“A Brief Introduction to the Church History Library”
Fri., 28 August 2009, 4:30PM.
Salt Lake Family History Expo
| “A Brief Introduction to the Church History Library” [not to be confused with the Family History Library.] |
New Church History Library (CHL) opened 22 June 2009.
Showing picture of special collections reading room.
Q. Are digital cameras allowed.
A. Not presently, but are reconsidering that policy.
|Special Collections Reading Room |
Rules of use for special collections (same as other archives):
- Leave stuff in lockers.
- No food, drink, pens.
- Laptops OK.
- Handle items with care.
|Usually you'll view microfilm or digital images. |
Major collection types:
|Unfortunately, the catalog is not on the Internet. |
[Although since inside the Church firewall you can see it, you can probably see it at the FHL.]
- 1830 edition Book of Mormon.
- Book of Commandments, personal copy from Wilford Woodruff.
- All Church periodicals (Some gaps in foreign. If you have old copies of Church Periodicals from outside the U.S. that you are willing to donate, please contact the Church History Archives.).
- Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868 Database
Has names of 42,000 of 60,000 pioneers 1847-68.
We’re missing 18,000 names of these pioneers. We figure some of you have information on some of these. You’re invited to submit that information at the web site so we can review and incorporate it.
| Has list of sources, many transcribed, giving accounts of crossing the plains. |
Has list of emigrant companies.
|- LDS Church Periodical Index |
http://chperiodicals.lds.org covers Church and related publications from 1976 to present.
|- Mormons and Their Neighbors |
http://w3.lib.byu.edu/Ancestry/ indexes 100,000 life sketches relating to Utah and surrounding area.
- Church records
- Local unit records (for wards, stakes, branches, districts, and missions)
- Oral histories
|- Journal History of the Church |
Day-by-day scrapbook of Church news, 1830-now.
Card index on microfilm for 1830-1973, available on FHL microfilm.
Electronic index 1990-present (available at CHL)
1830-1973 available at FHL on microfilm
|- Church census records, 1914-1962. |
1914 first Church census,
1920 to 1960 every 5 years save 1945
Also available at FHL (1914-1960, index, 1930-1935).
- Deceased member records 1941-July 1988.
| Also available at FHL on microfilm. |
[Kip Sperry recommends Patricia N. (Howard) Hardesty’s Index to Deceased Members’ Batch Numbers for locating women by maiden name.1]
- Manuscript histories (Series 2 and 3)
For ca. 1890 forward.
(For wards, stakes, branches, districts, and missions)
|- Record of Members. |
Have more than what is microfilmed.
[FHL has most]
- Annual “Form E” (ward) reports.
[FHL has 1907-ca. 1948]
|- Officers and Historical and Statistical Reports. |
- Minutes of meetings.
Sacrament Meeting to 1977.
Auxiliaries to 1973.
|- Patriarchal Blessings. |
Available for direct ancestors, call 801-240-3581, or e-mail email@example.com
[Provide the following information with each request:
- Requester’s name and contact information
- Requester’s relation to recipient
- Full name of recipient at time of blessing
- Recipient’s birth date
- Indicate whether recipient is living or dead
- Approximate year of blessing
- Patriarch’s name and stake
- Volume and page, if you’ve checked the index ]
No fee, but limit of 4 per request
[Index available at FHL (1833-ca. 1934, 1833-1963, 1833-1993) ]
|- Priesthood Line of Authority. |
801-240-3500 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Email is very quick.
- Brigham Young office files, 1832-1877.
| Has name index. |
About 15,000 letters.
- Missionary recommendations and calls, 1877-1918.
Letters and index at CHL.
|- Photographs, 1840s-present. |
About 1 million.
| Burrup recounted the story of when he and an associate found the daguerreotype (say, “duh-gary-oh-type”) photograph of the Nauvoo temple. The two were visiting the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum in Cedar City, Utah [in 1998]. One of them was examining a small item labeled, “Pioneer Mirror.” It did look like a small mirror, only a little bigger than 2 by 3 inches. Daguerreotypes do look like mirrors. He turned to the other and said, “I think I see something in here.” As you move your viewing angle, the image switches negative or positive. Carefully moving back and forth, they could see the image change. |
Highly faded, they obtained permission to take the daguerreotype back to the Church History Library and Archive to see if they could restore the image. They were delighted to find the most detailed photograph ever discovered of the Nauvoo Temple. The daguerreotype was one that was even known to have been taken, but knowledge of its location had been lost. What a miracle it was to re-discover it, unrecognized but preserved, in a small museum in a small town in Southern Utah. The timing was perfect for the project to rebuild the Nauvoo Temple.
| Showing some interesting Church History photographs. |
[While not one of the photographs Burrup showed, the photograph to the right is illustrative of some he showed. This detail from a photograph of newlyweds Sarah Farr Smith and future apostle John Henry Smith in 1866 comes from p. 165 of Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young.]
Subjects of photographs are not usually identified unless they played a prominent role in the history of the Church.
|That was fun! We went a little over. See you tomorrow! I present, so I won't tweet much.|
Here’s a little information about the new Church History Library:
- “Seek and ye shall find — Family History revisited” – LDS Church News (Thanks to my friend, Tom Kemp, for alerting me to this story.)
- “Church History Library” – lds.org
This article is one in a series of session reports from the recent 2009 Salt Lake City Family History Expo taken from my live tweets of the event. Please see my Tweeting Presentations Policy for further information, including the formatting guidelines I attempt to follow and instructions for correcting errors. Additions are in italics.
1. Kip Sperry, A Guide to Mormon Family History Sources (Provo, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2007), 49.
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