Library Essentials: What do You Take on a Research Trip?

Library Essentials: What do You Take on a Research Trip?

You’ve probably read my previous posts detailing my summer of library research thus far at the Family History Library and the Clayton Library. This summer I will have researched at genealogy libraries, public libraries, and academic libraries in four different states. That’s a lot of research. There are some mistakes I made along the way and things I forgot. My question for you is: what is a must-have for your library research trip?

Going to the local library is a lot different than heading to a neighboring state to research at a major genealogy library. The preparation is different and the things you need to pack and remember can be different. And that can also depend on what is available at that library. For example, I didn’t make one photocopy at the Family History Library but that’s because I used a flash drive and my cell phone camera. In years past I made enough photocopies to need extra room in my suitcase.

When I take a research trip, what I take depends on:

  • What is available (research and technology wise) at the library
  • What I’m researching
  • How I’m getting to the library and eventually returning home (that impacts how much I need to carry)
  • How many days I’ll be researching
  • How I will get there (driving, walking, public transit)
  • What I’m going to eat.

Yes, eating is important. Straying hydrated and eating somewhat regularly (more so if you have health issues) is important and in the case of my latest trip it was an issue since many nearby restaurants were closed (lesson learned, always have some sort of snack on you at all times).

So what did I take? It was interesting to watch other researchers and compare what they brought versus what I brought. Some rolled around small pieces of luggage with their information. Others had 3-ring binders. In my research bag I had:

  • A laptop and charger
  • My cell phone and charger
  • A flash drive
  • A notebook
  • Pens, pencils, and highlighters
  • Removable sticky notes and tags (for my notebook)
  • A list of what I was researching/Research Log

Research Trip Supplies

I also sent myself emails of information I thought I might need such as research logs, to-do lists, charts and GEDCOMs. I prioritized what was the most important and went from there. I assumed that “stuff” happens and there were certain items I may forget but I could purchase at a local office supply store. If my computer died or my research bag was stolen, I still had those emails I could access on my phone or on a computer at the library.

Every night in my hotel room, I went over what I knew, what I found, and where else I needed to look. Sometimes this differed depending on what new-to-me sources I found or a librarian suggested.

Now how did I prepare? Well, I spent time deciding what family lines I would research. I then went through the library catalogs to find items that were not found elsewhere and not online. I made that my priority to research those things. I also chose multiple projects knowing that sometimes things don’t work out. In one case, a microfiche was lost and so I was unable to use that much-needed resource. Always search the catalog before going to the library.

Now it’s your time. How do you prepare for a library research trip? What do you take with you? Has that changed over time? Please share your experience in the comments below.

 

Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.

 


Register for Friday's African Diaspora Series webinar: Freedmen's Bureau Labor Contracts by Bernice Bennett

Register-african
 
The Records of the Field Offices for the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1863-1872 (RG 105) consist of an array of documents created after the Civil War. This session will focus specifically on the genealogical value of exploring freedmen’s labor contracts to include the location of the contract, plantation name and owner of the plantation, names of the laborer and his/her family, and terms of the contract. Several examples will be discussed to show how the contract terms are written and monitored in several States and communities.
 
Registerbut 
 

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About the presenter

BerniceBennett-2021-144x144Bernice Alexander Bennett is an award-winning author, genealogist, nationally recognized guest speaker, storyteller, and producer-host of the popular Research at the National Archives and Beyond BlogTalkRadio program. She is also the first recipient of the Ida B. Wells Service Award given by the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage for her dedication to broadcast stories about enslaved and indentured ancestors of African descent. She also received the Elizabeth Clark-Lewis Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) Genealogy Award in 2019 for original research in support of African American Genealogy. Bennett is on the Board of Directors for the National Genealogical Society.

Bennett--a New Orleans native and current resident in Maryland--enjoyed a 35-year career in domestic and international public health. She received an undergraduate degree from Grambling State University and a graduate degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan.

Her genealogical research centers on Southeast Louisiana, and also Edgefield and Greenwood Counties, South Carolina. Her South Carolina journey is chronicled in Our Ancestors, Our Stories, which won the 2018 International AAHGS Book award for Non-Fiction Short Stories. Her second book Tracing Their Steps - A Memoir received the Phillis Wheatley Literary Award from the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage in 2019 and the International AAHGS Book Award in 2020 for Non-Fiction Short Story.

