Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Dream Time: FGS, Rootstech and the Family History Library

The Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference is coming to Salt Lake City on February 11-14, 2015.

It will be a special conference as for the first time RootsTech and FGS are having some shared sessions particularly the Keynotes and a shared expo hall (and there are a lot of fantastic exhibitors coming!)

Wednesday 11th is the FGS society day with many presentations with a society focus. The program is available here


Family History Library
As President of my society I am particularly interested in these sessions.  They cover a broad range of subjects by excellent presenters: CeCe Moore talking about setting up a DNA SIG at your society, Lisa Louise Cooke talking about using YouTube as a marketing strategy, a number of talks on ways of engaging members who are not local.

Even if you are not on the board of your society many of these talks would be very worthwhile to attend so you can take the ideas back to you society. Of course you could also spend the Wednesday at the Family History Library (FHL) which is literally just around the corner or spend the day at the exhibitors' booths or indeed catch up with genie friends you already know and take the time to make new friends.

If you haven't been to the FHL before it can be a bit like being let loose in a candy store with a months allowance. Planning will help you get the most out of your time.

This is where you still have time to plan.

1. How much free time are you going to spend at the Library? Can you arrive a couple of days before or leave a couple of days later?

2. You need to maximise the time you do have available, so looking at things that you could look at home anytime is a waste. The FHL is online so you can see what is there before you go. You can also see what is available online from the FHL now, remember the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) is digitising their microfilm holdings with the aim of eventually having all of them available online, for free.

There are many of their films available which have not as yet been indexed. 

The FHL has a large book collection as well as their huge microfilm collection. The other thing they have is microfiche produced by many family history societies from around the world. These are not able to be circulated to the branch centres and will not be digtised by the library.

3. Use your research log. What's that, you haven't got one? All the genealogy programs have a research log option where you can record that you want to look at a certain record for a certain person and which archive/library holds the record in question. You are able to print the logs and then take them with you.

If you haven't started using the log as yet , you still have time to start or you can make one in Excel or Word listing what record, where it is in the library, what you want to find ie baptism date for John Quested Ashford, Kent England 1825-1835 father John mother Mary

If you have English research I would strongly suggest looking to see if Bishops Transcripts have been filmed for your areas as sometimes you can find extra information in thses that were not in the original parish registers. Each year on Lady's Day the vicar had to send a copy of the baptisms. marriages and burials he had done in the previous year to his Bishop so they are an excellent secondary source particularly if your parish register for that time frame has been burnt, flooded, stolen or eaten by mice.

4. You will need to be organised with your battle plan in place. Your objective is to use your time wisely to maximum effect. If it is your first visit take advantage of the Introduction to the Library classes which are run regularly. The staff are wonderful and helpful but with two major conferences with attendees coming from all over the world it will be BUSY so the more you can do before you get there the better for a productive time.


5. You will also need to be comfortably dressed with good walking shoes (the library is spread over five floors), have a cardigan or equivalent as it can be cool among the film readers. 

6. You will need a USB drive so you can download images, I also take a camera with me as I can photograph microfilm, microfiche, books etc

7. You will need to decide if you are going to have your computer with you (lots of power points available) or your tablet or your pad and pen. Remember you have to look after whatever you take with you.

8. You will also have access to many of the pay sites while at the library.

I can guarantee there will be something at the FHL relating to your family but what you take home with you will depend on how much preparation you have done before you go. 

So the time to start preparing is now!