LOGAN – Logan FamilySearch Library, located at 81 North 100 East, in the back of the Logan Tabernacle, is a branch of the largest genealogical library in the world: the Family History Library in Salt Lake City operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And thousands of people visit the Logan library every year. In 2018, there were 14,400 visitors to the Logan FamilySearch Library, 734 of those people were not members of the Latter-day Saint church.
There are more than 5,100 branches of the church’s genealogical library in 140 countries throughout the world. The Logan branch of the Family History Center has 100 well-trained missionaries ready to assist anyone (regardless of religious persuasion) do genealogy research.
Elder Michael and Sister Sherry Cook from North Logan were called by the church about a year ago to lead the work in the Family History Center in the Logan Tabernacle.
The most important function of the FamilySearch Library is helping anyone research their family history, said Elle Christensen, the Public Relations missionary for the library.
“We do a lot of research here and we help a lot of people, whether they are members of the church or not, find family,” said Christensen. “We don’t do any proselyting in here at all, so people can feel safe.”
They have visitors from all over the valley, from Preston to Paradise, from Brigham City to Tremonton, and from all over the world.
“Our summer citizens love it here, they like it because everything is free and they get a lot of help.”
Christensen said she came to the family history center with an old black and white wedding photo of her grandfather and grandmother, wanting information. From that single photograph, she found 500 names of relatives she didn’t know she had.
She has been a missionary in the library for four years now and said those kinds of things happen all the time.
One of the things they are pushing now is video histories.
“We are trying to get return missionaries to come in and do video recordings of their missionary experiences,” she said. “Wouldn’t it be great for a grandfather to pull a video off the shelf and show it to his grandchildren?”
The video would show how he looked and sounded at the time.
“Can you imagine the impact that would have on his grandchildren,” she said. “The video service is not only for returned missionaries, anyone who wants to come in and tell their story is welcome.”
Christensen said there is also an outreach program where a missionary can go to a home, or anywhere else within reason, to make an audio or video recording of someone telling their life story. Last year, there were nearly 1,000 people who used outreach services.
She also said there is an app for cell phones that people can use to do family history on their phones.
The Logan facility also has several state-of-the-art ways to save people’s memories.
For photos, there are flatbed, negative and 35 mm scanners. For converting videos, they can reproduce VHS, DVD, 8mm and mini digital video tapes to a flash drive.
For audio services, there are digital conversion capabilities for cassettes, reel-to-reel and vinyl records.
There are host software programs available to visitors, all at no charge.
The library provides resources to assist people in the study of genealogy, including one-on-one assistance, access to internet to search records and classes on how to find relatives.
Sister Sherry Cook said the genealogy library in Logan began in the 1930’s when community members paid the Cache County Library to subscribe to a genealogy magazine.
The Cache County Library Board began ordering a few genealogy books for the community. Community members campaigned to raise funds to get more books, microfilms and microfilm readers. The single shelf of books grew to fill the basement of the library.
In 1974, the American Civil Liberties Union complained that the county library was in violation of separation between church and state and threatened to sue. A group of citizens moved some 12,000 books, cabinets and readers in seven hours, Cook said.
By 1992, the library in the Tabernacle had an inventory of 16,000 books, periodicals, manuscripts and 12,000 microfilm rolls on film. There were 20 microfilm readers, eight Epson computers, 2 IBM computers with printers and 20 microfilm readers to go with 15 microfiche readers. During the 2014 remodeling of the building, many of the books and microfilm were digitized.
Today, the Logan FamilySearch Library has tables of computers with internet access to limitless family history information and missionaries waiting to help
The Library is open Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday through Thursday 9:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Friday is open 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.