The LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City has collected over 700,000 microfilm rolls for family and local history research in the United States. The microfilms are copies of original documents found in federal, state, and county archives and courthouses, as well as private repositories such as churches. More than 95% of the microfilmed records may be loaned to any of the 4,000 local LDS family history centers which are open free of charge to the public.
The collections are supplemented by over 100,000 published genealogies and many thousands of local histories and printed transcripts of records. About half of these books can be loaned to family history centers on microfilm or microfiche. About 220,000 microfiche contain U.S. records or reference tools at the FHL.
In addition, at the free [www.familysearch.org FamilySearch.org] are the names of over 75 million individuals who were born or married in the U.S. before 1895, in the online International Genealogical Index. The 50 million names of the U.S. 1880 federal census, in complete households, are also online there. The LDS Church also provided 22 million names from immigration manifests (1892-1924 for the port of New York) for the database at www.ellisisland.org. Millions of civil death records in the U.S. are currently being indexed or extracted at more than 1,000 volunteer sites.
The Family History Library houses over 110,000 microfilms which have been purchased from the National Archives. These collections pertain to every state and territory. The most popular records are the population census schedules (1790-1880, 1900-1930), customs and immigration passenger lists (1820-1940s), federal court naturalizations (1906-1930s), and military service and pension indexes and files (1775-1900). Unique collections include passport applications (1795-1925), US/Canada Border Crossings (1895-1954), and 24 million World War One draft registration cards (1917-1918).
The FHL has acquired valuable documents from many state archives and some state historical societies. Among these you will find state census schedules, military files, early land records, cemetery collections, and special indexes. Sources which cover more than two or three counties can be considered statewide.
County and Local Collections
The majority of the available U.S. materials are copies of documents from more than 2,700 county courthouses, such as: land deeds and mortgages, probate and estate files, naturalization applications, marriage records, birth and death registers. Many of these records were indexed by local clerks. Other records available for a town might include newspaper transcripts, cemetery lists, funeral home files, school censuses, and church records. The records represent all time periods of American history, with some post-1920 records which are not restricted. As the FHL has few materials from the 13,000 local historical and genealogical societies in the U.S. and Canada, researchers should visit the area where their ancestors lived.