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Are you ready for a trip to Salt Lake City Library? I just returned from a great time there so thought I'd share a few tips and suggestions.
- Have a plan before you go. Decide what you want to find out. I made a list of dozens of things I wanted to look for - from a specific ships' passenger lists going to New York, to church records in Iowa to land records for great grandpa in Sullivan County New York 1830s to naturalization records for several of my ancestors in Michigan. [Check for Online Ships' Passenger Lists at http://olivetreegenealogy.com/ships/ or for Naturalization Film numbers at http://naturalizationrecords.com/ ]
- Check the online Family History Library Catalogue to find out what they have available. Make a list of the film numbers or book call numbers you need. Write it down on your plan beside each item you want to look for. That saves you time and thinking once there. After a day or two of intensive searching your brain will turn to mush. Your plan will be your salvation, because it is already thought out and organized for searching. [ See the FHL Catalogue at http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp ]
- Pack a research bag. (Sounds obvious but on my second trip to Salt Lake City, I forgot mine, and had to use an awkward size piece of luggage) Stock it with gum, candies, pencils, pens, small ruler, colored paper for those hard-to-read microfilms, tissue, magnifying glass and aspirin! I always throw in a few granola bars for those needed breaks. There's no need to bother with large manilla envelopes for your photocopies that you are going to find, the Library sells most paper and chart supplies, all at a reasonable cost. Get something on wheels if possible. I bought a small wheely luggage rack that holds my laptop and one extra research bag, great for saving your neck and shoulders from carrying all this heavy equipment.
- Take bills, not coins. You don't need coins except for the lockers, if you choose to use one. (They do come in handy when you decide to take a break and head to CrossRoads Mall for a sandwhich and coffee!) The Library sells Copy Cards and these are used at the Microfilm Reader-Printers, Photocopying Machines and Computer Printout stations. All costs are low, you won't go broke making your paper copies to take home.
- Choose your Hotel There is a hotel right beside the Library, so if you don't like to take shuttles or walk too far, that's the one for you. Be sure to request their Genealogy rate! I prefer the hotels further away, and I make use of the free shuttle service they provide. There's pros and cons to both - being nearby you can slip back to your hotel and have a rest in your room if you need to!
- You're finally at the Library - now what? You can't reserve readers. There are hundreds on each floor so don't panic. There are also hundreds of computer stations on each floor. The only reserves are for the scanners that burn from microfilm to CD ROM (more on that in Tip #9) Be prepared for long lines at the copy machines on the Main Floor during the busy time, and remember to follow the rules for making only a few copies at a time when others are waiting. You can keep lining up as many times as you need until you have completed your copies.
- Take breaks! Take lots of short breaks, go outside, walk around Temple Square (right across the road) or sit in the little area between the Museum and the Library, and have a cold bottle of water. You can buy one in the Library Snack Room. Even though you don't want to leave at all, because you just know that great grandpa's funeral notice will be on that next microfilm screen, these short breaks will rejuvenate you and stop you from falling asleep at your reader. If you get too groggy you are apt to miss something!
- Avoiding the rush I like to head for the Main floor US/CAN books area first, early in the morning before it gets too busy. Once the crowds arrive, I head to 2nd floor US/CAN microfilm and spend the rest of the day there. The busiest time seems to be between 11 am and 2 pm, so plan to arrive early.
- If you feel adventurous, sign up for a half hour on one of the Library's wonderful microfilm to CD ROM machines. For $1.50 you can buy one of their blank CDs and scan and burn microfilm pages to it, to your heart's content. It's a bit tricky but the attendants and volunteers are always happy to help. You cannot use your own CD ROM to do this, you must buy one from the Attendant Window.
- You need to eat I like to leave the Library, cross the street to Temple Square and cut diagonally to the right to the next gate. Directly across that street you will see CrossRoads Mall. The food court is downstairs. You can also eat in the Library Snack Room if you don't feel like leaving the building. Take your own snack and eat in the Courtyard outside the Library, or if you feel like sitting down and being waited on, go to the restaurant that is part of the next door hotel.
© Lorine McGinnis Schulze of The Olive Tree Genealogy at http://olivetreegenealogy.com/
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