Sunday, June 23, 2013

Genealogy Discoveries

in front of the Family History Library
Home one week from Salt Lake City and I am still sorting through photocopies and looking at scanned documents.  This will continue for some time.  You don't go to the Family History Library for two weeks and come home empty handed.  It was truly two weeks of discoveries.

What is your attitude when you crank a reel of microfilm?  Are you optimistic or pessimistic?  Even if you do not find anything pertinent on that reel of microfilm, you at least know nothing is in that group of documents.  However, when you begin cranking and see this message, it's difficult to assume anything but that your ancestor's name is going to be under that smeared ink or on a page so faded you cannot begin to read it.  Intermittent?  When wasn't my ancestor intermittent?

After a week of research I requested microfilm from the Vault.  It was soon discovered that the film has been scanned.  It is still not on the digital images of FamilySearch ... perhaps soon.  I am glad I went ahead and ordered the film.

Another discovery was that new books are frequenting the shelves on the Third Floor which now contains all United States books.  Yes, some are being digitized, but it was exciting to locate new books.  The Canadian books have been removed to the Main Floor which also contains what remains of the family histories/genealogies.  The other floors remain much the same as they have been in years past.

I am told that patronage of the library is down because people "think" everything is online.  Get a clue!!  Not everything is in the Family History Library and NOT everything is on Internet.  There were noticeably less people using the library than in others years I have been there.  Also noticeable was the cut back in hours on Saturdays.  I heard a few complaints about it not opening until 9 am on Saturday mornings.  Do you remember when the library was open at 7:30 am and closed at 10 pm?  Those were the days!!  The days of putting tooth picks in your eyes to stay awake until the last minute.

As usual it is fun to visit with people waiting to be first in line at the front door each morning.  That's a great place to share information.  One morning I was visiting with a young man about a Minnesota death certificate that arrived at my house after I arrived at Salt Lake City.  My daughter called and attempted to read it to me.  She proclaimed that the man's father had an unusual name that looked that Don or Doun.  Her daughter looked at the document and quickly told me that man's parents were both of the same name ... Don't Know.  It happens!  No place of birth other than Austria left me rather clueless as to where to look.  The young man waiting to get into the library laughed at my story and then recommended that I visit the web page, Dalby Database.

The Dalby Database is a great place to look for Minnesota records, such as marriages, cemeteries, city directories, birth records, newspaper information, church records, obituaries and histories.  In 1981 after suffering a heart attack, John Dalby of Faribault, Minnesota, not able to return to work, started doing genealogical research, walking cemeteries, indexing books and all that stuff genealogists desire.  His information is now online in magnificent databases.  Nope ... still no clue about Mr. and Mrs. Don't Know.

Truly genealogy is a daily discovery for me.  I don't have to be in the Family History Library (but that would be nice).  I can do genealogy at home, in other libraries, courthouses, graveyards  ... well, you get the idea.  I hope you are making genealogy discoveries today.

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