I was excited recently to attend the Open House of the Layton FamilySearch Center. Located on 915 West Gordon Avenue in Layton, Utah, it replaced several smaller centers in the area. I had been watching the building undergo quite a transformation over the past months and was eager to see if the inside was as impressive as the outside.
For you locals, the Layton FamilySearch Center is just a hop skip and a jump from Hobby Lobby and just down the street from Krispie Kreme.  

Over the past few years, there has been a big focus on family photos and it’s easy to see why. Photos of our ancestors tug at the heart and help us feel connected in a unique way. For those of us who are not the keeper of the family photos, we cross our fingers that someone will share the photos that they have and we are thrilled when photos of our ancestors pop up on websites such as FamilySearch or Ancestry.

So it’s no surprise that the new center has several high-tech photo scanners to help with the preservation and sharing of photos. The scanners have the ability to scan many photos quickly and save them to a flash drive, which they have there for a small purchase price. Do you have photos that are yellowed with age? No problem, their scanners have an autocorrect ability that will take that yellow out!  The scanners make it as easy and painless as possible to copy and share photos.

Next up was their children’s area. This is an area for grandparents and parents to take their children for fun family history oriented activities. Note: This is not an area to drop the kids off while you do research or shop, but an area where you can do activities with the kids. There are blocks to build homes with,  family history style coloring pages and fun games to play together. In addition, they will have storytellers come to the center periodically and tell stories to the children. Check the website for the schedule if you would like to make sure you are there for the story time.

There is also a Family Area in a private room that can be scheduled in two-hour blocks. This area includes a machine that converts family VHS movies to DVD, a sofa where family members can sit and view family photos or movies on the large screen and a long table where family can gather and visit about their family history projects.

In another room, which was called “Studio A” (yes there is additional one called Studio B), there are comfy chairs, a camera for recording video and a microphone where people can gather and share family stories, interview family members or even show family photos and record the discussion about the folks in the photos. The recording, either video or audio can then be sent to you. These rooms can be scheduled online for an hour at a time.

Another area features three large screens that are actually touch screen computers. Each has several different apps that allow visitors to explore things such as how family migrated to the US and famous people to whom they are related. This area does not require a reservation.

Fifty-two computers, complete with a variety of family history type databases are available for people to come in and work on their family history.

To make sure we keep our strength up while we are there, there is a lunch and snack area where we can take a break and have a bite to eat.  (You must bring your own snacks as no food is available there for purchase.)  Microwaves are available, but they have a no popcorn rule and anyone who has been in a break room when someone burned the popcorn knows exactly why. They requested that any water brought into the center be in bottles with screw on lids to prevent possible damage to the electronics from spills. 

There are also three classrooms where classes will be taught. Subjects vary, so check the schedule for time and class specifics. In addition, they indicated that if there is a particular subject we would like taught and we have a group interested, we can put in a request. 
With classrooms, a room for viewing and converting family photos, a children’s area, photo scanners and more, it clearly will be a great place for individuals and families to gather to share and learn about their family history. The center will open for all services beginning November 8th. I look forward to returning and taking grandchildren there—maybe I will see you! 
To learn more about the center and to book a time for some of the special activities, go to:
Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

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14 thoughts on “My visit to the Layton FamilySearch Center

  1. Hobby Lobby or Family Search Center? Some days the decision is hard. Seriously, the center sounds amazing. I am impressed with the many services and opportunities there. They have thought of everything.

  2. Wow, looks amazing. Wish I were (much) closer. And speaking of photos, thank you so much for writing up your experience with 399retouch a few months ago. I just got back a retouched photo that will be a Christmas gift for Mum and I am now counting the days like a little kid, they did a great job with it.

  3. All that, and donuts, too! Looks great. We're trying to reconfigure our local Family History Center to better meet the needs of the patrons, including decreased microfilm use, and I'll have to consider some of these ideas. Thanks for the write-up.

  4. They've done an amazing job. I took grandkids to the Discovery Center down in SLC and they loved it and were anxious then to learn more about their ancestors. I think these kinds of places really do help generate interest in the young and others who are just beginning to learn about family history.

  5. I am really intrigued by that too Dana. They said that oftentimes looking at family pictures together, people will remember stories and if you are there in the recording studio, you can record those stories. There are so many different ways to use the studio and I am excited to go back and try a few out.

  6. Absolutely Debi! I took my grandkids to a similar place down in SLC and I was amazed by how interested they became in their ancestors. One of my grandsons told me as we left (he was 9 years old at the time) that some of the people in our tree didn't have information about where they died etc and that really bothered him. He has since started coming to my house and learning how to do research. It's awesome.

  7. What a wonderful FHC that is Michelle. So updated and so many amentities. I don't know though, Krispy Kreme close by could be dangerous for me. We have like one Krispy Kreme here in San Diego. Our large FHC is well equipped, but getting on in years.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

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