Family History Library

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Family History Library
Family History Library - Salt Lake City, Utah - 2 May 2020.jpg
Entrance to the Library
CountryUnited States
TypeGenealogy Library
LocationSalt Lake City, Utah
Coordinates40°46′13.44″N 111°53′39.3108″W / 40.7704000°N 111.894253000°W / 40.7704000; -111.894253000Coordinates: 40°46′13.44″N 111°53′39.3108″W / 40.7704000°N 111.894253000°W / 40.7704000; -111.894253000
Branches5,000+ (2018)
Family History Centers
Size3,000,000 item (2010) Edit this on Wikidata
WebsiteFamily History Library

The Family History Library (FHL) is a genealogical research facility in downtown Salt Lake City. The library is open to the public free of charge and is operated by FamilySearch, the genealogical arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).


The origins of the FHL can be traced to the founding of the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) in 1894. Through time the FHL has changed locations within Salt Lake City as follows:

The current building, just west of Temple Square was opened on October 23, 1985, and cost $8.2 million.[2]

In 1938, the GSU began to microfilm records which contained genealogical data from around the world, and today this microfilm makes up much of the library's collection. Today the GSU is more commonly known as FamilySearch, and in September 2021, completed digitizing many of its microfilm collections to be shared online. In 2017, the FHL opened a new center for interactive discovery experiences.[3]

1999 shooting[edit]

On April 15, 1999, 70-year-old Sergei Babarin entered the FHL's lobby and began shooting. A security officer and one female patron were killed while several others were injured. One hour and 45 minutes[4] after the shooting began, Salt Lake police shot and fatally wounded Babarin in an exchange of gunfire. Babarin's family indicated he had a history of schizophrenia, a claim not corroborated by the Valley Community Mental Health Clinic.[5] This occurred only four months after a separate shooting incident a block away at the Triad Center.[5]


Its main purpose is to fulfill one of the LDS Church fundamental tenets: that deceased family members, especially ancestors, can be baptized by proxy, as well as receive other saving ordinances. These ordinances are performed in temples.[6]


The FHL is located Salt Lake City, Utah. It is the largest genealogical library in the world.[7] The library holds genealogical records for over 110 countries, territories, and possessions. Its collections include over 1.6 million rolls of microfilmed records onsite and access the total collection of more than 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records; 727,000 microfiche; 356,000 books, serials, and other formats; 4,500 periodicals; 3,725 electronic resources including subscriptions to the major genealogical websites.[8]

The FHL offers research assistance to help patrons trace their own family history. Professional genealogists and volunteers offer assistance in about 30 languages, which includes reading and translating genealogically relevant documents. The FHL also offers free one-on-one consultations on difficult research problems. Additionally, there are classes on genealogical research topics free to the public[9] and classes available online.[10]


Branches of the FHL are called Family History Centers (FHC). While there are over 4,400 FHCs operating in more than 134 countries there are only about 17 major regional branch library class facilities. The others are ward, branch and stake facilities with at least one or more genealogical computers.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History of the Family History Library". Retrieved 11 March 2010.
  2. ^ R. Scott Lloyd (23 October 2010). "Happy 25th birthday, Family History Library!". Church News. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  3. ^ "LDS Family History Library opens new center for interactive experiences", Standard-Examiner, 11 February 2017. Retrieved on 4 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Library shooting incident -- the key events A chronology from 10:30 a.m. to just after 5". Deseret News. April 16, 1999. Retrieved 2013-02-19.
  5. ^ a b Ogata, Wendy (13 February 2007). "Infamous shooting incidents in Salt Lake County". Deseret News. Retrieved 2013-02-19.
  6. ^ "Family History". LDS Church. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  7. ^ "FamilySearch's census records work a gold mine for historians, genealogists". Arkansas Online. 2022-04-02. Retrieved 2022-12-24.
  8. ^ "About the Family History Library". Archived from the original on February 6, 2007. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  9. ^ "Family History Library Classes". Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  10. ^ "Research Series Classes Online". Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  11. ^ "About Family History Centers". Retrieved March 11, 2010.

External links[edit]