The Tri-Cities Genealogical Society Library
As part of the renovation of the Richland FamilySearch Center (FSC), all of our books were reviewed on the FamilySearch Catalog and all of the books that had been digitized were removed from our holdings and sent to the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Microfilms have been near totally digitized and are available on the FamilySearch website. The Microfilms have been returned to the FamilySearch Library and are no longer part of our records. Periodicals that were previously in the Richland FamilySearch Library were all sent to Salt Lake with the intent that some of them will be digitized and made available via the Internet. Timing for this is currently unknown.
- Go to the FamilySearch Digital Library to access the PDF versions of around half a million books.
- Microfilm & microfiche are accessed via FamilySearch using Search > Catalog > Availability > FamilySearch Catalog.
- Here is the link to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, one of the largest Family History Libraries in the world.
- The Tri-City Herald, our local newspaper, has its own digital archive now. (This set is not included in the FamilySearch.org catalog.)
Tri-City Genealogical Society Researchers will provide searching local resources for you for a fee. See our Research page for details.
Tri-City Genealogical Society History
The Tri-City Genealogical Society was established in 1961 by Margaret Dunn’s mother and Ray Balmann and began collecting books, periodicals and other reference materials.
The TriCity Genealogical Society Library is a big part of the Richland FamilySearch Center. The TriCity Genealogical Society office is co-located within the Memory Lane Room.
- Phone: (509) 241-8310.
Address: 1314A Goethals Avenue, Richland WA, directly behind the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church building at 1314 Jadwin Ave.
Hours: Sundays, 2-5 PM, Tuesdays, 10AM-4PM and 6-9PM, Wednesdays 10AM-1PM and 6-9PM, Thursdays, 10AM to 4PM, Fridays, 10AM to 1PM
The main room can be used as a classroom with a main display and has capacity for around 30 people.
- There are 18 relatively modern all-in-one flat-screen display workstations available at any one time, all with high-speed internet access, many with dual monitors and all with access to at least thirteen Premium websites. (If you were to pay for each of those services, the total would be well over $100 USD per month.)
- Use of a printer is free.
- see Webinars
- see also Online State Resources for Genealogy compiled by Michael Hait.
Tri-City Genealogy Society Presidents
- Harry H. Wrangham, 1968
- Lyle D, Perrigo, 1969
- Evelyn Hepworth Massie, 1971
- Robert B. Kimbrough, Jr., 1973
- Marilyn Duel, 1974
- Lois Martin, 1975
- Louis Towne (1991-1993)
- Lois (Johnson) Price (1994-1995)
- Dale Denham (1996-1997)
- Connie (Ringuet) Long (1998-1999)
- Yoanna “Yo” (van Tienen Jansse) Sawdey (2000-2001)
- Margie (Stein) Beldin (2002-2003)
- Janis (Wirth) Littlefield (2004-2005)
- Mike McKinnon (2006-2007)
- Lee Smith (2008-2009)
- Susan (Davis) Faulkner (2010-2011)
- John Covey, 2012-2013
- John Covey, acting President, (2014 – 2015)
- Walt Wood (2016)
- Bill Floberg (2016-2017)
- Jim Macica (2017-2019)
- Bill Floberg – Board Chairman (2020)
- President vacant (2021) Dan Metzger, Secretary
- President vacant (2022) Dan Metzger, Secretary
- President vacant (2023) Dan Metzger, Secretary
Tri-City Genealogical Society Librarians
- Patricia Jewell Ballowe, 1971 – 2003
- Ray Baalman, 2004 to 2013
- Sandra Floberg, 2013 – present
Directors for the Richland Family History Center (Now the FamilySearch Center)
- Herb Pederson, 1967-1973
- Pat Ballowe, 1973-1975 and 1980-1982
- Velma Roberts, 1975-1980
- Jess Brinkerhoff, 1982-1990
- Richard P Allen, 1990-2017
- Wayne Ross 2017- present with Mikal McKinnon as the Information Technology Assistant Director, who got the infrastructure where it is today.