Add it to your Google Calendar

With our Google Calendar button, you will never forget our upcoming webinars. Simply click the button to add it to your calendar. You can then optionally embed the webinar events (and even turn them on and off) into your own personal calendar. If you have already added the calendar, you do not have to do it again - the new webinar events will automatically appear.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Friday, August 6, 2021 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  6. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  7. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone. 

We look forward to seeing you all there!


Burying the Body in England - free webinar by Helen V. Smith now online for limited time

2021-08-03-image500blog

The recording of today's webinar by Helen V. Smith, "Burying the Body in England" is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

In England no place of burial is given on the death certificate. This presentation will discuss ways of determining where a person might be buried.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour and 13 minute recording of "Burying the Body in England" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. If you have a webinar membership, it is available anytime.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 1,553 classes of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 5,924 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

Print the 2021 webinar brochure here.


Register for this week's Down Under webinar: Burying the Body in England by Helen V. Smith

Register-downunder
 
In England no place of burial is given on the death certificate. This presentation will discuss ways of determining where a person might be buried.
 
Registerbut 
 

Test Your Webinar Connection

To ensure that your webinar connection is ready to go, click here.

Can't make it to the live event?

No worries. Its recording will be available for a limited time. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access to all webinar recordings for the duration of their membership.

About the presenter

HelenSmith-144x144Helen has been researching her family since 1986 with research in Australia, England, Wales and Ireland. She is the author of Death Certificates and Archaic Medical Terms and Google the Genealogist’s Friend and has written for a number of family history as well as scientific publications. Helen has a One Name Study on Quested. Helen has spoken to a wide variety of audiences nationally and internationally. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Genealogical Speakers Guild. Professionally, she is a Molecular Epidemiologist specializing in Public Health Microbiology and has a strong interest in infectious diseases and Public Health through the ages.

Add it to your Google Calendar

With our Google Calendar button, you will never forget our upcoming webinars. Simply click the button to add it to your calendar. You can then optionally embed the webinar events (and even turn them on and off) into your own personal calendar. If you have already added the calendar, you do not have to do it again - the new webinar events will automatically appear.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at:

  • 10pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 9pm Central
  • 8pm Mountain
  • 7pm Pacific

which, in Sydney, is Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at:

  • 12pm

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  6. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  7. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone. 

We look forward to seeing you all there!


Top 10 genealogy webinars - July 2021

Top10-new

We've tallied the numbers and made a list of the Top 10 FamilyTreeWebinars.com classes for July 2021! Are your favorite topics or instructors among the list? Need something new to learn? Use the list to get inspired!

Each month thousands of Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers head for the library to learn new skills and techniques to help improve their genealogy research. Among the now-1,539 genealogy classes in the members-only library, these were the most frequently played during the month of July 2021.  They aren't necessarily the newest classes but rather the topics that were sought out by our members.

Have you seen any of these classes? Are these among your favorites too? Some of these classes (and topics) might be new to you! Get inspired to learn more and make your genealogy journey more fun!

The Top 10 for July 2021

1. They Had Names: Identifying Children Represented by Tick Marks in Pre-1850 Censuses by Denise E. Cross, MSLIS, CG

2. Online Sources for Scottish Genealogy Research by Christine Woodcock

3. 1 Step to Faster Internet at Home (TechZone) by Geoff Rasmussen

4. The Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Historical Context by Alison Hare, CG

5. Grandpa’s Eyes and Grandma’s Hair: Tracing the Origin of Physical Traits with Genetic Genealogy by Paul Woodbury

6. 'What are the Odds?' An online tool that can help solve DNA puzzles by Jonny Perl

