First time in the Big (Salt Lake) City: Part 2

Entrance to Family History Library
Entrance to Family History Library

While my friends in the snowy Northeast will not appreciate my first impression of Salt Lake City, here it is: 65 and sunny; no snow, just green grass and clear skies. I hope the good weather is a premonition of the week ahead: Could it be my best research week ever?

To test my theory, I woke up early to stand in line with the briefcase brigade (a tradition I was told I must uphold). I was enthusiastically greeted by the Family History Library staff, and offered the chance to view a 4 ½-minute orientation video. Sporting my “first timer” nametag, I was led into a side room and shown a video that described the LDS mission, as well as the library’s floor plan (Main Level: published genealogies and Canada books; Level Two: U.S./Canada Census and Microfilm; Level Three: U.S. books and Maps; Level B1: International Collection; Level B2: British Collection).

After the video, FHL staff provided additional instructions and assistance:

  • Handouts: A map of Temple Square and a floor plan of the library. And, to help those getting started, a four-generation chart and “Research Assessment Sheet” (similar to the suggestions from step 4 of my first blog post).
  • Help: FHL employees and missionaries available on every floor. They wear different colored lanyards to indicate what kind of assistance they can give: Red, physical resources (microfilm/ books); blue, basic research suggestions and computer searches. Also, FHL genealogists can be paged if a more complicated genealogical question arises.
  • Places to eat: A coupon to use at one of the four restaurants in Temple Square (the Garden Restaurant, Nauvoo, Lion House Pantry, and the Roof Restaurant) and a voucher for the LDS Church Cafeteria. On my first day I redeemed the coupon to the Garden Restaurant, as it boasts, correctly, spectacular views of the Salt Lake City Temple (see photo).

    View of Temple from restaurant
    View of Temple from restaurant

Now, you are probably wondering if I stuck to my own research advice. Well, kinda. Because I planned ahead, I had several films that I wanted to view. And once I located a few of those records, I had follow-up questions. For example, the witnesses on my third great-grandfather’s baptismal record were foreign to my research. I spent a few hours tracking them down, which proved to be very beneficial, as it helped to identify the names of my fifth great- grandparents in Inverness, Scotland. What a great start to a potentially great research week.

So, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t rigidly stick to your research plan. Sometimes going off track or following a gut instinct can help identify unknown ancestors. And thank goodness for sunny days!

About Lindsay Fulton

Lindsay Fulton joined the Society in 2012, first a member of the Research Services team, and then a Genealogist in the Library. She has been the Director of Research Services since 2016. In addition to helping constituents with their research, Lindsay has also authored a Portable Genealogists on the topics of Applying to Lineage Societies, the United States Federal Census, 1790-1840 and the United States Federal Census, 1850-1940. She is a frequent contributor to the NEHGS blog, Vita-Brevis, and has appeared as a guest on the Extreme Genes radio program. Before, NEHGS, Lindsay worked at the National Archives and Records Administration in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she designed and implemented an original curriculum program exploring the Chinese Exclusion Era for elementary school students. She holds a B.A. from Merrimack College and M.A. from the University of Massachusetts-Boston.

One thought on “First time in the Big (Salt Lake) City: Part 2

  1. Wow – what an opportunity…. You’re inspiring me to get back into my seek and searching for those elusive ancestors…. Thanks and have a great week in the big “U”. SandyB

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