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25 October 2017

Salt Lake City Family History Library: Why You Should Go on Our 2018 Research Trip

by Lisa Gorrell

Have you heard? The California Genealogical Society (CGS) has scheduled its 2018 annual genealogy research trip to the Family History Library from Sunday, April 22nd to Sunday, April 29th. As the team leader for the trip, for the third year in a row, I’m especially excited to get you to come with me!  Now you’re probably asking yourself,  “Why would I want to go to the Family History Library? Isn’t it all online now?”

So what is the real advantage of an in-person trip to the Family History Library?
  • Six days of being with others who share your enthusiasm for genealogy research
  • Research assistance with the leader (me) or one of the experts at the library (especially at the foreign language floors)
  • Six days of distraction-free research
  • Six days where you didn’t have to do household chores
Yes, it is true, that FamilySearch has been digitizing their collected records and putting images online, but they are far from putting it all online. So let’s talk about their collection:

Many of the books in their collection may never be digitized. Books that have been recently published are still under copyright laws. Even if a book is digitized, only one person can view it at a time. Your chances are greater of viewing a physical copy at the library.

The plan is to digitize all of the microfilm because they are having a hard time getting blank microfilm and it is very expensive. Also the microfilm machines are getting old and it’s difficult o find parts to repair them. So digitizing the film is a win-win situation for the library. 

However, some of the original repositories where they filmed the records have not given approval for publishing the images online. So the only place you can view some “digitized” films is on computers at the library itself, or perhaps at the local family history centers. This will also include microfiche.

Now that I’ve got your attention, the next thing to think about is: 
How should you prepare for such a trip?
  • Decide which ancestral lines you want to work on
  • Record the localities where these families lived
  • Check the FHL catalog for the records and books that are available at the library for each locality
  • Some items may be available online, but if there is a “key” symbol next to the film number, that film can only be viewed at the FHL or a Family History Center.
  • If you find lots of books and films you’d like to view, then it may be worthwhile to make the trip with CGS

You can schedule a pre-trip consultation with me, Lisa Gorrell, by sending an email. I’ll also be available for consultations while we’re on the trip in Salt Lake City.

We have fun, too!
Of course, the trip isn’t just all about serious genealogy research. We have three planned group meals together, plus every day we get together for lunch and dinner at a variety of places. It’s a great time to share our successes and get help with our research issues.

To sign up for the trip, use Eventbrite. There are limited spaces, so be sure to register soon!

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