Discover who you're related to at newly renovated family history center - East Idaho News
Idaho Falls

Discover who you’re related to at newly renovated family history center

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IDAHO FALLS – After a yearlong renovation project, the Idaho Falls Family History Center is re-opening to the public and the community is invited to take a tour.

There are a variety of free services available to anyone who may be curious about where their ancestors came from and how they came to America.

“Our FamilySearch Center is open to our community to help you find and connect with your family. Visit us to experience the joy of getting to know your ancestors. We can help you find them and their stories. It will touch your heart,” the center’s co-directors, Janice and Thaddeus Zabriskie, say in a news release.

There’s a small studio to interview relatives and listen to their memories and stories, which are recorded on camera for family members to share however they wish.

A green screen allows people to take a photo of themselves with a backdrop of the country where their family line originated or other places of historical importance.

Patrons can also discover what celebrities they’re related to and bring their old family photos and home movies on reel-to-reel film or VHS tape and convert them to a digital format.

Watch the video above to see how these features work.

The Idaho Falls Family History Center dates back to 1950, when it began operating as a meetinghouse for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A written history provided by the Family History Center indicates that church members raised funds for the building’s construction through various banquets and events. Many church members even donated their time to provide materials and help build it.

Latter-day Saint Apostle Matthew Cowley dedicated the building on Dec. 12, 1951, as a “House of God, to be ever cherished by the membership who worshipped therein.”

The building was renovated and rededicated in February 1977 to accommodate growth in the congregation.

The building has operated as a family history center since 1993. A beloved mural of the ten virgins, as told in the New Testament story, was approved to be relocated there and there are multiple historical photos that adorn the center’s walls, including a photo of the city’s first hydroelectric power plant.

The 2021 renovation marks the fourth time the building has been refurbished over the years.

“Since becoming a Family History Center, the building has had many name changes … but its purpose has remained the same — ‘helping people discover, gather, and connect their family,'” according to the center’s written history.

A 3-day open house will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 23, inside the historic building at 750 West Elva Street. Tours are happening until 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 25.