My trip to Salt Lake City is just less than a week away and I won’t deny it; I’m getting excited. I’m excited not only to go to RootsTech and take in the sessions and Keynote speakers, you remember I’ve told you that Dr. Louis Gates will be there and he’s the person I’m most excited to see. But I’m also excited to take in the marketplace. Let’s just put it this way; so many DNA kits will be purchased and I’m hoping to score a few other items for upcoming DNA Angel Project draws.
But my trip isn’t just about connecting with friends (although I love doing that) it’s also about having the opportunity to do research at the Family History Library. The library includes about 1.4 million rolls of microfilm on-site, along with over 600,000 books, serials, and maps. They also have over 550 computer terminals where you have free access to billions of additional record images online.
So what do you do in preparation for a trip to the library? Well, of course, you want to maximize your time. So here’s what I do;
- I keep a running list of all the documents I want to find. So every time I come across something either on Ancestry or on FamilySearch I do a copy and paste to Evernote. Then when I go to the library I can systematically go through the list getting the films and retrieve the documents. Once I have an image of the documents I mark them in Evernote as completed. Note that if you discover you have a film marked “vault” you need to rearrange the retrieval of that film.
- I search the FamilySearch Wiki for information about places or subjects that I’m researching.
- I search the FamilySearch catalog for titles I need to look at.
- Organize my computer bag. This means I make sure I have all the tools that will help me at the library. My laptop, Zcan+ Mouse, my camera, pre-purchased copy cards if I have any from a previous trip, portable battery charger for my cell phone, Rocketbook Wave Notebook, money for the vending machine (after all you have to stay hydrated and nourished). I’m not taking my Flip-Pal this year (remember I need room for those DNA kits but the Flip-Pal is allowed at the library.
- I familiarize myself with the layout of the library. I know I should remember from year to year but what can I say.
If you go to the library remember; “don’t be shy” if you have a question there are experts that are familiar with the holdings on each floor so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
So if you’re in Salt Lake City for RootsTech this year and are at the Family History Library watch for me in the aisles I’ll probably be pulling a film.
If you’re planning a research trip either to the Family History Library or to any other location you might want to purchase Thomas MacEntee’s book; Family History Trippin’ – A Guide to Planning a Genealogy Research Trip. I know it’s in my collection.