Friday, December 2, 2016

It's All Online, Why Should I Visit the Family History Center?

Good morning all. I decided to take some time off from work to catch up on my writing. It is a beautiful crisp 68 degrees this December morning (I love south Florida) and as we get into the holiday season the number of visitors to our Family History Center (FHC) is begining to drop off. As the Vero Beach Stake Family History Center Director, I have been working on ways to increase the use of our FHC and when I woke up this morning it hit me, I haven't written about the Center. I maintain a Facebook page for the Center, but how else should I be reaching out to prospective patrons?

I do hear from many people that there is so much information online that they don't feel the need to come to the FHC. As long as they are working on family history somewhere, I am happy, but they are missing out on the excellent resources that the FHC has available. So why should they visit the FHC? Here are just a couple reasons to visit your local FHC.

1) Expert Assistance: Our Center has 7 consultants available during the week. We are open to the public most Mondays and Fridays 10:00 am - 2:00 pm and Wednesdays 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm. We are also open for LDS members on Sundays during Sunday School hour. There are always at least two consultants available on Monday and Friday and on Wednesday and Sunday we have 5 or more consultants available to give personal assistance.

2) Equipment: We have 7 computers in the FHC and one printer/scanner. We also have several film and fiche readers. The printer/scanner can scan your family photos directly to your Gallery in FamilySearch.

3) The FHC Portal: The FHC Portal is a collection of sites which you can access free from the Family History Center. This collection includes:
  • 19th Century British Library Digital Newspaper Archive
  • The American Civil War Research Database
  • American Ancestors
  • Ancestry
  • Findmypast
  • Fold3
  • Geneanet
  • Kinpoint
  • MyHeritage
  • Newspaper Archive
  • Paper Trail
  • ProQuest Obituary Collection
  • Puzzilla
  • and ArkivDigital Online

4) Trained Staff: We have been working to make sure all our FHC Consultants are properly trained. Through regular in person and online training, we are building a set of expertise that can provide you the help you need to find those elusive ancestors.

5) Record Access From Salt Lake: You can order microfilms and other records from the Salt Lake Family History Library and have them sent to your local FHC where you can take your time looking through them. It's much cheaper than flying out there for a record but maybe not as much fun.

6) Our secret weapon: Ok, if you come in on Wednesday you get me. Yeah, I know, now the doors will be busting down on Wednesday evenings.

7) Special Events: We are working on providing special events so the patrons get to know us better. Our first event of 2017 will be the Indian River Genealogy Conference. This is a free event scheduled for Saturday, March 18 (8:00 am - 4:00 pm). You can visit the Facebook site for more information on this conference. We are also planning for an open house and other events during the year.

8) In Home Assistance: For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we can provide in-home assistance on your family history. All you have to do is contact one of our Consultants and set up a time. We will take the opportunity to get to know you better, figure out your research interests, and develop a research plan for you to achieve your research goals.

We welcome all visitors from beginners to experienced researchers. We are called to serve the members of our Church as well as the people in our communities. Our Center is located at 3980 12th Street, Vero Beach, Florida and our phone number is 772-770-2361. Come visit us and learn more about your family's history.

So, how do you find your local Family History Center? One way is to go to and click on the [Get Help] link. From there select [Contact Us] and enter your zip code. This will provide a map to your local Family History Center. Once you locate your FHC give them a call and let them know you are coming to visit them, I'm sure they will be glad to hear from you.

No comments: