Salt Lake City is bursting with activities to keep the whole family happy. Whether it is hiking, camping, winter sports, concerts, restaurants, museums, or amusement parks, the city offers something for everyone. One of the best reasons to bring the family here, however, is to discover where your family actually comes from.
There are two locations at Temple Square that are solely dedicated to family history, The FamilySearch Center and Family History Library, and you can utilize their services free of charge. The database is curated by the Family History Library, which was founded in 1894 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The original intent was to document Mormon family history but collections have grown over the years to include families from all over the world, with records from over 110 countries, dating back hundreds of years. And, the collection is continually growing. Records are collected through a variety of methods, including filmed documents from other archives, recorded oral histories, digitized photographs, and printed records.
The FamilySearch Center in The Joseph Smith Memorial Building allows you to research your genealogy in easy and fun ways by bringing your family tree to life with interactive multimedia displays and the help of professional staff. The digitized collections allow you to view and hear recorded genealogies of names, photographs, and stories. This visit offers plenty of family entertainment as well, with life-size exhibitions of immigrants and pioneers who first established lineages in this country. You can even get your picture taken on the replicated pier of Ellis Island, where hundreds of thousands of our predecessors first set foot in the United States.
At the Discovery Center, part of the FamilySearch Center, you can find out where your ancestors used to live and take a virtual tour to learn what their lives may have been like. Continue exploring the Center to learn the meaning of your own name, or to see what historical events took place in the year you were born. You can even contribute to the database by stepping into a recording booth to answer questions or share family stories.
The Family History Library helps you get more in depth with your genealogy. Here you can get top-notch personal assistance and have access to thousands of printed, physical records in the form of books, microfilms and other documents. You can even contribute to the collection if you bring names, birth records, photographs, videos, or any other records of family members to the library. Professional archivists will carefully scan the information into the electronic database and safely return your memorabilia.
Anyone can walk in and start learning about their roots, but it helps to begin in advance by making a free account at FamilySearch.org where you can access all the same electronic data that the Family History Library contains. Once you have a starting point with the online search features, you can enter the FamilySearch Center knowing exactly who to look for.
A goal of family vacation is to grow closer as a family. What better way to do this than to discover your family’s roots? Don’t miss out on a visit to the FamilySearch Center or Family History Library when you are in downtown Salt Lake. This is the perfect indoor activity when you need to escape the heat, the rain, or just get off your feet for a little while. And you will come out imbued with newfound knowledge and appreciation for your own heritage and the lives your ancestors lived.
Links and contact information:
- Make a free account and start your genealogy research in advance online
Multimedia displays, interactive exhibits, and personalized help for genealogy research
15 East South Temple Street, Main Floor Salt Lake City, Utah 84150-0401 Phone:1-801-240-4085
The master collection of electronic and physical records, where you get really deep into the entire database, and get personalized help for your research. You can also bring your own family records to contribute.
35 North West Temple Street Salt Lake City, Utah, 84150
What you can do prior to your Family History Library visit to make your research as streamlined as possible
- Information and research assistance by phone 1-866-406-1830
Originally written for Utah Office of Tourism.