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From the Green Valley News, Friday May 7 2006, page B8

Genealogy Today, by Betty Malesky

Using the Sahuarita Family History Center

The largest genealogy library in the U.S. is the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, supported by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The good news is, the library is still growing, and you need not travel to Utah to take advantage of it.

The majority of the library’s holdings are available for rent on microfilm or microfiche at Family History Centers (FHC) all over the world, including locally in Sahuarita. The Family History Library’s entire collection is online at and may be accessed at home or at the FHC. The online library catalog offers several different search options including Place, Surname, Keyword, Title, Film/Fiche, Author, Subject, or Call Number.

If you are new to genealogical research or not an experienced computer user, a volunteer will help you until you’re comfortable searching the catalog on your own. Many volunteers are members of the Green Valley Genealogical Society and will be able to provide suggestions and answer basic research questions.

The Place search is the most productive for long distance research because it focuses on records for a specific area, including films of original source records such as wills, deeds, etc., for the U.S. and many areas of the world. The Place search returns a list of all available items for the place entered, for instance the county or town plus the state or country. Items are categorized by record type with each category displaying all of the related material shelved at the FHL.

A Surname search returns a list of all items containing the desired surname either in the title or in the description of the book or film. A search for a common surname may present hundreds of entries. While books are not rented many books have been photocopied and rented on microfilm or microfiche. Remember surname books often pertain to only one branch of a family and won’t contain material about other branches beyond the first generation or so that bore the name.

The Keyword search may help you locate a resource or topic when you aren’t sure exactly how it might be catalogued. Enter a word or phrase that describes what you want to find. The Subject search uses Library of Congress subject headings. Specific resources are located via the Author, Title, Film/Fiche, or Call Number searches.

When your search produces an item you would like to view, copy the title and film or fiche number to order it at the local Center. Microfilms rent for $5.50 each and microfiche for about $.15 per sheet. Once an order is received the borrower may use the rentals for several weeks at the Center and renew if necessary. Several viewers are housed at the Sahuarita FHC as well as a microfilm viewer/printer that makes a paper copy of a film image. If you’ve never used a viewer, volunteers at the Center will show you how to use the machines.

The Sahuarita Family History Center is located at 17800 S. Camino de las Quintas, one block east of La Cañada. When you see the Animax Park sign, turn right at the next street. The Center will be on your right at the end of the street. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 10 AM until 4 PM. Call the Family History Center at 399-1077 for open hours during the summer, June through September.

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