02 February 2011

My First Family History Center Visit

FHC     Today I finally visited the local Family History Center for the first time. With the FHC located only three miles from my house, I'd been procrastinating, but finally visited today with my mom.

     This particular location has a dedicated entrance for the FHC at the back of the main building. There was a sign next to the door and a call button for someone to come let us in.

     The main room for the FHC was only about 10 feet by 10 feet and had four computers along the walls. When we entered, three of the computers were in use.  It appeared that there were two volunteers/instructors there, but they were both helping others. When we said that we'd never been before the folks looked a little concerned. It was clear that they were helping folks who had no experience even reading a census form. They were obviously worried that we would need the same level of help and they were already busy with others.

receipts     At that time though, an elderly lady came in. She said that she usually worked there on Tuesday and was up there to help someone else, but could help us until that person arrived. We told her that we were already experienced with genealogy research and wanted to order some microfilm. She walked us through that and we chatted a bit. She said that she was very surprised at how busy they were today and that often there were no researchers there at all. It also turns out that she had attended the Family History Expo and we chatted about some of the classes we'd attended.

     Due to how busy they were, I was unable to find out what, if any, materials they had on site. I did notice the microfilm room, which had between four and six machines, with two of them in use by other researchers (so that's six other folks up there doing research total). The three rolls of microfilm that I ordered will be ordered tomorrow and I was told to expect them in two to three weeks. Hopefully when I go back, they won't be as busy and I'll be able to learn more about the materials that might be available onsite.


Dee said...

I've been putting off my first visit to a family history center because the two closest to me are 35-45 minutes away. I really need to make some time, though, because after researching in the catalog, it looks like there are a couple sources that would probably be helpful in getting past my husband's gggrandparents.

Sarah Farr said...

I'm glad that you finally went! Sounds like it was a good start. Hopefully next time will be a little more productive for you.

Phil Presley said...

Looks like the Mormon church near my house . . .

Ruby Craft said...

Phil it is. The Family History Center is provided by the Mormons. The volunteers their were very friendly. They don't talk about religion but love to talk genealogy. The church has a huge genealogy research center in Utah. From the local chapters you can get help with your research and order items from the main location.

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

In my own experience, I have found the experience level of the volunteers varies. Some really know their stuff, some can't find the order forms... I've started to schedule my visits during times that my favorite volunteers are there.

But they're all very nice and I enjoy my trips to the FHC. I hope yours goes well. It's pretty neat to get the notice that your films have arrived. Good luck!

Kathleen Moore said...

My first visit was much like yours except I never got to the ordering part. For the record though, they did refer me to the Wednesday afternoon lady because she was more on my level of research. I just haven't had a chance to get in there at that time.

I'm much like you in the way that I'm so hesitant to try new things blindly and by myself.

They were all very nice though and I actually had a church member introduce me so that helped break the ice a little bit.


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