Thursday, November 6, 2008

Research Day One - Salt Lake City

In order to make the best use of the Family History Library which opens at 8:00 a.m., it is best to arrive punctually at 8:00 a.m. There is always a lineup of people eager to enter and begin their research and some have preferred microfilm readers. In my week there I found that I most liked to be in the row that had regular microfilm readers on one side (and there are plenty of these) and on the opposite side of the row were microfilm readers that were 45x and 65x the regular magnification. For some film these readers were absolutely essential.

We began with an Orientation Lecture which was exceedingly good and covered all aspects of using the Library. It was about one hour and absolutely essential to making the most efficient use of the facilities.

When I prepared the excel file of all the films, fiche and books that I wanted to look at one of my columns separated each item into English county. I should mention that my people in just six generations back had managed to come from fifteen different counties.

A little history would be helpful at this point. My first emigrant ancestors came to Canada in 1818 from Cumberland County with their nine children, son in law and two grandsons. These were my 3x great grandparents who both carried the surname Routledge. One of their daughters married an emigrant Yorkshire man who arrived in Canada around 1832. So far just two counties and these two families stayed within their counties all the way back as far as I have traced thus far. The Yorkshire man married one of the Routledge daughters and one of their daughters married my next emigrant ancestor a Pincombe. The Pincombe family (from Devon) arrived at New York Harbour 7 Jan 1851 and travelled to Gennessee to be with an older brother of my 2x great grandfather. They then moved on in the early spring to Canada. As it turned out the Pincombe's wife was from Somerset. As I trace her line back I have connections to Gloucestershire and London. So now the number of counties is increasing quickly. The son of this union married my next emigrant a Buller from the Midlands who arrived in 1908. Probably by then most people had given up on this ancestor marrying as he was already 41 years old but marry he did. My Buller line is perhaps the most elusive of all. Just looking at a couple of generations back I am already looking at Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Surrey, Somerset and London. My mother was the daughter of this couple and my father came to Canada as a child of nine with his parents in 1913. He was born in Hampshire as was his father and his father back to the late 1400s (and they lived within two miles of Andover this entire time). My grandfather's wife was also from Hampshire but her mother was from Wiltshire. Also my great grandfather had married a woman from Dorset and my county count continues to increase and just within six generations back from me. Just to add one more to the mix, one of my lines moved to Hampshire from Berkshire thus giving me the final total. As I move back further to my 4x, 5x, etc grandparents, I add ten more counties which was rather a surprise given that I didn't think people moved around very much.

Back to the microfilm readers and the excel file. I sorted my excel file on the counties to give me a pattern with which I could organize my days at the Library so as to accomplish as much as possible on my first visit - once I arrived there I realized that I would be back again simply because of the enormity of the written library which I would scarcely be touching plus all their databases which are available to you on their computers. Plus I kept finding new little villages because of the details in the records where I needed to look up the microfilm but I recorded them for another time.

I had decided on a plan where I would look at my selections for Devon and Somerset on the first day. I developed a Research Plan which would give me information that would let me prove my 4x and possibly 5x great grandparents since I have proven back to my 3x great grandparents. I already have a lot of microfiche for my ancestor's parishes in Devon and Somerset so I was concentrating on other material that was available to me. By being very strict with myself and photographing the records that I wanted to use for various proofs, I was able to take 700 pictures on my first day (most of them are legible as I checked to make sure that was the case - I purchased a brand new 10.0 megapixel camera for this event) which included the records that I wanted to verify from original registers that I did not have. I was to be somewhat disappointed in this as the LDS do not hold the original registers for Devon in its entirety. I will order several parishes fiche from the Devon Record Office in the next little while. However, they more than make up for this with the original microfilmed records that they do have and I was soon very very busy and the day flew by. A quick lunch and then back again. Monday is Family Day so the Library closes at 5:00 p.m. Probably lucky for me as my eyestrain was starting to show. It was a good first day though as I accomplished all I wanted to do for Devon including some books that I wanted to look at. I didn't get much done on Somerset but I own a lot of records for Somerset and I was able to accomplish this later.

We had a group dinner that evening at a nearby restaurant. It was about a six block walk for those of us who declined the shuttle. We were a group of 36 with most having Palatine ancestors including my husband of course which is why we belong to the group :) . Salt Lake City offers quite a few really nice places to dine and our hotel, by the way, was right next door to the library. Out the back door of the lobby and down a short laneway to the sidewalk and we were at the back of the library heading for the front door.

Tomorrow I will post Day two which was another exceedingly interesting day.

No comments: