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, December 7, 2014

Do You Remember Christmas Parades?

Do You Remember......Christmas Parades? 

Back in the "olden days," before stores began displaying their Christmas decorations in August and September, we took holidays one at a time.  Only after we had enjoyed Halloween and eaten the last bite of Thanksgiving dinner did we turn our focus to the Christmas season.  Because Christmas didn't really begin until we were well into November, we didn't have time to tire of all of the commercials or Christmas music and the excitement and anticipation had plenty of time to build.

Christmas parade, Coalinga California, Brownie troop

When we were living in Coalinga, California, I was in a Brownie Troop and was so excited to participate in our small town's Christmas Parade. In case you can't tell, we were a herd of red nose reindeer.  Did even you know there was such a thing?   

Costumes, like life in general, were simple and our cone-shaped-construction-paper reindeer heads are evidence of that.   


Not to be outdone and with the aid of our mother, one of my little brothers dressed up that year as Santa, decorated his bike and he too participated in the Christmas parade.  

The Christmas parade helped to officially kick off the Christmas season and we then looked forward to several weeks of family and church activities, music, parties, special treats and Christmas movies.

Pumped full of sugary goodies and wired on a steady stream of activities, we then faced the challenge of trying to ensure our place on Santa's list of good girls and boys.


Do you remember those days?  

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

On The Lookout For Perrys - Part 1

Was this my Perry connection?    The name Perry has been used as a first name in my own immediate family and I was told that it was because of the importance of a family named Perry, but no one knew exactly who that family was.  

But as a result, I have long kept my eye out for a Perry connection somewhere.  As I worked on my Rainwater family, I was intrigued as I came upon a Perry family and couldn't help but wonder if this was the family.  
Photo generously shared by David, a descendant


Mary Ann Ayers,  or Mollie as many called her, was the only daughter of Reuben Ayers and Frances Rainwater.  Frances was a sister to my second great grandmother Olivia Rainwater.  

In 1877, when Mary Ann was 20 years old, she married James Crain Perry in Haralson County, Georgia.  So the question in my mind is, were the two families ever close enough that my Grandfather would have known and named his only son after this Perry family? The question led me on an adventure to get to know Mary Ann.


Mary Ann was born in October of 1857 in Carroll County, Georgia, but by the 1860 census, she moved with her parents Reuben and Frances Ayers to the hills of Calhoun County, Alabama. John and wife Olivia (nee Rainwater) Ganus and their children had also moved from Georgia to Calhoun County and were living just a few households away.  By 1870 Reuben, Frances and Mary Ann were back in Georgia and once again were living in close proximity to the John and Olivia Ganus family.  John and Olivia had three children by the time Mary Ann was born.  Mary Ann and William Franklin Ganus, my great grandfather were about three years apart. There is no doubt that the two families enjoyed each other’s company, as shared in this post. But both families would move multiple times to multiple states in the years that followed and I wondered, did the children several generations later have opportunity to know each other?  It will take some digging to see if they did and if indeed this family was responsible for the Perry name in my own family. 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved