Sunday, November 4, 2012

Learning in Salt Lake City

Less than a month ago I spent nine days in Salt Lake City.  My time was primarily spent in the Family History Library.  As a consultant for a group of genealogists, I discovered that I should have been cloned.  I put on miles going from floor to floor to give them advise and suggestions.  Eventually everybody settled into a routine of research.

We learned that a week in genealogy paradise is not enough time.  We also learned that the best information is found in the late afternoon or evening of the last day in the library.  Having researched all week, it is time for the "happy dance pay off."  We learned that the library consultants on each floor are extremely helpful, particularly on the International Floor.

I had some German church record copies in my hand, when I decided to chat with a German consultant.  I asked him if he'd like to move to North Platte, Nebraska ... no, I didn't think so.  I asked him how I would be able to translate some of the difficult handwriting.  He had the answer.

1.  Go to the FamilySearch web site.  Sign in.
2.  Click on Learn.
3.  Click on Discussion Forum.  Locate the area you are researching, such as Eastern Europe.  Leave a message with a jpg attachment of the document you cannot read.
4.  Within a short period of time somebody in the genealogy world will return with answer(s).

5.  It works!!  I tried it.

As you probably know the books are being digitized.  The empty shelves on the main floor family genealogy section are very noticeable.  The books have been taken apart and digitized.  Supposedly you should be able to locate them by clicking Books on the home page of FamilySearch.  I soon realized that some books that have been digitized are not there ... yet.  In that case, I recommend trying the Catalog (same home page).  My preference is to use the old or previous version of the catalog.  You can then enter the name of a book, author, location, surname, etc. and determine if it has been digitized.
By clicking on the appropriate area, the book in pdf format will be downloaded to your computer.
Some of the empty shelves on Main Floor. 

digitized books

It seems to be a continual catch up phase with FamilySearch. I discovered several books placed in High Density on the International Floor that were not listed as such in the catalog.  It is important (another tip) to inquire if you cannot locate a book.

The library was full of genealogy groups, people attending genealogy conferences and people like us who were there to find all the answers.  We had fun and took some breaks such as going to the Cheesecake Factory for a sugar high.  The week went by too fast.  Memories and more research will keep us busy until 2013 when we will start thinking about another trip to Salt Lake City.

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