7. That Scoundrel George by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

8. Top tips for reviewing Smart Matches™ and Record Matches by Daniel Horowitz

9. Using Irish newspapers and other printed material by Natalie Bodle

10. Genealogy for Houses by Jeanie F Glaser

The Runner-Ups

11. An Introduction to DNA Painter by Jonny Perl

12. What do MyHeritage AutoClusters Tell Me? (TechZone) by Paul Woodbury

13. Convert Paper Files to Digital Using ScanSnap (TechZone) by Diane Boumenot

14. Become Symbol Savvy: 3 Easy Ways (TechZone) by Cheri Hudson Passey

15. Four ways DNA Painter can help with your family history research by Jonny Perl

16. Should I worry if I don't see my surname listed in my DNA matches? (TechZone) by Diahan Southard

17. Discover the new Legacy Family Tree 9 by Geoff Rasmussen

18. Death is not the end - litigation remains: Exploring Australian wills and probate by Cathie Sherwood

19. Legacy 9 Unlocked (part 2): Adding an Online Document by Geoff Rasmussen

20. 50 Records that Document Female Ancestors by Gena Philibert-Ortega

The 2nd Runner-Ups

21. How to Record Virtual Presentations Via Zoom (TechZone) by Michelle Leonard

22. New England’s ‘Seventh State’: Life along the coast by B.J. Jamieson

23. Jewish Resources on the Genealogy Giants by Ellen Kowitt and Sunny Morton

24. DNA Downer: Strategies for Dealing with DNA Fatigue by Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.

25. New breakthroughs in MyHeritage's photo tools by Tal Erlichman

26. Angel Island's Immigrants from 80 Countries: Stories from the West Coast Counterpart to Ellis Island by Grant Din

27. FamilySearch.org - 10 Links You Have to Try by Devin Ashby

28. Notion for Genealogists by Lisa Alzo

29. Solving Family Mysteries with mtDNA Projects by Mags Gaulden

30. Key Online Record Collections for Researching Your Mexican Ancestors by Colleen Robledo Greene, MLIS

Access to classes in the Legacy Family Tree Webinar library are available with an webinar membership. Not a member? Become one! Or watch one of our free classes here.


Specialized Lineage Societies - free webinar by Kimberly Ormsby Nagy now online for limited time

Specialized Lineage Societies - free webinar by Kimberly Ormsby Nagy now online for limited time

The recording of today's webinar by Kimberly Ormsby Nagy, "Specialized Lineage Societies - more than just DAR, Dames and Mayflower" is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

There are over 200 lineage societies that exist today - more than the commonly known societies. Perhaps you have an ancestor that was accused of witchcraft? A founder of a town? A colonial tradesman? British royalty? There is a society for all of these and many more.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour and 14 minute recording of "Specialized Lineage Societies - more than just DAR, Dames and Mayflower" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. If you have a webinar membership, it is available anytime.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 1,552 classes of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 5,919 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

Print the 2021 webinar brochure here.


New "Bonus" Webinar - The Wives of Fishermen: The Lives of 19th Century Women and the Records They Left Behind by Gena Philibert-Ortega

ew "Bonus" Webinar - The Wives of Fishermen: The Lives of 19th Century Women and the Records They Left Behind by Gena Philibert-Ortega

On the last Friday of each month, we're pleased to offer Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers a new bonus webinar just for them!   This month enjoy "The Wives of Fishermen: The Lives of 19th Century Women and the Records They Left Behind" by Gena Philibert-Ortega. 

The Wives of Fishermen: The Lives of 19th Century Women and the Records They Left Behind

The women of Nantucket are unique. They were “grass widows” who were left to fend for themselves for often years at a time. This situation meant that these women were so much more than “just a housewife.” Using a case study we will take a look at their lives and the records they left behind as well as what 19th century records might record your female ancestor’s life.

_WatchVideo

About the Presenter

Gena Philibert-OrtegaGena Philibert-Ortega is an author, researcher, and instructor whose focus is genealogy, social and women's history. She holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology and Women's Studies) and a Master’s degree in Religion. Her published works include two books, numerous articles published in magazines and online, as well as four editions of the Tracing Your Ancestors series from Morsehead Publishing. She is the editor of the Utah Genealogical Association’s magazine, Crossroads. Her writings can be found on her blogs, Gena’s Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera as well as the GenealogyBank and Legacy Webinars blogs. She is a course instructor for The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. She has presented to diverse groups worldwide including the Legacy Family Tree Webinar series. Her current research includes women's repatriation and citizenship in the 20th century, foodways and community in fundraising cookbooks, and women's material culture.

See all the webinars and videos by Gena Philibert-Ortega in the Legacy library.
 
Not a member yet?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Megan Smolenyak, Tom Jones, and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:

  • All 1,551 classes in the library 
  • 5,919 pages of instructors' handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at FamilyTreeWebinars.com
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars

It's just $49.95/year.


Webtember: All Genealogy. All September Long.

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Take your genealogy skills to the next level with this FREE online genealogy conference, held each Friday in September: 30 live and pre-recorded webinars in all. Join live for all four Fridays or just one, and if you can't, we've got you covered! Enjoy the recordings at your convenience — they'll be free to view through the end of the month.

Register here to attend the live classes.

Here's the flyer. Print for yourself or share with your genealogy society and friends.


Danger! Watch Your Assumptions!

Danger! Watch Your Assumptions!

We all have them. Assumptions. They can be a big obstacle when we consider our genealogical research.

