Genealogical Society becomes part of world's largest family history library
Patti Sells | News-Telegram Feature Editor

June 26, 2004 -- Already recognized for its vast collection of research material, resources just got even better at the Hopkins County Genealogical Society due to its recent acceptance as a new branch library of the largest family history library in the world.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, with its family history and genealogical research houses the largest library of its kind, and now locals will have access to its collection of more than 2.2 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records; 742,000 microfiche; 300,000 books, serials and other formats; and 4,500 periodicals. Its Ancestral File database contains approximately 35.6 million names that are linked into families. The International Genealogical Index database contains around 600 million individual names with an addendum to the International Genealogical Index containing an additional 125 million names.

Records available are from the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa with a majority of the records containing information about persons who lived before 1920.

Approximately 242 cameras are currently microfilming records in over 40 countries, and have already filmed in over 110 countries, territories and possessions. There are 3,700 Family History Centers in 88 countries with more than 100,000 rolls of microfilm circulated through the centers each month.

According to Marynell Bryant, HCGS president, people will now be able to come into the HCGS library and order research material they need from the LDS Library to be used at the new local branch.

"They won't loan to individuals," she explained. "It can only be loaned to a branch library and used on the premises."

People doing family searches will be able to order material for $3.24, according to Bryant, then should allow approximately two weeks for delivery. After delivery, patrons will have 30 days to study material.

"You don't have to be a Mormon, or a member of our society -- this is open to everyone," Bryant said.

With all this information at your fingertips interest in family lineage is on the rise, according to Bryant, who continues to trace her family's roots after many years.

"You don't ever get through," she laughed.

Since records are so accessible now, thanks to the Internet, the possibility of finding family material is endless, she said.

"Twenty years ago all you could do was right a letter to someone about somebody you were trying to gather information about," said Bryant. "Doing research is just so much easier now."

She said while searching, you will have success stories and then you always have that one line of family that you can't seem to find out about. And, according to Bryant, everyone has a few skeletons in their closet.

"No one comes from the perfect family," she said. "But that's just life."

According to Bryant, searching and discovering your family's history is both challenging and rewarding.

"You start with what you know and work backwards," she said. "It's like being a detective. You have to think things through and problem solve. Figure out what resources you have, or can find that will help you in your search. And that's what we have now, one of the best resources there is. For us to get to be a branch library is a really big deal."

HCGS hours are Monday through Friday from 9-5 a.m.

Visit HCGS online at http://gen.1starnet.com/hopkins/

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