- Wayne Ross and Mikal McKinnon are also known as Richland Stake Temple and Family History Consultants
- David Mumm over 30 years
- Patricia Jewell Ballowe around 29 years
- All Temple and Family Consultants called to serve in the Richland FamilySearch Center are also known as FamilySearch Librarians
Lower Columbia Basin Family History
The book “Tempered by Faith” (compiled by JoAnne K Wilson), FamilySearch.org Catalog #979.751/R1KLds on pages 119-121 in Chapter 10 is a history of Genealogy efforts in the region. (The book is in the local library.)
A Genealogical Committee was formed in 1950. A Stake Genealogical Library began in 1954. A major project began in 1955 for transcribing sexton’s records and copying data from tombstones throughout the region.
In 1967 a genealogical library was established at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday-Saints building on Thayer Drive spearheaded by Herb Pederson.
The reference collection of the Tri-City Genealogical Society was moved to the Thayer building in 1970.
Workshops began in 1975 on topics like German.
Records Extraction Program
There were local teams that spent years specialized in manually extracting names from microfilm for French, German, Italian and Spanish Parish records until Indexing became a thing. This project began in 1961 as the “Records Extraction Program” and was expanded in 1977 under the direction of Kent M Harmon for German and Spanish with Larry Colton as the Director 1978-1980 followed by Wayland Ashmore (1980-1982) and then Richard P Allen (1980-1990). Ann A. Allen became the German language trainer in 1978. Viola Ashmore became the Spanish language trainer in 1979. They both served as Program Directors. Later Spanish language trainers were Robert Leigh Pritchett, Maria Thelma Torres Flores Pritchett, Myrna Palmer, Norma Waters, Larry and Jean Colton and Nellie Ostler. Nellie Ostler also began the Italian Extraction program.
The program became the “Consolidated Family Records Extraction Program” in 1995 under Maxine Yeats (1995-1996) followed by Dale Waters. When Indexing became widely available from homes and cellphones, these programs ended.
The Employment Program was also spearheaded at this location in the early 1990s before it became worldwide and known as the LDS Employment Resource Services.
How the current facility came into being
The butcher shop at the lower level was part of the Bishop’s Storehouse and later was used as a storage facility for costumes and props used in church activities, then in the early 1980s it was repurposed as the “Richland Regional Genealogical Library” under the direction of James O Henry and William R Martini as a consolidation of branch genealogy libraries from Kennewick, Pasco and Richland and opened January 1986 and dedicated by Ronald E. Poelman, 1 November 1986. The Library was staffed by 36 librarians and 7 substitutes.
The name of the facility was changed to the “Richland Family History Center” in the early 1990s. In 1997, there was a staff of 50 people.
As part of the renovation, the upstairs is now the Kennewick mission office for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for proselyting missionaries.
Full-time Genealogy Missionaries Honor Roll
- Ann A Allen
- Richard P Allen
- Leonard Roberts
- Velma Roberts
- Beverly Powell
- Jay Powell
- Betty Russell
- O.D. Russell
- Cliff Hains
- Lyman Salisbury
Currently, some Service Missionaries also help in the Richland FamilySearch Center as well and their assistance is greatly appreciated. They serve from between 18 months and 2 years.
As of 2023, the FamilySearch Center staff consists of 14 Librarians and 8 substitutes with Sandra Floberg as the TCGS Librarian. Many of the staff are also Temple and Family History Consultants and have accepted the position with the Library as “Callings”. Each Stake and Wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the region also have Temple and Family History Consultants. All are volunteers.
Downstairs also is currently the location of the Regional Facilities Management office for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Richland FamilySearch Center – 2023
The “Richland Family History Center” was relocated to the lower level of the existing building in the Summer of 2022 and then renamed as the “Richland FamilySearch Center” in 2023 after a complete makeover, including upgraded bandwidth, network cabling and electrical wiring.
Anyone in the world may register for free and participate in FamilySearch.
“COVID” took a toll and reduced operations and manpower for about three years, but both operations and manpower are increasing in strength.