On my recent trip to Salt Lake City, I went to my favorite local bookstore and picked up some cookbooks. One was a Junior League Cookbook from Portland, Oregon. So nothing surprising there. I buy community cookbooks on most trips given the chance. Now I didn’t look at Cooked to Taste too closely, after all, I've studied hundreds of community cookbooks. I assumed this would include a list of women's names who shared one thing in common, they were members of the Junior League of Portland, Oregon at the time the cookbook was published in 1954.

But I was so wrong.

IMG_6926

After I returned home, I opened the cookbook and instead read this explanation of who contributed to the cookbook.

IMG_6927

What?!

This is a community cookbook, it should have women from a specific community who contributed recipes. Or it should have a list of members. Either way, there should be women's names. But no. The cookbook represents a community of women but it’s unclear what women from where and what sources the recipes come from. This cookbook is a collection of recipes of one woman, mostly unattributed.

So this is definitely a problem as I think of a cookbook as a genealogy source. But that got me thinking about other assumptions we make about genealogical sources. Maybe you recognize some of these:

  • I can’t find my ancestor in the census so they must not have been counted.
  • This index for this record set doesn’t include my ancestor so they must not have been in this place in time.
  • My ancestor was “important” so they should be in this record.
  • My ancestor always spelled their name this way.
  • My ancestor always went by this name.
  • They must have been married before they had their first child.
  • They didn’t divorce. That wasn’t done in those days.
  • In the good old days, people did (or didn’t do) that…

You get the picture. Instead, we should be thinking:

  • I can’t find my ancestor in the census so they must not have been counted.

Have I tried to search different such as a wild card search or Soundex or even a different website with the census? Better yet, going page-by-page in the location I think they lived in.

  • This index for this record set doesn’t include my ancestor so they must not have been in this place in time.

What limitations does this index have? What could be missed?

  • My ancestor was “important” so they should be in this record.

Maybe they were important but maybe they weren’t. Family stories aren’t always correct. Better to exhaust records for that location and time and then draw conclusions not based on research.

  • My ancestor always spelled their name this way.

They may have but that doesn’t mean everyone else did. That record keeper may have made a mistake that wasn’t corrected or spelling wasn’t as important.

  • My ancestor always went by this name.

Sure, but once again that doesn’t mean someone recording their name didn’t use initials or a nickname.

  • They must have been married before they had their first child.

Maybe, but people have always had children out-of-wedlock. It’s not that unusual.

  • They didn’t divorce. That wasn’t done in those days

Sure, people have always hated their spouses. They may have divorced, abandoned their spouse, or even moved and remarried without the benefit of a divorce.

  • In the good old days, people did (or didn’t do) that…

Yes, yes they did.

 

What are Your Assumptions?

Assumptions stop us from doing exhaustive, thorough research. They also stop us from thinking critically about our research. Research requires us to carefully consider what’s available and take the time to evaluate our findings before we accept them as fact. As you research, ask yourself these questions of the records you find:

  • Who is the informant for this record? Are they named? If so, how did they know this information?
  • What type of source is this? Was it recorded at the time of the event? What is the date of the recording versus the event itself? Were those involved eye-witnesses to the event?
  • Does this information answer my research question (always have a research question)?

Don't make assumptions and watch the assumptions you do have about genealogy. You can learn more about sources, information, and evidence by reading QuickLesson 17 on the Evidence Explained website.

 

Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.

 


Register for Webinar Friday - Specialized Lineage Societies - more than just DAR, Dames and Mayflower by Kimberly Ormsby Nagy

Register
 
There are over 200 lineage societies that exist today - more than the commonly known societies. Perhaps you have an ancestor that was accused of witchcraft? A founder of a town? A colonial tradesman? British royalty? There is a society for all of these and many more.
 
Registerbut 
 

Test Your Webinar Connection

To ensure that your webinar connection is ready to go, click here.

Can't make it to the live event?

No worries. Its recording will be available for a limited time. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access to all webinar recordings for the duration of their membership.

About the presenter

KimberlyNagy-144x144Dr. Nagy is a retired trauma surgeon with a lifelong passion for genealogy. She is nationally known for her work with lineage societies, and has served on national boards of several. She has 40 years of experience preparing lineage society applications, and has first hand knowledge of what is necessary to have an application approved. She has extensive lecturing experience, first as a medical educator, now as a genealogical lecturer.

Add it to your Google Calendar

With our Google Calendar button, you will never forget our upcoming webinars. Simply click the button to add it to your calendar. You can then optionally embed the webinar events (and even turn them on and off) into your own personal calendar. If you have already added the calendar, you do not have to do it again - the new webinar events will automatically appear.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Wednesday, July 30, 2021 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  6. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  7. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone. 

