Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Researching English Records at Salt Lake City

Last week we spent the entire six days Monday to Saturday looking at records at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. We had prepared a list in excel of microfilm/microfiche/books that we would like to view. These were separated into several different spreadsheets labeled USA/Canada, England, Germany, and International (mostly French). Since my ancestry is entirely English I only entered items into the England spreadsheet for my research.

We arrived at Salt Lake City and it was a lovely sunny warm day - unusual weather for the city at this time of year apparently. Since the Library isn't open Sunday and we had missed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir we decided to go for a walk which proved to be an excellent plan. We walked up to the Capitol Building and from their high staircase viewed the mountains around us. The trip in by plane had shown that we were on a plateau surrounded by mountains and the views of these mountains in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains (Sierra Nevada Range) were fabulous.

Back to research though which began with a talk Sunday evening about German Research. We came with the Palatines to America Group of which my husband is a member due to his Palatine ancestry (some of his Palatinate ancestors arrived with the 1709/1710 migration) and others came in 1725 with the last group arriving in 1753. With the two hour time difference and having arisen at 3:30 a.m. to catch our 6:30 a.m. flight, I found that I was falling asleep so excused myself and left all of those other people to learn about their German research. Good plan as I was wide awake the next morning for our 8:00 a.m. Introduction to the Library lecture given by the Family History Staff. This is an excellent lecture and prepares you most adequately to then use the collection.

I headed immediately for the B2 (which is the 2nd basement) where British Records are maintained. Be prepared for long lengths of filing cabinets holding microfilm rolls. On this day I learned to make a list of the films that I wanted to start with so that I could collect them immediately and then sit myself down and review them. I had a list of 195 films, fiche and books that I really wanted to look at. Amazingly I managed to get through 170 of these. I deliberately left out two groups of documents because I realized that I would not be able to give them the intensive review that I wanted to do and they were actually beyond my 4x and 5x great grandparent level. I have proven all my lines back to the 3x great grandparent level now and wanted to acquire material to look at the 4x great grandparents and the 5x great grandparents if readily available. Plus I wanted to verify all those parish records that I had found online and see if there was any extra information and there was. A few lovely gifts that let me definitively prove links that I had worked out with the evidence at hand. Interestingly I had managed to look appropriately at all my evidence in hand and correctly choose the next ancestor back. That shows how valuable our tools are that we can access online. But the written verification in the original records is "icing on the cake" and the extra tidbits give us some "meat on the bones" for our ancestors.

I will write about each day of research in the days following. Then I will discuss what I can do with the acquired information since I have come home with 2500 images in various forms of documents that are all applicable to my research.

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