Chatham Ontario Family History Centre

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FamilySearch This article describes the services and resources available at a Family History Centre, a branch facility of the Family History Library.

 Welcome [edit | edit source]

OUR GOAL: The goal of the Chatham Ontario Family History Center is to provide resources to assist you in the research and study of your genealogy and family history. We provide personal one-on-one assistance to patrons, access to genealogical records through the Internet and a microfilm loan program.

OUR LOCATION: We are located at 23 Detroit Drive, Chatham, Ontario. 

Your First Visit: To make your first visit most effective...[edit | edit source]

  • Collect and organize the information you already have.
  • Bring with you to you first visit as much information as you have about the ancestor you wish to research, including available birth, marriage and death information and we will help you move forward from there.
  • call the Center before you plan to make your first visit especially if you have a specific question or geographical area of interest (519- 473-2421).There is no answering machine so call during centre "open hours" below.

Center Contacts and Hours[edit | edit source]

Location and Map:

  • 23 Detroit Drive; Chatham, ON; N7M 2L9, Canada

Phone: 1-519-352-6226


Open Hours:

  • Tuesdays -- 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. and Wednesdays 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Holiday Schedule: The center is closed if a holiday falls on a Tuesday. We are also closed during the Christmas holidays. 

Calendar and Events[edit | edit source]

   On October 18, 2014 the Chatham Branch photographed some of the gravestones in Gosnell United Church Highgate Cemetery and uploaded them to BILLIONGRAVES in order to give people around the world access to information on their ancestors who are interred in our community. The gravestones have now been transcribed and can be viewed on BILLIONGRAVES. In the fall of 2015 we will return to continue our project. Evergreen Cemetery in Blenheim is in the process of being photographed and the photographed gravestones have been transcribed. Work will continue in the fall.

 FAMILYSEARCH  and ANCESTRY.COM allows members to import four generations from FamilySearch to create a personal tree. Simply select FAMILY TREES and then choose Import tree from FamilySearch. Name your family tree, select whether or not you want to allow others to view it, and then click Save.

  When you import your tree to your ancestors are automatically linked to FamilySearch. If you already have an existing tree or discover and add new ancestors to your tree on you can connect them to FamilySearch. This allows the work for each ancestor to be easily seen and shared with family and other users on FamilySearch.

    Once a person is connected to FamilySearch, you can see his/her ordinance status and determine if additional research is needed. Click Request-View Ordinance details to be redirected to the person's Ordinances tab on FamilySearch. From there you can reserve ordinances as usual.

      You can easily add family members that already exist on FamilySearch to our tree. To see family members that can be added, click Add relatives from Familysearch. Select the family member you want to add and click Continue. Then click Save.

Procedures(for Family History Center Volunteers)for Closing the Centre Due to Weather Conditions  [edit | edit source]

Occasionally the question arises should we close the center due to weather conditions or other emergencies. . So, what constitutes inclement weather and who initiates the closing of the center? This is a matter that requires clear communication.

The obvious question is one of safety. If you are due to go in for a shift and are uncomfortable coming out in certain weather conditions, we would ask that you use good judgment and not take any risks that you don't wish to. Below are some scenarios that we need to consider.

1. If you are on the afternoon or evening shift, you are not in the center, and you see worsening weather conditions…
a) Phone the temple and family history consultant - center and let her know that the center should be closed for the afternoon, due to poor weather conditions. .
b) Those consultants scheduled for the center should be called to let them know the Center has been closed so that the website can reflect this decision.
c) If the consultants in the center know certain regulars who might venture out to the centre and have their phone numbers, they might call them to let them know it will be closed.

3. If anyone becomes concerned about poor or dangerous weather conditions forecasted the day before anyone needs to do a shift...
a) Phone the Stake TFH Consultant - center and let her know about your concern. The Stake TFH Consultant - center will go from there with the information and let the next day’s staff know of the decision to close. The TFH Consultants- center may also come to this decision themselves and let the appropriate staff know in advance.
b) If you can’t get in touch with the TFH Consultants - center contact those who are on the shift with you . If among you you feel the need to close the center call the Stake TFH Consultant - center back and leave a message and try to inform others if possible.

A good indicator as to whether the center should be closed is whether the school buses in the Chatham-Kent area are running or not. Another indicator is if schools are closed due to the frigid temperatures or stormy weather. If they are closed then the center should be closed too. If it's not safe for children to be out of doors, we don't want to put our consultants or patrons at risk.

In the final analysis some patrons who might want to venture out in bad weather to get to the center may choose to call first to see if the center is open. I would hope that if there is no answer they would decide to stay home. Others may take their own chances as to whether the centre is open or not. Not every base can be covered but we should try.

Center Resources[edit | edit source]

Collections[edit | edit source]

As one of 4600 family history centers worldwide,The Chatham Ontario Family History Center has...

  • the ability to order any of the microfilms and fiche available through the Family Catalogue of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day SaintsFree online search capabilities for names, indexes, and guides through FamilySearch Family Tree online software
  • records and publications from many countries with an emphasis on Kent and surrounding counties.
  • free access to premium family history software and websites that generally charge for subscriptions.
  • one-on-one help by consultant volunteers
  • complete set of Cemetery Records for Kent County
  • Ontario births,marriages and deaths on microfilm
  • Ontario Land records
  • FHC Portal

Hardware and Equipment[edit | edit source]

  • Brand new computers, microfilm readers, fiche reader, reader-printer, computer printer, photocopier.

Links[edit | edit source]

  • Using the FamilySearch Research Wiki: A comprehensive video presentation explaining the Wiki, navigating it, and some especially useful pages. Case studies demonstrate using the Wiki for genealogical research. Editing and adding articles to the Wiki are covered.

Family Search Software

  • FamilySearch is a genealogy organization operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch maintains a collection of records, resources, and services designed to help people learn more about their family history. FamilySearch gathers, preserves, and shares genealogical records worldwide. It offers free access to its resources and service online at, one of the most heavily used genealogy sites on the Internet.[2] In addition, FamilySearch offers personal assistance at more than 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries, including the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Go to Kent County Genealogy for these links
Cemeteries of Kent County full and partial transcriptions at|
Kent County Gen Web a collection of online resources for genealogy researchers
Kent County Message Board read and post messages with other researchers of this county
Ontario Genealogical Society - Kent County Branch,br> 1911 Census records for Ontario - Kent East and Kent West

Volunteer at the Center [edit | edit source]

If you would like to volunteer at the Chatham Ontario Family History Centre please contact us during open hours mentioned above "Center Hours and Closing Procedures" (519-352-6266). (Please note that we do not have an answering machine .)


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