We look forward to seeing you all there!


New TechZone Video - 1 Step to Faster Internet at Home by Geoff Rasmussen

New TechZone Video - 1 Step to Faster Internet at Home by Geoff Rasmussen

Every Friday we're pleased to offer Legacy Family Tree Webinar subscribers a new short ten minute or less TechZone video just for them! This Friday enjoy "1 Step to Faster Internet at Home" by Geoff Rasmussen.

1 Step to Faster Internet at Home

If your internet speeds fluctuate throughout your home. Like in the office next to the modem it's screaming fast, but head down to the basement or upstairs to the kid's bedroom and it crawls, then you need a wifi extender like Google Wifi.

_WatchVideo


About the Presenter

Geoff RasmussenGeoffrey D. Rasmussen is the father of four budding genealogists. He graduated with a degree in Genealogy and Family History from Brigham Young University and has served as director and vice-president of the Utah Genealogical Association. He is the founder and host of the Legacy Family Tree webinar series and develops the Legacy Family Tree genealogy software. Geoff enjoys playing the piano, organ, cello, basketball and bowling. His favorite places are cemeteries, the ocean, and hanging out with other genealogists. He met and proposed to his wife in a Family History Center. He is the author of Kindred Voices: Listening for our Ancestors, and the popular books Legacy Family Tree, Unlocked! and Digital Imaging Essentials.

See all the webinars and videos by Geoff Rasmussen in the Legacy library.
 
Not a member yet?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Tom Jones, and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Subscribe today and get access to this members-only TechZone video AND all of this:

  • All 1,550 classes in the library
  • 5,913 pages of instructors' handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at FamilyTreeWebinars.com
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars

It's just $49.95/year.


Summer Research Trip: The Family History Library

Summer Research Trip: The Family History Library

You've probably read online that the Family History Library in Salt Lake City re-opened July 6th. During the last year I’d been promising that as soon as the Library was open I was going to travel to Utah to research. I didn’t make it to the Library on opening day but I was there a few days later.

Welcomeback

This isn’t just a re-opening after the COVID shutdown, FamilySearch used the closure to make improvements. They aren't quite done with some of the construction but that doesn’t affect your ability to research. As of this writing, the break room that you can use to buy vending machine food is not open (it will be back in August). In addition to that, my experience was that many nearby restaurants, within walking distance, were closed temporarily or permanently because of COVID. To avoid frustration, make sure to call and inquire if a restaurant is open and their hours of operation as well as if they are serving dine-in customers or to-go orders only. Some popular restaurants near the Family History Library are not open including those in the Joseph Smith Building.

Gena Philibert-Ortega at the newly opened Family History Library. Photo courtesy of Gena Philibert-Ortega.
Gena Philibert-Ortega at the newly opened Family History Library.
Photo courtesy of Gena Philibert-Ortega.

The Family History Library is currently in "stage 1" of their opening. Meaning that they are only open Monday-Friday from 9am to 5pm. So if you’re in town on the weekend, you may want to make other plans. The Salt Lake City Public Library is open on the weekends and it is a beautiful building if you're a library fan like me. You can order a ride service or you can take Trax to get there. Stage 2 of the opening will include Wednesday evenings and Saturdays.

What’s New at the FHL?

So what’s new at the Family History Library? Much of the change is in the “look” and technology of the Library. New technological tools, brighter working areas, computer stations, and table space for researcher use are the most obvious changes. I visited the library months before the COVID shutdown and the changes are noticeable. Technology such as microfilm scanners, book scanners, and multiple screen workspaces are available. If you don’t like technology, that’s ok. There’s plenty of table space to use with electric outlets for your own computer or mobile devices. If you’re like me and would rather use an old microfilm reader, you still can in a special room, but for everyone else, individual computers with microfilm scanners are available. 

New Workstations at the FHL. Photo courtesy of Gena Philibert-Ortega
New workstations at the FHL. Photo courtesy of Gena Philibert-Ortega

The ground floor is still the discovery area where visitors can learn more about family history. As you can probably guess, this floor was the busiest during my time at the Library. It was filled with families and tourists looking to discover their ancestors. The 2nd floor holds the US/Canada Microform Collection. Floor 3 is where you will find US and Canada books (they’ve added even more books, 50,000 were added donated in 2020!).

