Showing posts with label Family History Library. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family History Library. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Getting Recharged

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, Rootstech, Rootstech 2017, BCG, Board for Certification of Genealogist, Family History Library, FHL, Genealogy, Ancestry, Ancesetors
BCG Lectures 2016
Michelle Taggart and Michelle Goodrum
For months now I've been on hiatus from blogging due to some other things that needed my attention, but there is nothing like a genealogy conference, an institute or really any type of genealogy activity to refuel the fire! 

That's what I really needed and I got it this last Friday when I was able to attend the BCG* Lectures held in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Of course the big draw was the speakers. Any opportunity to hear genealogists such as Elizabeth Shown Mills, Judy Russell and Pamela Boyer Sayre is worth the effort in my book, but being able to hear them absolutely free of charge was an extra bonus!

Pamela Boyer Sayre's  topic was "Enough is Enough, or Is It?"  She really hit the nail on the head when she talked about how many love the hunt and gather game, collecting lots of names and documents without taking the time to carefully analyze what they have. It is so easy to fall into this trap, especially when researching someone with an unusual name or when we first begin to research. She took time to share the steps she goes through in preparing to research and shared how much a carefully thought out research plan can help. I realized I need to slow it down sometimes and spend a little more time in the preparation phase of research. 

Elizabeth Shown Mills blew our socks off as she shared a current genealogy roadblock she hit and the progress she has made using a combination of the FAN club (friends, associates and neighbors), GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard)  and DNA in her lecture entitled "FAN + GPS + DNA: The Problem-Solver's Great Trifecta." She carefully outlined the problem at hand, which centered on finding women in a totally burned county, a problem many of us would likely run from. I loved watching how she was able to take a complex problem and using the "trifecta" was able to resolve a seemingly impossible task. I understand she gives more detail in her article in the current issue of NGS and I absolutely kicked myself for recently letting that subscription lapse.  Yes, I've since repented and renewed my subscription. It's worth every penny. 

In her lecture, "Black Sheep Ancestors and Their Records,"  Ann Staley shared the many records created for those ancestors who fall into the category of "black sheep." I am not sure who was more surprised---the people sitting next to me who realized I had researched my ancestors in many if not most of the records mentioned, or me to realize that they hadn't. Surely others have colorful ancestors as well! Ann not only shared the type of records to consider, but told us about many websites that help document those ancestors.

Jeanne Bloom talked about "Bringing Life to Our Ancestors: Manuscript Collections." I have to confess that although I've been to similar lectures in the past, this is a weak spot for me. I KNOW I need to utilize these collections more, but to do so feels a little like trying to find a needle in a haystack to me. But Jeanne made it seem do-able and provided many useful suggestions and ways to access manuscript collections. 

Michael S. Ramage talked about "Adoption for the Forensic Genealogist." I found his lecture fascinating as he shared many ways to find information on adoptees. I was really surprised to learn about some of the lesser known records available and to realize how much information can be found by digging in the right places. Of course, depending on time and place, there are lots of records that can not be accessed, but there is more available than I realized. I really enjoyed his lecture. 

Of course Judy Russell was, well Judy, which means she is entertaining and funny while educating. I take advantage of any opportunity to listen to Judy because I always learn something and this time was no exception. Through her topic, "When Worlds Collide: Resolving Conflicts in Genealogical Records," she shared fascinating case studies demonstrating ways to resolve the conflicting evidence we come across.  I came away with new ideas for tackling my brick walls. 

If you were not able to attend the event, no worries because it is available to watch for free on Legacy Family Tree Webinars until October 17th and then after that, it will continue to be available to those with an annual or monthly webinar membership. The lectures were so good I intend to watch them again even though I was able to attend.

BCG Lectures 2016
Michelle Taggart and Linda Carver 
As my friend Linda Carver and I were leaving at the end of the day, we both commented that it was really a great day. Not only were we able to learn from some of the best in the industry, we were able to associate with other genies! Genealogy can be a bit isolating at times as I often find myself with my nose in the books, on the computer or sitting in the dark, viewing microfilm. But opportunities such as this provide the opportunity to get out and be among others who have the same interests and I look forward to them so much.

For these reasons, I attend anything I can relating to genealogy, knowing that I will come away not only with a deeper understanding of the principles I need to become a better researcher, but also happier for having spent time with my genea-friends. 

Coming up, I have the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy on my calendar for January 2017 and Rootstech 2017 on my calendar for February. Will you be there? 


* BCG is The Board for Certification of Genealogist 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved





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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall, The Best Three Days of the Year

Fall never seems to be long enough in Utah and some even joke that it is the best three days of the year.  So when I learned that The Board for Certification of Genealogist would be holding a lecture series at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City this past Saturday, for just a moment I wrestled with the idea of giving up the promise of good weather for a day spent indoors.  It wasn't really much of a wrestle though because with Judy Russell and Elizabeth Shown Mills teaching, I knew my time would be well spent.

Judy G. Russell, BCG Seminar, used by permission
Judy G. Russell
BCG Lecture Series
(Used by permission)
Both Judy and Elizabeth are masters at teaching us how to see and think as genealogists, all while weaving the stories of their subjects' lives through the use of records.  Listening to them is not only educational, but a lot of fun.

And so I got up bright and early on Saturday morning and drove down to the  Family History Library and I am so glad that I did.  As I listened to all of the speakers, I enjoyed the day immensely and am excited to once again pull out some of my difficult-to-solve genealogical problems to see if just maybe I will see and understand things that I have missed in the past.   Thank you ladies for time well spent.    


You can find Judy G. Russell on her website,  The Legal Genealogist and Elizabeth Shown Mills on her websites, Historic Pathways and Evidence Explained

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved