Frequently Asked Questions
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What is FamilySearch?
FamilySearch, historically known as the Genealogical Society of Utah, is dedicated to the discovering and preserving of a record of the family of mankind, introducing individuals to their ancestors through the widespread access of records, and collaborating with others who share this vision.
What does FamilySearch do?
- Assistance with capturing, preserving, protecting, and providing access to data
- Publication of records on the Internet under the record custodian’s name
- Driving patron traffic to the record custodian's website through FamilySearch.org, thus increasing site viability
- Leading in the creation of national and international standards for data creation, publication, exchange, and synchronization
- Significantly lower costs associated with acquiring, preserving, or providing access to data
Which records does FamilySearch preserve?
FamilySearch preserves historical records that can be used to uniquely identify deceased individuals and link them together in families. The collections of FamilySearch include documents such as civil registration records; church records; and probate, census, land, tax, and military records. The collection also contains compiled sources such as family histories, clan and lineage genealogies, oral pedigrees, and local histories. See Preservation Services for more information.
Why does FamilySearch gather records?
FamilySearch gathers records for genealogical purposes, providing family history resources to those who are searching their ancestry.
How is FamilySearch funded?
FamilySearch is entirely funded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
How can I contact the representative for my country?
Find the representative for your region on the contact page.
Where can I see copies of the records in FamilySearch’s collection?
As permitted by law and contractual obligations, you can access the information and records in FamilySearch’s collection at an increasing number of places throughout the world, including the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, an extensive network of FamilySearch centers worldwide, other genealogical and educational institutions, and through the Internet. You can find the FamilySearch center nearest to you by using the search engine on the FamilySearch centers web page. See the Record Access program for more information.
Where can I learn about what has been microfilmed in my area?
Collection statistics and brief histories of FamilySearch’s activities are available for many countries, states, and provinces. Select your country from the list provided on the Worldwide Activities page. To view the microfilms in your area, select bibliographic descriptions of FamilySearch’s holdings in the Family History Library Catalog.
Where can I find out which records FamilySearch is currently, or will soon be, acquiring?
FamilySearch does not provide information on current or future projects. The first public notice of FamilySearch's newly acquired records appears in the Family History Library Catalog.
What is the Granite Mountain Records Vault?
The Granite Mountain Records Vault is a storage facility constructed to safeguard the master copies of the records acquired by FamilySearch. It was excavated from a mountainside near downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. See Preservation Services.
What is GEDCOM?
GEDCOM (Genealogical Data Communications) is a file format specification that allows different genealogical software programs to share data with each other. The Family and Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints developed GEDCOM to provide a flexible, uniform format for exchanging computerized genealogical data. This standard is supported by FamilySearch Internet, by the family history products that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints produces, as well as by the vendors of most of the major genealogical software products.
Why are Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) interested in family history?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints emphasizes the importance of the family and the value of learning about their heritage. In addition, the Church teaches that family bonds, the most sacred of all human relationships, can last eternally. Church members believe that through religious rites performed in holy temples, husbands and wives, parents, and children can receive the promise that they can be united forever-even after death. This is all made possible because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. They believe that temple blessings are available to those that have died as well as those who are now living. Thus, members of the Church feel strongly motivated to seek information about their deceased ancestors and participate in temple rites in their behalf. They believe that those who are dead retain their identity and free will and therefore can either accept or reject the rites performed for them.
What is the Family History Library?
The Family History Library, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the main repository of all the information the Genealogical Society of Utah has collected. It contains more than 2.4 million rolls of microfilm. See About the Family History Library for more information.
What are FamilySearch centers?
FamilySearch centers are branches of the Family History Library. Many people are not able to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, to use the Family History Library. Local FamilySearch centers make the Family History Library's microfilm and electronic data collection accessible to those interested in researching their ancestry. See FamilySearch centers for more information.
Does FamilySearch do genealogical research for families or individuals?
No. FamilySearch provides research materials that families and individuals may use to trace their own family history.
Who uses the libraries of the FamilySearch?
The libraries are open to all researchers; most patrons are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.