 

Family History Library Discovery Area
Family History Library Discovery Area.
Photo courtesy of Gena Philibert-Ortega

For those doing international research, B1 is the floor with the international microfilm collection as well as the map collection (check out the lighted map table and all those maps!). Although this floor is for international collections, all of the microfiche, no matter what country, is also located on this floor. B2 is the International book collection.

No matter what floor you are on you’ll find the technology that you need. But there’s also the old tried and true technology like photocopy machines. Gone is the photocopy area which you probably won't miss considering the other tools like book scanners. Even though there aren't a lot of photocopy machines, if you do need to make a copy, all photocopies are free! I overheard one volunteer state that if you still have a copy card with money on it, just exchange it with them for a flash drive.

 

Family History Library Discovery Area. Photo courtesy of Gena Philibert-Ortega
Book Scanner at the Family History Library.
Photo courtesy of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Now, what if you need help? That’s no problem. Use a Family History Library computer (there's a Help icon) or your cell phone to take a photo of a QR code that allows you to summon help. Help, when you need it, where you need it. They come to you and if they can't help they will find someone who can. Each floor also has a resource desk where you can ask for help with research, using the Library, or the technology.

Get Help at the Family History Library
QR Code to summon help at the Family History Library.
Photos courtesy of Gena Philibert-Oretga

Prepare Before You Go

I have a few suggestions for preparing for a trip to the Family History Library.

  • Like all library trips, consult the Catalog before you arrive.
  • Make sure you identify more than one family history research project to work on. That way if you run out of ideas or you become frustrated with one family line you can move on to the next.
  • Prioritize your research using materials only available at the Library (books, microforms, or record images that are restricted to viewing only at the Family History Library or an affiliate).
  • Spend some time at the computers using the subscription websites available at the Library. The Family History Library Portal (available on FamilySearch computers under the Genealogy Websites link) is different than the Family History Center Portal. While they do share some of the same genealogy subscription websites the Library has more subscriptions.
  • If you need a break from research you can take advantage of what the first floor offers such as private interview booths and large family history pedigree chart printing (you must have a tree on FamilySearch to use this service).

I do want to say something about research “success.” Researching at a large library doesn’t always mean you’ll find answers to your research questions. Yes, I did find some materials I needed. One of my favorite finds was a 70 page will, only available online at the Family History Library. But I also didn’t find quite a bit of what I was looking for. That’s ok. I spent time reading articles and books, I searched subscription websites I normally don’t have access to, and I studied records that I’m not as familiar with. No library visit is a waste if you are learning something that will help you in the future. At the very least, you now know what records your ancestor does not appear in. 

 

Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.

 


That Scoundrel George - free webinar by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL now online for limited time

2021-07-21-image500blog

The recording of today's webinar by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, "That Scoundrel George" is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

Tracking a rascally ancestor through the records can be great fun - and a great challenge. When every record he ever left appears to be a lie, where is the truth to be found?

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour and 14 minute recording of "That Scoundrel George" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. If you have a webinar membership, it is available anytime.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 1,549 classes of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 5,913 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
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  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

Print the 2021 webinar brochure here.


Register for Webinar Wednesday: That Scoundrel George by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

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Tracking a rascally ancestor through the records can be great fun - and a great challenge. When every record he ever left appears to be a lie, where is the truth to be found?
 
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No worries. Its recording will be available for a limited time. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access to all webinar recordings for the duration of their membership.

About the presenter

JudyRussell-144x144A genealogist with a law degree, Judy G. Russell is a lecturer, educator and writer who enjoys helping others understand a wide variety of genealogical issues, including the interplay between genealogy and the law. She has a bachelor's degree in political science and journalism from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark, and holds Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer credentials from the Board for Certification of Genealogists where she serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, until her retirement, was an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School. Judy is a Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother's side and entirely in Germany on her father's side. Visit her website at www.legalgenealogist.com.

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The Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Historical Context - free webinar by Alison Hare, CG now online for limited time

2021-07-20-image500blog

The recording of today's BCG webinar by Alison Hare, CG, "The Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Historical Context" is now available to view at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com/BCG for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

London’s cholera epidemic of 1854 is best known as the story of Dr. John Snow, the Broad Street water pump and a map. But who were the people who died? This session describes the discoveries made when a genealogist whose ancestor died in the epidemic set out to identify the forgotten victims.

View the Recording at FamilyTreeWebinars.com

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour and 13 minute recording of "The Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Historical Context" is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. If you have a webinar membership, it is available anytime.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 1,548 classes of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 5,913 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

Print the 2021 webinar brochure here.