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19 December 2019

Why You Should Go: 2020 Trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City

Lisa Gorrell, CG, is leading the upcoming CGS research trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City this coming May. Here's what she has to say about it:

photo of Lisa Gorrell
Lisa Gorrell
Our upcoming trip next year to the Family History Library will be from Sunday, May 24 to Sunday, May 30. These dates follow the dates of the National Genealogical Society’s Conference. If you would like to attend the conference, too, you will need to book your own hotel for those dates. Now, you’re probably asking “Why would I want to go to the Family History Library? Isn’t it all online now?” 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. Let’s talk about their collection:

Books. 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 viewing a physical copy at the library.

Microfilm. The plan is to digitize all of the microfilm. 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 to find parts to repair them. So digitizing the film is a win-win situation for the library. However, some of the original repositories where the records were filmed the have not given permission to publish the images online. Therefore, the only place you can view some “digitized” films is on computers at the Library itself, or perhaps at local Family History centers. This will also include microfiche.

So what is the real advantage of an in-person trip to the Family History Library?

Six days of distraction-free research
Six days where you didn’t have to do household chores
Six days of being with others who share your enthusiasm for genealogy research
Research assistance from the leader (me) or one of the experts at the library (especially at the foreign language floors)

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 at a Family History Center.
image of camera and key
This symbol indicates records
that may only be viewed in a library
If you find lots of books and films you would like to view, then it may be worthwhile to make the trip with CGS.

You can schedule a pre-trip consultation with the leader, Lisa Gorrell. You will also be able to have consultations during the trip at the library.

We have fun, too! Of course, the trip isn’t just all serious research. We have three planned joint meals together, and 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 this link at Eventbrite. There are limited spaces, so be sure to register soon!

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