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Researching in Salt Lake City

Family History Library

       I've been in Salt Lake City since last Wednesday.  This week is typically a “winter retreat” week for professional genealogists so there are plenty of  friends here with whom to share that wonderful find.  The timeframe is a little later this year because of RootsTech which begins on Thursday.  Unfortunately, I won't be staying for RootsTech as I have a lecture this coming weekend for the Genealogical Society of Broward County.  Alas, tomorrow is my last day of research.  I'll be attending the APG Professional Management Conference on Wednesday, then taking a redeye flight home.   

        Much, but not all, of the work I accomplished this week I could have done at the Family History Center in Sarasota by ordering films, however it would have taken me much longer.  At the Family History Library (FHL),  I can pull a Grantee index for Allegany County, New York deeds, and make a copy of it, or write down the volume and page number of the deeds I want to view.  In this case there were about 30 of them.  I then check the volume numbers in the Family History Catalog and create a list of microfilms.  I pull the microfilms out of the cabinet and go to the page noted in the index and make a copy of the deed.  At home, I would have to order the microfilms and wait a few weeks for them to arrive.  At the library I can move from film to film quickly.  Cost is also a factor.  If I were to order these films it would cost $5.50 each.  A few years ago, the library installed new scanner/printers which allow you to either print a paper copy (.10 ea.) or save the document to a USB drive (free).  I save all of my documents to my drive so I can transcribe them later.  A big benefit of being in Salt Lake is being able to take advantage of the huge book collection.  The first floor has printed genealogies and the third floor has the U.S. Collection of books, of shelves by state.  There are county histories, church and cemetery books, local genealogical society publications...just an amazing amount of information.  This year they also have converted the copiers to digital so you can scan copies from books (free) or print a paper copy. Although the FHL is in the process of digitizing their microfilm and putting it online, much of this information is not yet there.  

    When I visit the FHL I schedule my trip from Wednesday to Wednesday. The library is open from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday; until 5:00 p.m. on Monday and is closed on Sunday.  I tend to arrive at 8 a.m. and work until mid-afternoon when I have a late lunch/early dinner, return to the library and work until closing.  Sunday is my day to (1) visit the Tabernacle to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and (2) to reorganize my work, check what I’ve done, and write reports, which helps me understand what I need to do during my last few days.  There’s nothing worse than arriving home to realize the one record you needed you forgot to get (been there, done that).

    If you would like more information about researching at the FHL, or if your Society is interested in a trip, please contact me.

    Happy Hunting!


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© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2013