Thursday, May 28, 2009

Planning a Trip to the Family History Library

I have posted some of my thoughts and tips for researching in the Family History Library at my other blog, Genealogy Lines

It is never too early to plan your trip.  You Go Genealogy Girl #2 and I began planning our trip last November.  This meant reviewing genealogy files, documents and deciding which lineages we should definitely research.  We began searching the Family History Library Catalog online. As we found film, fiche or book information, we printed it off.  Then we prepared a notebook which contained a layout of each floor of the Family History Library.  In each section we placed the sheets we had printed off by floor, i.e. Main Floor, 2nd Floor, etc.  We added comments on some of the sheets as reminders as to what to check.   

We both took our computers.  The first thing I discovered was that my notebook was a bit bulky and cumbersome to look through at microfilm readers.  So ... I took out the pages that were on floors with microfilm readers and clipped them together.  Because we were staying at the Plaza next door, we could easily go back there if we forgot something, needed to get rid of extra baggage, etc.  

Resign yourself that you will never get everything accomplished in one trip.  Don't struggle with time ... just enjoy it.  And DO take breaks.  We discovered that even just going outside refreshed us enough to continue our research.  Do not be afraid to ask for help or ask questions.  If one attendant at the library doesn't have any answer, keep asking.  

While packing is half the fun of traveling, it can become a chore.  We drove to Salt Lake City, so could take more than people do when flying or going by train.  If you stay at the Plaza, you can wash clothes in the laundry room on the lower level.  It doesn't take that long and counts as a break.  We brought a large paper punch which we really did not need.  There are some supplies such as this on each floor in the library.  I probably should have taken a more complete listing of places, such as counties, states, etc.  While I used my laptop each day, this might have saved a bit of time.  

I love shoes, but only took two pair on this trip.  You Go Genealogy Girl #2 surprised me and had several pair of shoes.  I wish I had brought more shoes.  Just changing my shoes helps when putting in long days on the feet.  While you think you are sitting at tables or film readers, you are still doing a lot of walking ... into the stacks and photocopy machines, after film.  

If you do not have a lock for your computer, get one before you arrive in Salt Lake City.  This is a MUST.  You can link it to the leg of the microfilm reader stand or use the special desks on book floors that have electrical hook ups plus a metal loop for the computer lock.  

When you purchase a library photocopy card, keep track of it.  Don't leave it in the machine. Sign your name to it and if you do leave it, just hope an honest person turns it in.  If you use a flash drive to make copies of books or film, remember to take it with you when you leave. There are instructions for how to scan to the flash drive, but don't be afraid to ask for help.  

Your time will go quickly, so enjoy each day.  For all of you going to the library, I wish you great success ... as much or more than I had during my visit!  

You Go Genealogy Girl #1 --- Ruby 

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