New St. George Utah FamilySearch Center Offers Fun Discoveries for All Ages
Grandparents, parents, and children are now exploring their family trees together in fun and unique ways that were unimaginable just a few short years ago. At the new St. George FamilySearch Center, located at 237 East 600 South, three generations of families huddle around 55-inch touch-screen monitors, discovering the stories and photos of their ancestors and discussing how their stories provide inspiration as they face their own daily challenges. The open house for the new center will be June 22–24. The facility is free to the public.
“The new St. George FamilySearch Center is designed to be a gathering place for families and those who desire to know and experience their personal and family history. It is a place to do research, but more importantly it is a place of personal discoveries,” said J. Kevin Ence, Area Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and local ecclesiastical leader for the St. George area. “As I have come to know my ancestors—who they are and what they have accomplished—the day-to-day challenges that I face have taken on a whole new perspective. Knowing what they were able to do gives me the strength and courage to face my own battles!”
Family members of all ages will love exploring the family room and children’s areas in the new 10,000-square-foot facility. They can play games together and learn family stories, such as how Grandma and Grandpa met and fell in love. Families and youth groups love creating or preserving favorite family stories and moments through free high definition audio and video recordings, which can be emailed to them instantly.
Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, explained the attraction of the center: “St George is such a wonderful, vibrant, growing community with historical significance. We are extremely excited to provide a FamilySearch Center to its residents and visitors who will undoubtedly enjoy fun and memorable experiences discovering their families. We trust that it will be a great gathering place and yet another attraction in St. George for families to enjoy.”
Children can interview parents and grandparents in high definition video in the studio recording rooms, and parents and grandparents can record fond memories with their posterity for future generations to remember and enjoy.
“This amazing facility will provide personalized family discovery experiences for each generation of the family. Our guests are excited and enthusiastic about their new family connections and enlightened and blessed by their ancestors’ stories,” explained Mickal Merrell, who with his wife, Linda, serves as an area temple and family history consultant.
Youth and groups will appreciate the inviting modern design, with casual seating and collaboration areas. Interactive learning stations will help them discover the meaning of their names and other interesting facts about their name and the year they were born.
Special equipment will also enable guests to transfer precious family memories they have on old VHS tapes to DVD. They can also digitally preserve printed family photos and scrapbooks to USB drives or upload them directly to their free FamilySearch.org accounts where they can be preserved long term and more readily shared. All of these services are free.
It is recommended that guests create a free FamilySearch account at FamilySearch.org and begin building their family tree before their arrival. By creating a family tree online and adding family photos and stories before coming, you will be able to personalize and greatly enhance your visit to the new facility.
For additional information or to book group reservations, visit the center’s website at familysearch.org/fhc/StGeorge.
Following is the public open house schedule:
- Thursday, June 22, 2017, 1:00–7:00 p.m.
- Friday and Saturday, June 23–24, 2017, 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
The center will officially open on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Normal center hours will be Monday, Friday, and Saturday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
The center is located at 237 East 600 South, St. George, Utah.
St. George Family History Center and Discovery Experiences Quick Facts
- State-of-the-art FamilySearch Center, with approximately 10,000 square feet. Uniquely designed with casual seating and collaboration areas, making it easy for families and youth groups to work together on laptops, iPads, or other mobile devices. The center also has 137 computers with touch-screen monitors.
- The center is open to the public, with resources available at no charge (a small fee is required for printing and making photocopies). The library is staffed with helpful, friendly staff members offering free assistance to patrons. Visit the St. George FamilySearch Center website for more information.
- Visitors will have unique experiences. Learn about the meaning of your name, what happened during the year you were born, and other fun facts. See where your family came from, view photos of family members, and read their stories, all on 55-inch touch-screen monitors. Data used for the interactive experiences is drawn from FamilySearch.org and selected partners.
- Family members of all ages will love exploring the family room and new children’s areas. Multiple generations can come and use family recording rooms to create free high-definition audio and video recordings and preserve treasured family memories. Photo and slide scanning equipment will also be available for patron use free of charge.
- Patrons can learn how they are related to famous people. Did their ancestors sail on the Mayflower? Do they descend from famous Americans, such as the Founding Fathers or presidents of the United States? Are they related to Church leaders?
- The St. George FamilySearch Center has been years in the development. Actual construction for the new FamilySearch Center began in May 2016 and was completed in March 2017. The modern design artfully represents historical aspects of St. George and its residents.
- The former St. George FamilySearch Library was closed in March 2017, moved to the new location, and renamed. The new center will serve residents throughout Washington County. The new center supports 30 local stakes.
- Free classes will be offered on a daily basis. The center has two classrooms with computer labs designed for hands-on training. For class schedules and registration information, visit the center’s website. Free access to popular premium subscription sites, such as Ancestry.com, findmypast.com, My Heritage.com, and AmericanAncestors.org is also available.
- It is recommended that before coming to the center, visitors set up a free FamilySearch account on FamilySearch.org and begin to establish a family tree. By adding photos and stories prior to coming, you will greatly enhance your visit to the new facility.
- Groups visiting the center should book a reservation online to ensure that space is available.
- Future plans include offering Boy Scout merit badge workshops, where Scouts can complete requirements for the Genealogy merit badge and have fun learning about their family.
- The new area consultants managing the center, Mickal and Linda Merrell, serve under the direction of Elder J. Kevin Ence of the Seventy.
- The center's dirctors, Mickal and Linda Merrell, raised their family in Vernal, Utah. Mike was a pawnbroker and entrepreneur, and Linda taught English at the junior high until their first child was born. Eight years ago, they moved to St. George, where they have been active in the community, serving in the St. George Utah Temple and as volunteers at Tuacahn and the Senior Games. Together, they served in the Apia Samoa Mission in 2010–2012. They are the parents of six children and (almost) 16 grandchildren.
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FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.