BYU-Idaho Radio · Come to find your ancestors, stay to help your descendants

At the newly renovated FamilySearch Center in Idaho Falls, you can come to find your ancestors and stay to help your descendants.   Large touch screens displaying, "Welcome to the FamilySearch Discovery Center"

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization and website operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that helps people find their ancestors and leave memories behind for future generations.  

Janice and Thaddeus Zabriskie are the directors for the FamilySearch Center, and Janice says when you stop by, volunteers are ready to help along the way.  

“If they’re just dropping in, you know we’ll just give them somebody one-on-one to help them and help them find their stuff and that’s what the volunteers are for,” Janice said. 

Room with rows of computers and a mural of the ten virgins

To begin your search, just bring the names of your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Birthdates and birthplaces are helpful too.  

The center offers pedigree charts, fan charts, memory preservation and many fun activities.  

“We can digitize various historical things that you have. So we can show you how to do photos, audio, tapes of various formats, slides, and then various video formats,” Thaddeus said.  

You can also find your ties to fame.  

Screen displaying pictures of United States presidents

One of my ancestors is Sir Isaac Newton. Okay, go figure,” Thaddeus said.  

The center also offers free classes on finding military records, how to search on databases, finding a grave, research on different counties, photo editing and more.  

Mural of 1916 photo of downtown Idaho Falls with horses and buggies

“And if we don’t offer a class and you want it, you’re welcome to suggest that we offer it and we’ll find somebody who can teach it,” Janice said.  

The center provides an interview room where you can bring a loved one to sit in front of a

 camera and answer a variety of questions about themselves. If you don’t have questions prepared, they offer sample questions that can be spiritual, entertaining, goal oriented and more.  

Green room with glass doors, white couch and TV screen

Many users have been deeply touched when finding ancestors they didn’t know about prior to using FamilySearch.  

“When people come here and they find an ancestor that they didn’t know about, they just break down in tears, you know they found somebody,” Janice said. “It’s amazing how many people don’t know their grandparents even.” 

Mural of a woman standing near the Idaho Falls IPT Power Plant and Dam

You can learn more about the Idaho Falls FamilySearch Center here.