Showing posts with label Family History Library. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family History Library. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

RootsTech and the Value of a Research Log

RootsTech opens tomorrow, on Wednesday...300 sessions, many dozens of exhibitors, and lots of opportunities to learn from experts and fellow attendees. In fact, waiting on line for badge and bag (a LONG wait), I enjoyed genea-conversations with those in front and behind me. Tonight, I reviewed the RootsTech Conference Guide (session locations in print, for paper-loving people like me) and used the app to prep for Day One's meetings and appointments.

Today (which Randy Seaver calls "Day Zero" for RootsTech) was the day hubby and I pored over hard-to-find books and microfilms at the Family History Library. You can see my handsome guy at top, blinking into the sun as we left the FHL building after about 5 hours of intense concentration.
And now I have to confess: As much as I dislike research logs, they were absolutely essential to putting our limited time at the FHL to good use. Above, one of the 3 pages of catalog listings for my husband's Steiner and Rinehart ancestor hunt in Crawford county, OH and Berks county, PA. I spent several working days assembling this list of likely sources, reading the descriptions on FamilySearch and determining whether any of these could be accessed from home or only from the library. Why waste time at the library if we can research a source at home?

My goal was to give hubby call numbers and notes to focus his limited research time on the 2d and 3d floors of the library. As he worked through each entry, he checked off that resource or put an X if it turned out not to be applicable (or, in one case, unavailable). He was able to move down the list, item by item, and actually found a few good leads and clues (no breakthroughs yet). He also downloaded one set of files to his USB drive for us to examine more closely at home, rather than spend precious library time on this resource.

I had high hopes for two resources in particular: The book on Crawford County, Ohio, early history/pioneers and the microfilmed Crawford County Pioneers applications. The key to the history book was that there was a printed index, separate from the book, listing all names mentioned. We could quickly identify page numbers to look at, and then skim certain places and time periods for background. No breakthrough from that book, but worth the time.

The Crawford County Pioneers applications would be a treasure trove for anyone with ancestors who were in that spot in 1850 or earlier. To be named the descendant of a pioneer, applicants had to submit various types of proof, all included on this microfilm (such as pedigree charts, marriage certs, birth certs, etc). We checked the digitized index of names in the Pioneers applications and found 5 possible applications to review on microfilm (see above for the title page of one roll). Alas, not one panned out. Still, it was a productive day at the library and an excellent way to transition to RootsTech tomorrow.

Terrific lunch and dinner dates with blogging buddies Linda ("Empty Branches on the Family Tree" blog), Deborah ("Who we are and how we got that way" blog), Yvonne ("Yvonne's genealogy blog"), and friends/family. Bumped into blogger Caitlin Gow, who ran the contest in which I won my free RootsTech registration. And met many more folks who will now be familiar faces at sessions in the coming days. Can't wait.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

So Many Ancestors, So Little Time in the FHL


So many ancestors, so little time in the wonderful, world-famous Family History Library . . . With RootsTech less than three weeks away, I'm doing some serious planning for my limited time at the library in Salt Lake City.

How to decide which brick wall ancestors to spend my time on? I'm triaging my family tree and my husband's tree with these specifications in mind.
  • Do I have enough info to do more research? I won't consider researching any brick wall ancestor in Salt Lake City unless I have (1) a name I'm reasonably sure of, (2) approximate dates, (3) a birth, marriage, or death place. Otherwise, it's needle-in-haystack time. RESULT: I crossed hubby's 2d great-grandpa Jacob S. Steiner off my initial list because I have insufficient info to distinguish between him and the dozens of other men named Jacob Steiner born in Pennsylvania around 1800 who died in Ohio sometime after 1850. Instead, I'm going to look at his life in Tod township, Crawford cty, OH, in case there are additional records available AND ask a "coach" at the conference or the library for creative ideas about researching Jacob into Pennsylvania.
  • Can I research from home or use other resources? I'm taking the time now to see what's actually available at Family Search (and I'm doing another Ancestry search). RESULT: I got lucky with one set of Farkas ancestors on my tree--FHL microfilms are now digitized and I can check the index and browse images at home! But if I locate microfilms for a brick wall ancestor, I'll add the details to my to-do list for Salt Lake City.
  • Can I identify appropriate resources available in the Salt Lake City FHL?  As I narrow my focus on certain ancestors, I'll formulate a specific question to answer for each (such as "Who were Jacob S. Steiner's parents?" OR "What was Elizabeth Steiner's maiden name?"). Next, I need to review the FHL's resources to determine whether it has info available to help me address each question. RESULT: At top, a sample of my investigation into Crawford cty, Ohio resources at the FHL to answer my question about Jacob S. Steiner's parents and Elizabeth Steiner's maiden name. Since they lived in Crawford cty for at least a decade, I may find clues in documents, maps, Bibles, etc. One by one, I'll check each resource in the FHL catalog for Crawford cty to see where it is (online or FHL only) and what it is. Then I'll list which ones I need to consult at the FHL. That becomes my to-do list.
Blogging about my preparations helps me think through the situation and develop the first draft of my action plan. 

Suggestions are, of course, most welcome! 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Planning My FHL Visit During RootsTech

Salt Lake City, here I come for RootsTech 2018. Even though the conference is more than two months away, I have to start planning right now for my visit to the Family History Center.
I remember scrambling to prepare for my visit to the Allen County Public Library during FGS in the summer of 2013. Thanks to a bit of advance planning, sketching out priorities, and defining specific questions to research, I was able to find new info about my husband's McClure family, in particular.

So my first step is to research how to research in the FHL of SLC. Cyndi's List has some links I'm going to explore. Janine Adams recently mentioned a post from early 2017 about preparing for her visit, and the reader comments were really helpful too. Thanks so much, Linda Stufflebean, for reminding me that you wrote a useful post about the library, which is here.

One of the key things I need to do is determine what I can research online from home or a nearby FHL and what can be done in SLC most efficiently and effectively.

Also, I'm going to formulate specific questions to research and summarize what I already know in research notes, to avoid reinventing the wheel. Two questions I'm prepping right now are about my husband's family tree:

  • His 2d great-grandfather was Jacob S. Steiner (1802?-1860?). I found him in the 1850 Census in Tod, Crawford county, Ohio, but not in the 1860 Census. He's also named as an ancestor on a precious scrap of paper written by my husband's grandfather, and on documents pertaining to his children. But finding the right Jacob S. Steiner born somewhere in PA, somewhere around 1802, has been a big challenge. Ultimately, I really want to know whether the Steiner family was from Switzerland (as family lore suggests--but it could have been Germany or Alsace-Lorraine or Austria). And of course, I'd dearly love to identify his wife's maiden name and trace her family!
  • Hubby's 3d great-grandfather was Job Denning (1775?-1836). He died in Adams County, OH. Where was he born and who were his parents? Possibly he was born in Massachusetts, but I need actual evidence to make the leap one generation back. Thanks to Adams County records, I have background about his activities there. But where did he come from before arriving in Ohio?
Oh, I can't wait to be dazzled by the FHL's treasure trove. But there's more homework first: I have to formulate specific questions concerning my own family tree. So many ancestors, so little time in the library, meaning I have to set priorities and goals...with a few minutes to spare in case of BSOs, right?