“What you really want,” Sister Daniel of the Los Angeles Family History Library tells me, “are birth, death, marriage and burial.” Records, that is. Don't let the golden trumpeter throw you off; the best way to find your roots is by visiting the friendly folks of the Latter Day Saints. An introduction to genealogical research plays on continuous PowerPoint loop behind the help desk. Tidy rows of patron computers offer free access to top commercial websites like Ancestry.com and Legacy, with more than a billion searchable records in some 30,000 databases. Other resources include the well-organized microfilm libraries, not to mention the on-site book, map and records collections and additional LDS databases. If it all seems a bit daunting, they offer three- and four-day genealogy intensive courses, and helpful volunteers, whose presence around the library is heralded by a small plastic flag. “You have to be creative in how you look for things,” continues Sister Daniel. “Genealogy is not something you do for an hour or two.” 10741 Santa Monica Blvd., W.L.A. (310) 474-9990, lafhl.org.

—Skylaire Alfvegren

LA Weekly