Construction to begin on new Ogden FamilySearch Center

Sunday , January 07, 2018 - 5:15 AM

JANAE FRANCIS, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Construction of a new FamilySearch Center will begin Monday, Jan. 8, next to the Treehouse Museum and across the street from the Ogden LDS Temple.

The new library, at 321 E. 22nd St., was announced in September by Elder Steven M. Petersen, area seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It will be completed in the spring of 2019, said Pam Despain, an area public affairs specialist for the church.

The new 12,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art center “will offer a unique gathering place for families with fun, interactive and immersive discovery experiences for visitors of all ages, free access to online genealogical websites and personal assistance,” a media advisory from the church said.

RELATED: LDS leader announces new Ogden FamilySearch library

When Petersen announced the new center, he said he believed the facility would assist in teaching the younger generation the importance of family history work.

“We will be showing people what it was like at the time when their ancestors lived, inviting them to learn more about their family members,” Cindy Erickson, co-director of the existing Ogden FamilySearch facility, said.

“We are very excited to have the new library be next to the temple,” she said. 

“The temple, from our point of view, represents the fact that families can be together forever,” said David Erickson, Cindy’s husband and co-director of the center. “The FamilySearch Library is all about connecting families together. It will be a daily reminder of the exciting work we are involved in.”

Having the facility downtown where people could stop in on their lunch hour also will assist in the work, Cindy Erickson said.

“The building will be designed around current technology,” David Erickson said. “We have evolved from books and microfilm to where we have a fairly state-of-the-art computer system. It will be nice to be in a building designed around the billions of records available. FamilySearch puts, on average, a million records online every day.”

However, Cindy Erickson doesn’t want those interested in genealogy to wait to discover what’s available at the current library.

“We have more than 200 people ready and willing to help people now,” she said. “We hope people will come into the library now.”

The current library is located at 539 24th St. in Ogden.

“We can provide a one-on-one experience now,” David Erickson said. “We don’t want people to wait until the building is finished. We want them to get started as soon as they can.”

The retired director of the Ogden FamilySearch Library said in an interview that the new building has taken a long time to come to fruition.

“In 2004, they told me it would be started in the spring,” said Emil O. Hanson.

“It is exciting to see it happen. It’s badly needed,” Hanson said. “The old Institute building (formerly serving Weber State University where the Ogden FamilySearch Library now is located) is not in very good shape. It will probably be condemned and torn down.”

Hanson said the western part of the old center likely will be kept and continue to be used for book digitizing.

Ogden LDS Temple statistics indicate that it is one of the busiest in the world. Family history work is the beginning of temple work for members of the Mormon faith.

Hanson said he’s noticed how busy the Ogden Temple stays.

“This will probably make it even busier,” Hanson said.

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at [email protected] or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis.

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