Family History Centres

Family History Centres of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Since its foundation in 1894, the first Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah in the United States, has become the largest of its kind in the world.

Most of the main libraries records have been acquired through an extensive microfilming programme that began in 1938 and continues to the present.

Over 200 microfilmers are filming original records in courthouses, churches and other archives in many countries throughout the world, including South Africa. These microfilmers send the microfilms to Salt Lake City, where they are preserved in a vault in the granite mountains nearby. Copies of the microfilms can then be sent to the various family history centres worldwide.

The Family History Centre Libraries in South Africa have copies of the main libraries catalogue and important indexes on microfiche. They also have reference aids, research papers and other publications that can help you.

While previous research can be very helpful the information may be inaccurate or incomplete. Much of the information has been submitted by library patrons and has not been verified by the Family History Library, so always evaluate the information you find very carefully.

The International Genealogical Index (IGI)

The IGI is a computerized index of names extracted from various records. The 1989 edition lists the names of over 180 000 000 deceased persons. It is available on microfiche and at newer or larger libraries on CD ROM.

The IGI lists such information as the names of the parents or spouse and the dates and locations of births, christenings, marriages and other events.

Family Group Records Collection

The Family Group Records Collection consists of more than 8 000 000 Family Group Record Forms. These contain information on families from all over the world.

The Family Group Records Collection is divided into two parts:

Both sections are available on microfilm. The film numbers are listed in the author/title section of the FHLC under Family Group Records Collection. For the Archive section you can only request 16mm films.

Family Histories

The main library has thousands of family histories, most of which are in book form, however some are microfilm or microfiche copies.

To find out if the main library has a history that includes your ancestor, look for your ancestor's name in the surname section of the FHLC catalogue. This section does not list every name in the libraries' records, but does show the major families included in each family history.

Family Registry

The Family Registry can help you to find others who have already done or are in the process of doing research on your ancestor. People who are interested in working with others have submitted the names of individuals or families they are looking for to the Family Registry. These names are listed on microfiche at the family history centre.

Why not submit a form and list your details in the Family Registry. There are no fees for this service.

A great many other documents such as Census Returns, Birth, Marriage and Death Registers and the like can be obtained, on loan to your local History Centre, from the main library in Salt Lake City, at a nominal cost.

NOTE: The Family History Centres are only open between certain hours on certain days and in some cases on Saturdays. Please check your local centre for a schedule of times.

Genealogical Societies

Genealogical Societies exist in many countries of the world, and South Africa is no exception.

The Genealogical Society of South Africa (GSSA) can be contacted through their home page.

Members of the GSSA do not undertake research on behalf of researchers but they will guide, assist and teach you how to go about researching your own family.

In addition, the GSSA publishes "Familia," their own quarterly journal which contains valuable information of interest to anyone researching their South African roots.

Other Associations and Societies

There are a number of other associations and societies in South Africa dealing primarily with specific settler groups or areas:

The Huguenot Society

The aim of the Huguenot Society of South Africa is to preserve the Huguenot heritage in South Africa. It collects information about the Huguenots, arranges meetings and carries out genealogical research on the Huguenot and related families.

The Huguenot Society has their own Web Site

1820 Settlers (Albany Museum)

The records available at the 1820 Settlers Museum include:

The Genealogist is available to carry out research for members of the public for a fee. The genealogist can also consult the registers and other documents in the Cory Library on behalf of the client. Alternatively the Cory Library genealogists can be contacted directly, as follows:

Contact the Cory Library Researchers, Mrs Sally Poole or Mrs Elizabeth de Wet for more information or visit the Library Web Site.

For additional information about the Albany Museum contact Mr William Jervois.

Genealogical Institute of South Africa (GISA)

The documents available at GISA are:

Most of these sites have Internet connectivity, and provide Search Engines to obtain data that they have made available for publication.