Sunday, January 16, 2011

My successful (not scary) LDS adventure

I wrote two days ago about my decision to rip off the Band-Aid and visit a Church of Latter Day Saints Family History Center. I will admit that I was afraid to venture into a LDS church. Not because I thought they would eat me, but because I am inherently shy and sometimes find it hard to try things out of my comfort zone. So yesterday I begged my husband to go with me to visit one of the Family History Centers in our area. We loaded up the car with both children and all drove out to the church.

It was a Saturday, so I knew the FHC would be open. I wasn't sure if it was part of the actual church or a separate building so we just entered the church, which was not locked, and started walking around. We didn't see a soul in the building until we walked past several class rooms where it looked like they were having some type of religious class, like a Sunday school. Other than that we saw no one and after walking around the whole church we had still not found the FHC. The church was essentially a rectangle with a long hallway all around the rectangle and the chapel and a gym in the center. After walking around the entire rectangle without finding the FHC, I poked my head in the gym where I found two church members prepping for a party. I told them we were lost and they showed us where the FHC was...we had walked right past it. It had a small sign but was no different looking then any of the other rooms.

On this particular day, the FHC was manned by two volunteers, neither of which knew too much about ordering films from the main LDS library in Salt Lake City. While they might not have known very much about the process, they were very nice and welcoming and even took the time to chat with my husband and offer a coloring book and crayons to my preschooler.

The bottom line is that the trip I was fearing was far from scary. The church members were very nice and helpful and made me feel welcome. I do wish that the church had directional signs to show visitors where different places are, but then again the church is not made for visitors like me. I have several suggestions when visiting an LDS Family History Center:

1. Call to make sure that they will be open on the day and time you want to visit. The FHC I visited changes their hours quite often based on when volunteers can come. Just because the FamilySearch website lists particular hours does not mean that the church is always able to be open at that time.

2. If you are going to the FHC having already located the film you would like to loan from the main LDS archives, be sure to print off a copy of the Title Details page from the FamilySearch site. I have shown a copy below. Having this document makes it much easier for the volunteers to fill out the paperwork and they can attach it to your order form should there be any questions.

3. Bring cash to order your films. There is a fee of $5.50 for each film. If possible, bring exact change.

The volunteers told me I would get a call when my films arrive. I will have one month to view them before they have to be sent back, so my adventures will continue. But I am no longer nervous and while I do not know yet if the films I order will actually further my genealogy research I am so happy I tried! 

1 comment:

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

So glad to hear that you ripped off that Band-Aid! I love my teeny tiny Family History Center. I blogged about it often, trying to get others to take the step to learn about this great resource.