The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Starting Planning a Research Trip

Shannon at the Family History Library. (c) 2016 Shannon Combs-Bennett. Used with permission.

Shannon at the Family History Library. (c) 2016 Shannon Combs-Bennett. Used with permission.

By Shannon Combs-Bennett, Student

When I started out on this genealogy path I thought I had a pretty good grasp of what it took to visit a research facility. Boy, was I wrong!  True, I knew how to use most search features on the computer, plus a card catalog, but there was so much more to a trip than I realized. I wish I knew about the course Planning a Research Trip Including Preparing for Salt Lake City  before I took my first major research trip.

That is not to say that if you think you are an old hat at research  this course won’t be useful. Far from it. I am sure this blog post will prove to you that there is something for everyone in this course.

My  first big research trip (away from home) was to the Allen County Library in Ft. Wayne, which was also at the same time as the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference that year. I was making it a comprehensive trip, since I am from Indiana, which meant that not only did I visit large and small repositories, family members, and dozens of cemeteries.  It was a great time, but it could have gone so much better. How do I know?  Well, I am still working on processing the data from that trip since I saved information in so many different ways and places.

The first two modules of this course were fantastic in walking you through what to expect, how to prepare, and what to do when you get home from your trip.  All those things I didn’t really take time to think about before my first trip. Like how to transport my research home safe and sound.

For my trip I was lucky enough to be able to stay with family. Many people when they take a research trip will not be so lucky.  It was a nice touch that our instructors talked about how to learn more on where to find good lodging, navigating a new place, and other details that may normally fall through the cracks.

When I travel it is usually with my family and I try to do activities outside of research with them as well. However, one tip from the course that I thought important was to consider attending a local genealogical or historical society meeting. There you might meet someone who is familiar with where, or even who, you are researching. Those types of networking opportunities are wonderful, and I encourage you to take advantage of them.

I’m looking forward to what more I can learn from Planning a Research Trip Including Preparing for Salt Lake City.

See you online!

Planning a Research Trip: Salt Lake City

Microfilm at the Family History Library. (c) 2016 Shannon Combs- Bennett

Microfilm at the Family History Library. (c) 2016 Shannon Combs- Bennett

By Shannon Combs-Bennett, Student

The Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah is one of those dream research locations for genealogists. Many people plan for years to take just one trip to this world famous library. Others are lucky enough to go on a regular pilgrimage to this repository. I thought having a section on researching in Salt Lake City was a wonderful addition to the Planning A Research Trip Including Preparing for Salt Lake City course. Once again, there are tips and tricks in there that I wish I had known about before I made my first, or even, last trip!

I have gone to the Family History Library (FHL)  twice, and I am getting ready to go for my third trip in February 2017.  In my past trips  I had only 1 day at the FHL, but this time I am excited to put what I learned in this course to good use and spend multiple days there.

When I  go also corresponds with the  RootsTech conference, so it is a crazy time in the area. Other times of the year are less packed, but at other times of the year you cannot run into so many people from the genealogy  community all doing what we love…research.  While my experiences may not match yours (from the past or in the future) I hope you can see why I think the last two modules of this  course are so valuable.

Not only do the course instructors walk the students through how to navigate the Library but also Salt Lake City and other facilities that are of importance to researchers.  Until this course I knew little about the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (JSMB).  The JSMB holds some records that are only found on microfilm at the FHL as well as having computers for research and places to eat.  The one thing I can vouch for is the JSMB café.  I ate there once and it was very, very good food for a reasonable price.

After these two blog posts I hope you will consider taking this course if you are preparing for a research trip.  The information contained was extremely informative, and no matter your level, very useful. Interested in hearing more about this course? I’ll be talking about this course and my Salt Lake City tips in a Virtual Meeting on Monday, January 9th at 12:00pm EST.

On that note I am off to spend the time I have left before RootsTech doing my research prep.  Say hi if you see me there, otherwise I will see you online!

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