamilySearch’s online image viewer makes it easy for online patrons to view the newest digital images from Argentina, Costa Rica, France, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, and Spain.

This week the complete U.S. 1910 Federal Census name indexes for Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Missouri were also published online at FamilySearch’s Record Search pilot (, click Search Records, and then click Record Search pilot) and coming soon to

FamilySearch plans on digitizing and publishing online the bulk of its 2.4 million rolls of microfilm—representing 132 countries. In addition, it is now capturing millions of new images each year digitally “at birth” from its 185 field camera teams worldwide."

To accomplish the ambitious goal of digitizing the granite vault records it takes thousands of volunteers, and you can help:


Online Volunteers Index a Whopping 100 Million Records Already This Year
"FamilySearch Indexing is excited to announce that our dedicated volunteers have completed 100 million records in the first half of 2010, and is on track to complete a targeted 200 million by the end of the year. Patrons can search the completed indexes and images at

More volunteers are always needed—particularly on international, non-English projects. New projects were added for Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, and Russia.

Interested volunteers can start helping any time by registering at and selecting a project."

Even though this vast collection of genealogical records is coming online at lightening speed, it will never replace the benefits of visiting the Family History Library in person.  There’s nothing like browsing an old book, scouring one of the many historic maps, attending a live free class, or collaborating with other researchers in person.  Savvy family historians will harness all research opportunities – online and in person – and that approach is guaranteed to unearth priceless genealogy gems.

Genealogy Gems Podcast Logo

To learn more about how to make the most of your visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, listen to:

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 80

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 82

Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast Episode 16