Jose Mier of Sun Valley, CA Looks at Salk Lake Family History Library

Family history library Jose Mier Sun Valley, CA

Jose Mier travels virtually from Sun Valley, CA to the Family History Library in Utah. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, is renowned as one of the foremost resources for genealogical research globally. Operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), this library attracts thousands of visitors each year, ranging from amateur genealogists to seasoned researchers. With its vast collection of records, advanced facilities, and dedicated staff, the Family History Library stands as a cornerstone for those seeking to uncover their ancestry and family history.

History of the Family History Library

Founding and Early Years

The Family History Library was established in 1894, originally as part of the Genealogical Society of Utah, which was created by the LDS Church. The society aimed to assist church members in tracing their lineage and performing temple ordinances for their ancestors, a practice integral to LDS beliefs. Initially, the library’s collection was modest, focusing primarily on local records.

Growth and Expansion

Over the decades, the library expanded its collection significantly. By the mid-20th century, it had amassed a considerable number of records from around the world. The construction of the current library building, located in downtown Salt Lake City, was completed in 1985, providing a modern and spacious facility to house its extensive archives.

Family history library Jose Mier Sun Valley, CA
Family history library Jose Mier Sun Valley, CA

Facilities and Resources

Physical Collections

The Family History Library’s physical collection is vast, encompassing more than 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records, 727,000 microfiche, 356,000 books, serials, and other formats, and over 4,500 periodicals and 3,725 electronic resources. These records span the globe, with significant holdings from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

Digital Resources

In recent years, the library has digitized a substantial portion of its collection, making millions of records accessible online. This digitization effort is part of the broader FamilySearch initiative, which aims to provide free access to genealogical data., the library’s online portal, offers searchable databases, digitized images of original records, and a variety of research tools and resources.

Research Assistance

The Family History Library is staffed by professional genealogists and volunteers who provide research assistance to visitors. This support includes helping researchers navigate the library’s resources, offering guidance on genealogical research methods, and providing expertise in specific geographical or ethnic areas of research.

Technological Facilities

The library is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to aid researchers. This includes high-resolution scanners, computer workstations, and access to premium genealogical databases. Visitors can also attend workshops and training sessions on using genealogical software and other research tools.

Notable Collections

United States Records

The library’s collection of United States records is comprehensive, including census records, military records, immigration records, and vital records (birth, marriage, and death certificates). These records are invaluable for tracing American ancestry and understanding the historical context of family histories.

European Records

European genealogical records constitute a significant portion of the library’s holdings. This includes parish registers, civil registration records, and probate records from countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Scandinavia. These records are crucial for researchers tracing their roots back to Europe.

Latin American Records

The library has extensive collections from Latin American countries, including Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. These records include church registers, civil registration records, and notarial records, providing rich genealogical data for those with Latin American heritage.

Asian and African Records

Although more challenging to collect, the library also houses records from Asia and Africa. These include church records, colonial records, and other documents that provide insights into the genealogical histories of these diverse regions.

Research Strategies and Tips

Starting Your Research

For those new to genealogical research, the library offers a variety of resources to get started. It’s recommended to begin with what you know: gather information from family members, collect family documents, and record known details. Using this foundation, researchers can then explore the library’s resources to fill in gaps and uncover new information.

Utilizing the Catalog

The Family History Library catalog is a crucial tool for navigating the vast collection. The catalog can be accessed online through and allows users to search by location, surname, subject, and more. Understanding how to use the catalog effectively can significantly enhance the research process.

Attending Workshops and Classes

The library offers a range of workshops and classes designed to improve research skills. These sessions cover various topics, from beginner-level introductions to advanced research techniques. Attending these can provide valuable insights and improve the efficiency of your research.

Leveraging Technology

The library’s technological facilities, including high-resolution scanners and computer workstations, are essential for modern genealogical research. Learning to use these tools effectively can help you make the most of your time at the library and ensure you capture all relevant data accurately.

Success Stories

Many researchers have experienced significant breakthroughs in their genealogical research thanks to the resources and support provided by the Family History Library. These success stories often involve uncovering long-lost relatives, discovering historical family connections, and gaining a deeper understanding of one’s heritage.

Challenges and Solutions

Navigating Large Collections

One of the main challenges at the Family History Library is navigating the vast collections. This can be overwhelming for new researchers. However, by taking advantage of the library’s catalog and seeking assistance from staff, this challenge can be effectively managed.

Language Barriers

Many of the records at the library are in languages other than English. This can be a barrier for researchers. The library offers resources and guidance on understanding foreign-language records, including translation services and language-specific research guides.

Preservation and Access

While the library has digitized many records, some documents remain in fragile physical form. Ensuring the preservation of these records while providing access to researchers is an ongoing challenge. The library continually works on preservation techniques and strategies to balance these needs.

Community and Collaboration

The Family History Library is not just a repository of records; it is a hub for the genealogical community. Researchers from around the world come to the library to collaborate, share knowledge, and support each other’s efforts. This sense of community is a significant aspect of the library’s appeal.

Future Developments

The Family History Library is continually evolving to meet the needs of modern researchers. Future developments include further digitization of records, enhancements to the FamilySearch online platform, and expanded educational programs. These initiatives aim to make genealogical research more accessible and efficient for all.


The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is an unparalleled resource for genealogical research, offering a vast collection of records, advanced technological facilities, and expert assistance. Whether you are a novice genealogist or an experienced researcher, the library provides the tools and support needed to uncover your family’s history and heritage. Its ongoing commitment to preservation, accessibility, and education ensures that it will remain a cornerstone of genealogical research for years to come.