Downtown’s Family Search Library a Trove of Genealogical Information

FamSearch

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints boasts one of the largest genealogical databases in the world. Anyone, regardless of religion, can access records dating back centuries via the church’s FamilySearch.org website and research centers throughout the country. If you’re curious to know if your great-great-great granddaddy was a sheriff—or wanted for shooting one—the Las Vegas Family Search Library in Downtown is a good place to start. We delve into the depths of the church’s database with local library director Wayne Stoker.

Just how big is the church’s database?

Billions of records. Approximately a million new records go online every day. The Granite Mountain Records Vault in Utah is the largest genealogical record in the world and is currently being scanned and indexed—that will take a number of years. The important thing is that access to that information is available for free to the public at large; 30 percent of our patronage are people who are not members of our church.

What’s the furthest back you’ve seen someone trace his family history?

Most people can readily trace their genealogy into the 15th or 16th century, because family histories are quite available that far. It becomes more difficult beyond that, but some have traced their genealogy back into the early hundreds. Most people who trace their history that far back do so by tracing royal lines.

How far have you traced your ancestry? Any startling revelations?

Back into the 1400s. Let’s just say you’re going to connect with very inspiring relatives, and you’re going to get inspired by those you want to avoid.

Las Vegas Family Search Library, 509 S. 9th St.; open Mon-Sat; call 702-382-9595 for hours; LVFamilySearchLibrary.org.

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After five months of U.S Army training, Gaetano Benza, a 19-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, was loaded onto a ship and sent on an 11-day voyage across the Atlantic. Five thousand troops were aboard, and the captain changed the ship’s course slightly every seven minutes to avoid being torpedoed by German submarines.

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