MARTIN – Have you ever wondered about your ancestors and the lives they lived? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, located at 75 Autumn Drive in Martin, operates a Family History Center, where individuals interested in learning about their family history can conduct research. The center is open to the public and is free of charge. Anyone wanting to research their family genealogy is welcome and volunteers are available to assist and provide help.
The History Center began in 1988 as a passion project of church members Pete Grigsby Jr. and Bill Hughes. Both men worked diligently to get the new church, located on Route 80, built and were proud to be able to offer Floyd County a valuable source for genealogy research.
The church was recently remodeled and the Family History Center expanded to meet demands of the public. The church received five new computers in 2015 for the Family History Center.
“More and more people are getting interested in their family genealogy,” said Trish Bentley, a Family History Center volunteer. “We offer one of the largest genealogy resources in the state and assist individuals across the United States with family research,”
The center houses an impressive number of paper resources that includes area census data dating back to the early 1800s. In addition to the paper resources, individuals can utilize the center to take advantage of websites they would normally have to pay to gain access to when researching their family history.
“If people have information about their family they would like put online to various genealogy websites we can do that, said center volunteer Tony Robinson. “We are currently in the process of scanning older obituaries that are not available online into our computer system for easy research for individuals.”
When someone comes to the center for the first time and is new to genealogy research, they are given a folder that provides them with a starting point and tips on how to best begin their family research. Documents used to research include death records, birth records, census records, marriage records, newspaper articles and various websites.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints actually owns one of the largest collections of genealogy research material that is located in a climate controlled center underground at Granite Mountain in Utah,” said Bentley. “They often send us copies of materials to review and we can also request copies of documents they house.”
The Family History Center is open Tuesday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday noon to 6 p.m., Thursday noon to 6 p.m. and sometimes on Saturday. If you want more information you can call Patricia Bentley (606) 259-3600 or by email at [email protected] or Debra Taylor at (606)230-9204.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.