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How to do research in the Family History Library
in Salt Lake City, Utah
by Gary L. Foster

5.  Advanced areas of Research

Learn to use the Research Guidance tool on the FamilySearch website to guide you in priority order as you go.  The Research Guidance tool is very easy to use.  It steps you through information that you need to do in a step-by-step process.

Sources in the Family History Library Catalog lists the records available that may contain genealogical information to help you find your ancestor.  Each record listing is accompanied by a brief description and research notes, as well as the call numbers to help you locate the record.

Research Helps is an easy-to-use index collection of all research helps on the FamilySearch site.  It includes a lot of great educational and research materials including:

  • Research Outlines
    A collection of over 150 research outlines which  describe content, use and availability of records that can help you find information about your ancestors who resided in a specific geographic location.
    Under each heading in a research outline, you will find information about a specific record category, which will include such things as:

    • Various records which are available
    • Years of availability for each record
    • Family History Library's book, microfilm and microfiche numbers
    • Titles of books containing compiled records 
    • Contact information for other repositories of records

    How-to Guides exist for each of the U.S. states and Canadian provinces, as well as many other countries and regions including Europe, Scandinavia, Latin American, the Caribbean and Australia.  These invaluable research outlines will help you to understand what records you should be searching for and will save you countless hours of time.  They should be referred to by beginners and experienced researchers alike! 

  • Forms
    Free downloadable forms include timelines, census worksheets, research logs, pedigree charts and 'to do' lists. 

  • Guides
    Research guides which explain step-by-step how to do your research in a variety of topics including census records, indexes and collections, birth/death/marriage records, maps and more. Other research guides include lists of important historical events by area and topics for beginners just getting started in genealogy research.  

  • Maps
    Great research maps cover a wide variety of time periods and countries around the world. Especially useful for determining boundary changes. 

  • Word Lists
    Lists containing words from various countries with their English translations. The words included in these lists are those that you are likely to find in genealogical sources.

Browse Web Sites on the FamilySearch website for additional places to research on the Internet.

Special Collections:

Church members use the library's Special Collections to research deceased ancestors who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to confirm ordinances performed in LDS temples. Church members perform sacred ordinances in temples for themselves and by proxy for deceased ancestors. These ordinances make it possible for family relationships to continue after death. A valid LDS temple recommend is required to enter Special Collections. Special Collections is located on the second floor of the Family History Library.

The Ordinance Index on computer (part of FamilySearch) contains most of the information from LDS temple records. You should check the index before using Special Collections.

Records in Special Collections:

  • Endowments for the living (after 1847)
  • Sealings of husband and wife (early–July 1996)
  • Sealings of children to parents for the living (early–July 1996)
  • The Endowment Index (1842–1970) (also known as the TIB or Temple Records Index Bureau)

While in the Family History Library go to the reference desk on each floor and ask who do you know that could help me find information on ....?  Some of my best answers have come by simply asking this question.

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