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Published: Saturday, 9/29/2012

Family History Center open again after 8-month hiatus

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Those wanting to dig into their family history and trace their roots can once again access the voluminous records held locally at Perrysburg’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Family History Center, in the church at 11050 Avenue Rd., recently reopened after an eight-month hiatus.

The entire building, including the history center, closed in December to allow for extensive interior renovations and the overhaul of the fire suppression and alarm system, said Bishop Chris Miller, leader of the 450-member ward.

Services and activities were held at the Latter-day Saints Church in Bowling Green during construction. Bishop Miller said services and most activities resumed in June in the Perrysburg building.

“We are glad to be back into the building,” he said.

The Family History Center, which has been part of the church during its 20 years of existence in Perrysburg, has more than 5,000 rolls of microfilm and microfiche containing documents on births, deaths, marriages, probate, immigration, military, and other vital records.

Open to the public on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., it is staffed by volunteers who guide visitors through the computer search engines that link users to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. They also help with questions.

Lavon Rowley, history center director, said 60 to 80 people use the church’s resources monthly.

First-time users are asked to start their searches by obtaining basic birth, death, and marriage dates of relatives, said volunteer Jim Perry.

“People usually know more [about their family history] than they think they know. But our job is to help them realize what they do know so they really find what they don’t know,” he said.

“It is a process,” added Richard Arens, also a volunteer and avid family researcher.

“Once you get started in it you may not be able to stop.”

Janice Hojnicki has been using the history center in her quest to learn about her Polish ancestors who immigrated to Toledo.

“I love history. I love my family,” said Ms. Hojnicki, who belongs to the Toledo Polish Geneaology Society.

The history center library in Salt Lake City has more than two million rolls of microfilm containing copies of original records from more than 100 countries.

On request, rolls from the library can be loaned to the Perrysburg history center. Users are charged a fee for the service.

The Salt Lake City Genealogical Library was founded in 1894 to gather genealogical records and assist members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with their family history and genealogical research.

Mr. Arens said the genealogy resources is part of the church’s belief in the importance of family.

“We believe that families can be together forever and part of families being together is to get to know who your families are,” he said.



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