Some leaders negativity about Family History Center use.
We received a somewhat negative email about the opening of the Family History Center and it's future usefulness. We would like to hear or use some of the latest from the General Authorities regarding the future of Family History Centers to counter some of the negative remarks that we've received.
A Family History Center, no matter where it is physically located provides two services unique to the center. By unique it means that they are not supported in any Stake, Ward or home environment because of legal agreements. These two services are the Portal access to subscription web sites and access of digital images which are restricted based on legal agreements. These services might be consolidated to support a multiple stake environment. I don't know of an alternative to the special VPN network at each FHC currently.3
The Family History Center is the only place those in the Community can access some of the "Restricted" records due to contracts. Our quiet re-opening by appointment only has made us extremely popular with the local genealogists in the area who have waited over a year for access to those files... They would fly to Salt Lake City - but that library is closed. In addition - 20% of our volunteer Center staff are community members - and in many ways they are our best. One has volunteered every Tuesday evening since 1981. He feels is it like a home for him. He gives trainings and his expertise is highly sought after. Our community member helpers know how to help patrons find and properly prepare names to take to the Temple - how to reserve, when to reserve and how to print Temple cards. Where else would this happen? We have an African American Heritage Family Search Focus Group every Thursday on Zoom and we are involving the BYU Record Linking Lab in a Tacoma-Pierce County Records Reconstruction Project - using the community to quickly put African American Heritage County Census records and others on Family Search in Family Groups as a Community Outreach project involving other churchs, inner city groups of all kinds. We join with other genealogy and History Society's in the area - attend their zoom monthly meetings and they attend ours. We are a link to the community to bring them to Family History. We are involved in our community and they are involved with us. We have three stakes and half of another stake supplying us with workers. Our patrons come from a wide area. We supply trainers for girls camp events, ward and stake trainings, missionary events, other church's activities - pretty much whatever we are asked to do. I think it is important to make the Center a Center of activity - more than just the building - and then the value will be obvious. We are only open 4 hours a day 3 days per week now - and all buy appointment - but we see people newly baptised or reactivated coming to the Center to prepare for their first Temple trip, and will begin to encourage families to come in to prep for baptism trips . We are just switching from 7 allowed in the Center at a time - to 10 - if three use laptops (not connected to the portal)... so all can be spread out. All wear masks. The Family Hiistory Center is Vital to the Family History Happening in an area. Bring your leaders in and help them have a Discovery Experience in the Center. Help them feel the spirit there.3