Sunday, April 17, 2011

Going to Salt Lake City

The GIRLS are going to Salt Lake City to the Family History Library! We arrive at the Plaza Hotel on May 22nd and will be there two weeks. We hope to have a productive two weeks, meet old friends and new friends and come home with a lot of genealogy treasures.

In order to do this, we need a plan. We each have large research notebooks. These contain to-do sheets which begin as print-outs from the Family History Library Catalog. In case you haven't noticed the FamilySearch web page does allow you to go back to the "old" catalog, which we prefer. Just click on "Go to the previous site" which is in a blue box. We print out the library catalog entries of interest for film, fiche and books. I label mine according to the floors of the library, such as the 3rd floor being the US and Canada book floor. Then I add notes regarding why I am using that book, fiche or film. Each year my research notebook seems to grow. I never get through everything while there, but I definitely make progress, all because I have a plan.

I also want to get as much research done at home before leaving for Salt Lake City. That means making sure I have documents that are needed, such as death certificates and obituaries. The original documents stay at home. If necessary, I place pdfs and jpgs on my laptop for reference. The research papers in the notebook are either in order of preference or by family group all under each floor of the library. Sometimes they don't stay in any specific order. As I study the various individuals or families in need of research, I make a list of goals or objectives. Those dead end lines will be first on my list.

While in the library it is a good idea to not just copy or scan. Be sure you read and evaluate. Our late evenings are usually spend doing that and deciding if we need to look at film or books that were not on our list. We also rearrange our bag on wheels in preparation for the next day, then fall asleep with sweet dreams of finding our ancestors.

As many of you know, I have a little car known as Lil' Red. It is overloaded by the time we reach our destination. Last year it took three carts and three hotel employees to help us to our room. We hope to have a lighter trip this year. Last year we took scanners and a printer along with an extra table. Those will all stay home this year.

Our arrival night will be spent unpacking, arranging and rearranging. The library is not open so we won't be tempted to drop everything in the floor and rush over there. I don't take my large research notebook to the library each day, but sort through the papers that I want for the day. Those go with me in a smaller notebook. Because we stay at the Plaza Hotel next door to the library, I can always go back for more papers. Before setting out for the library each morning, I remind myself that I need to pace the day, take some breaks, walk around or go back to the room and relax. Otherwise I will not be healthy enough to finish two weeks at the library.

It is interesting to see how people go prepared to the library. Many have bags on wheels which contain their research work, perhaps a laptop computer and accessories. Others have tote bags or just carry in a notebook. We go to stay and park our "stuff" so we have the bags on wheels. A necessity is a lock and cable for the laptops. I also take my iPod Touch which I do not leave unattended. I suspect YGGG #2 (Cheri) will be taking her iPad.

We both have hand held scanners that take up limited space. They are great for making scans of pages in oversized books. There are also scanners available for public use on each floor. Our hand held scanners are VuPoint Magic Wands. Even though we will scan there will be plenty of photocopies made from books and microfilm.

All too soon our time will be over and we will say goodbye to Salt Lake City. It will be time to head Lil' Red east and head back to Nebraska. We will talk all the way home about what we found and didn't find. It will also be those hours that we can decide what we needed that wasn't brought and what we brought we didn't need. Unfortunately we will forget and not write it down. Next year we'll start all over trying to decide what to take or leave at home. Some of that lack of organization may be blamed on age!

If you are in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library during our visit, look us up. We're the You Go Genealogy Girls, Cheri and Ruby. You will find us all day long and evening on one of the five floors of the library.

You Go Genealogy Girl #1 Ruby


  1. Well, I am still working on the getting organized thing with the other 10,000 interruptions this Spring like the water in the basement from the last snow and fast thaw! Today is making Chili and working on the notebook. Lots of late nights upcoming for me to get ready--but I am excited and rearing to go! One month away and we will be packing the car and heading west.

  2. That sounds like a really fun trip. Hope you find lots of good stuff.

  3. Have fun, I am soooooo green with envy. When my kids have flown the nest I plan on visiting the "mecca" of libraries :)
    Having said that I'm going to Scotland in a few weeks and will be going to New Register House on at least one day there.

  4. I must admit to being a bit jealous. This will be the first summer in 5 years that I haven't made it to the FHL. Your preparations sound just like mine, except I don't have a portable scanner...yet! The Plaza is such a great place to stay - so convenient. I just wish it had a bit more in the way of a kitchen - JB's gets old after a few days. Have fun!



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