Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FGS 2015-Don't Forget the Family History Library!

Just in case fabulous classes, an enormous exhibit hall and great keynote speakers are not enough to entice you to attend the FGS 2015 Conference in Salt Lake City this February, let me remind you this conference will occur just down the street from the world famous Family History Library.

If you have never been to the library, it is hard to comprehend how enormous the library is.  With five floors of books, maps and microfilm for US, Canada, British Isles and International research,  it has something for everyone.

Elder Hanson
2nd Floor Greeter Desk
Recently they have made a few changes at the library. One very noticeable change is the reference area on several of the floors, which has made it a little more welcoming and comfortable.

The library has also changed the way we get help.  Trained volunteers are available to help with questions, but if you need additional help, a scheduler can set up a consultation with a specialist. The scheduler will then provide you with a restaurant style pager which allows you to continue researching until the specialist is available. I love this change! No more just standing in line waiting for help!
Pagers for Consultant help


At the Family History Library I love the freedom to pull and access both microfilm and books as I am ready. No waiting on reference people to pull the films for me or limiting the number of films I can view.


Tim Bingaman, AG, FHL, consultant stations
Tim Bingaman
AG at one of the new 2nd floor consultant stations
Although I do love the third floor which has an impressive collection of books for US research, I spend most of my time on the second floor which houses the US microfilm.

Court records, deeds, tax records, cemetery records, you name it, the library has it. Of course the available records vary depending on location and time period, but I love being able to research so many locations all under one roof.


While too numerous to mention in this post, the library has acquired collections not found everywhere, so don't stop with some of the more common sources. Take time to go through the FamilySearch Catalog and the Family Search Wiki ahead of time to learn about some of the less common resources available at the library.  One such example is the Leonardo Andrea manuscript collection. Leonardo Andrea was a professional genealogist who did research in the south.  This collection includes transcripts of Bible records, correspondence, genealogical sketches and many other types of materials on 125 rolls of film. Although he focused on South Carolina research, he did include other states such as North Carolina, Virginia and other southern states. Last time I viewed this microfilm, I was required to leave my driver's license with them until I was finished, so you may want to make sure you take your license along. To read about this collection, see here:


One of the many rows of microfilm
 at the FHL
You will want to make copies of the genealogy treasures that you find and there are some great options at the library. I know it is old fashioned, but I still like hard copies for much of what I find and copies at the library are a bargain at 5 cents a page. To make copies, it's necessary to purchase a copy card that can be used in the copy machines. The cards start at $2 each and can be purchased in a vending machine that takes cash or credit card. Another money saving option is to take a flash drive on which to save your documents.

The library houses a large
collection of books
You have likely read the section about preparing to research at the library on the FamilySearch site found here, but I want to add just a couple of things from my own experience. If you are bringing a laptop, be sure and bring a laptop lock. Although the library does feel very safe, it's always a good idea to protect your valuables.  If I don't have pockets in the clothing I am wearing,  I take a small purse that slips around my neck where I can stick things I want to keep with me like cash, credit/debit cards and my copy card.

Although I tend to get so involved I loose track of time, eventually my stomach will remind me to take a break to eat. I like to throw in a snack and a bottle of water in my bag to take to the main floor snack room when I need a break. There is also a wide variety of vending machines in the snack room. I enjoy the genealogy chatter and have met some fun people there. If I want to take time for a sit down meal, JB's is right next door. If I am in the mood for fresh air and a little exercise,  there are many eateries close by.

To top it all off, I am no longer surprised if while researching I look up and discover a fellow blogger or one of my favorite genealogist sitting across the table from me. Many if not most people attending the conference will try to sneak in at least a little time at the library and although we all want to take advantage of every minute we have for research, it's fun to see and meet others on a more personal level.  And that my friend, is just one more plus to the never ending list of reasons to attend FGS 2015.  I will be watching for you!

A special thanks to friend Linda Carver for taking and sharing the photos.  All photos used with permission.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

4 comments:

  1. Now I REALLY feel bad about not being able to attend. Such good information for those planning to be there in February.

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    1. No doubt about it, it will be a great and unique conference which would be all the better if you were going to be here. I've missed my fair share of conferences--we just can't do it all unfortunately.

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  2. Michelle, I had heard about the new restaurant-style pagers but I have not seen them yet. They will surely get things to move along a little quicker. Thanks for sharing your tips. This will truly be a unique opportunity for those interested in genealogy.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Chuck. It will be an exciting time to be in Salt Lake City for sure. Between the conferences and the library, it will be a great place for genealogist to gather! Thanks for stopping by.

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