Ogden Utah FamilySearch Center opens, will be a ‘golden spike’ for Latter-day Saints

OGDEN, Utah — With its April 30 dedication and May 6 formal opening, the new Ogden Utah FamilySearch Center is augmenting the numerous stake family history centers throughout the city and in surrounding areas.

And that’s a good thing, says Elder Bradley D. Foster, a General Authority Seventy who is executive director of the Church’s Family History Department.

You know the typical stake family history center — stuck in a corner room or two in a meetinghouse, with limited equipment, resources, staffing and hours to help individuals do research while compiling or confirming personal and family histories.

Now, the two-level, 12,000-square-foot facility located across the street from the Ogden Utah Temple offers the latest in interactive activities and online resources, a volunteer staff of more than 70 to offer personal assistance and monthly classes and workshops to increase understanding and abilities in family history efforts.

Visitors to the April 30, 2019, dedication services of the new Ogden Utah FamilySearch Center walk through upper-level computer stations. The center has more than 60 desktop computers available for research use.
Visitors to the April 30, 2019, dedication services of the new Ogden Utah FamilySearch Center walk through upper-level computer stations. The center has more than 60 desktop computers available for research use.

“By putting it together, we engage technology in a bigger facility,” said Elder Foster who presided at the center’s April 30 dedication. “We can bring big groups in here, we can bring in families here, we can teach in here, and it will give people the experience they deserve.”

Enhancing that experience are 11 life-sized interactive media, 60-plus desktop computers and three recording studios.

The FamilySearch app — both the desktop version available online as well as the mobile-phone version — is what Elder Foster calls “our personal family center on demand, wherever we are.”

The Ogden FamilySearch Center and others like it, he added, are “where we’ll come to go to the next level, with volunteers to help us. That’s just part of our master plan — to make the experience richer and (more) fulfilling for every member of the Church.”

And not just Latter-day Saints, since such centers are open free to the public. The Ogden facility is the latest of five FamilySearch centers, joining four others in Utah — in Salt Lake City, Lehi, Layton and St. George. Two more are underway — in Bountiful, Utah, and Mesa, Arizona.

“Wherever you see large populations of Latter-day Saints, you’ll see the same consolidation,” Elder Foster said.

The new Ogden Utah FamilySearch Center opens formally on May 6, 2019.
The new Ogden Utah FamilySearch Center opens formally on May 6, 2019.

Located at 321 22nd Street, the Ogden FamilySearch Center has north-side windows on both levels that offer stunning views of the adjacent temple — views that remind Saints of the shared importance of family history work and temple work.

“Just as President (Russell M.) Nelson teaches, ‘Names nourish temples,’” said Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, a General Authority Seventy who attended the dedication service.

In brief remarks before he offered the dedicatory prayer, Elder Steven M. Petersen, an Area Authority, noted Ogden’s original name being Junction City and the role of the nearby Promontory Point, where a golden spike was driven to link approaching railroad lines to form the intercontinental railway. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike ceremony.

“This center is a ‘golden spike,’” said Elder Petersen, emphasizing the linking and bonding nature of family history. “We’re joining the past, the present and the future.”

The main floor of the new Ogden Utah FamilySearch Center features life-sized interactive media.
The main floor of the new Ogden Utah FamilySearch Center features life-sized interactive media.

Besides doing research and participating in interactive activities, visitors can learn about preserving and digitizing family records, including moving slides, photographs, printed material and videos in film or VHS formats into digital formats.

The Ogden FamilySearch Center is currently in open-house mode, welcoming visitors for three days before the Monday, May 6, formal opening.

The open house runs until 9 p.m. Thursday, May 2; from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, May 3; and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 4.

Normal operating hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Fridays; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the new Ogden Utah FamilySearch Center will replace 40 stakes in the area.