SALT LAKE CITY—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced today the release of four new research guides to help family history enthusiasts succeed in their quest to learn about their ancestors. The guides, the next four in the Finding Records of Your Ancestors series, will help persons researching their ancestors in France, Iceland, Italy and Norway, respectively. The Finding Records of Your Ancestors series features easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, colorful graphics and tear-out worksheets. The series is part of the FamilySearch? line of family history products offered by the Church.

The four new guides simplify the research process for users. They are designed for those who have already gathered and organized some of their personal family history information from their home and family and are ready to search public and private records. They are geared toward people who have little family history experience and may not have time to do extensive research. In an inviting workbook style, these guides colorfully outline the steps and tools needed to find one’s French, Icelandic, Italian or Norwegian ancestors. Users will learn where to start, how to find and use records, and what unique elements to look for in the records. The booklets are more visual and user friendly than many other how-to publications in this field.

People generally perceive family history research as time consuming, complex and difficult. Veteran researchers usually credit their comfort with the family history research process to someone personally helping them a time or two in the beginning when they were just starting out. The goal of the new guides is to take the guesswork out of genealogical research and help soften the learning curve. Nadine Timothy, who coordinated publication of these guides for the Church, explains: “One thing that has frustrated many beginners to family history research are the skills and concepts needed to be successful. They feel overwhelmed by what they don’t know, and that can stifle their desire to learn more about their ancestors. The new guides will give them key information in a simple manner that will enable them to have success.”

“We wanted to take beginners by the hand and walk them through the research process,” says Kay Merkley, instructional designer for the Finding Records of Your Ancestors series. “It’s not an easy process at first, but these guides provide a simple strategy not available before on how to go from one record to another. The guides provide expert advice every step of the way.”

The guides explain different types of records in the respective countries and instruct the user on when and how to use specific records. A real-life case study allows readers to see for themselves how the research process works. Expert search tips, including tips on how to use the Family History Library catalog, are included. Also included are maps, historical time lines and background on naming customs. Beyond outlining a strategy for getting started, the guide offers instructions on more advanced research, including addresses and Web sites for more information.

The guides are available through Church Distribution Services worldwide and can be ordered by calling toll free 1-800-537-5971 or by going to on the Internet. The guides are $3.25 each. Please use the correct item numbers when placing your order: Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Part A: France, 1792 to 1880 (36584); Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Part A: Iceland, 1835 to 1900 (36693); Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Part A: Italy, 1809 to 1910 (36580); and Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Part A: Norway, 1827 to 1900 (36578).

The first two guides in the series Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Part A: Denmark, 1834 to 1900 and Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Part A: Sweden, 1860 to 1920 were released in 2002.

The Family and Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is committed to producing high-quality products for the family historian. It maintains the world’s largest repository of genealogical resources with vital records from over 110 countries, territories and possessions. To promote local family history (genealogical) research, the Church maintains the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and over 3,800 branches of the library (family history centers) in 70 countries.