Thursday, September 16, 2010

Family History Library in Salt Lake City

I've spent the past few days at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. This place is Disneyland for genealogists! I've been focusing on the Kolbe Family, but have checked out a few minor resources on some other lines of mine.

It is so great to be able to walk a few steps to get a microfilm or book I need. No waiting seemingly endless weeks for a film only to find it wasn't as helpful as I thought it might be.

The hours I've spent of eternal microfilm viewing just seem to pass by like nanoseconds. The helpful experts who read and speak multiple foreign languages are a true gift. I simply take the German church record off of the microfilm reader, carry it to them and they translate it right there on the spot. Amazing, truly amazing!

I have actually enjoyed "old fashioned" microfilm viewing. It takes me back to pre-internet days. When a true genealogist was measured by the blisters on their fingers from turning the microfilm handle or the paper cuts on their lips from sending out self-addressed stamped envelopes.

Another important thing about manually scanning microfilms is that you are able to find the names of the people who lived in your ancestor's village or town (possible relatives). Or even find names similar to your family. For example, I found Kulbe, Kulbes and Kolb. Makes me wonder if Kolbe's in the 17 and 1800's had trouble with their name spelling like I do today. Probably.

Watching page after page of deaths roll by on a microfilm screen helps epidemics be quickly spotted. These things are simply not possible with today's technology of typing in a name and watching the record pop up on a computer screen.

The library is open 13 hours a day while I am here and I am in it most of those hours. It really is a great place to visit if you haven't created an opportunity to do so. To be in the biggest genealogy library in the world surrounded by people like you is a dream come true!

This was one of my "bucket list" items. I'm not taking it off the list though it is staying on permanently. That way I can keep coming back again and again and again...

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