Yesterday I made my first visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. I had arrived in Salt Lake City, late the night before, after a fairly lengthy trip involving three flights, which was made even longer by a flight delay from London Heathrow to Dallas Fort Worth, a missed connection which resulted in a rebooking and just making the final flight with only minutes to spare. It was snowing fairly heavily the following morning and after getting a few groceries at Harmons Neighbourhood Grocer, I made myself a quick lunch back at the Airbnb that I am staying at and then made my way to the library just before 1 pm.
In the week prior to my departure for Salt Lake City, I had prepared an Excel spreadsheet with a list of ancestors' records that I wanted to view on microfilm. During the compilation of the spreadsheet I checked the FamilySearch catalogue to ensure that I would highlight each record that was not available online on the FamilySearch.org website.
The library was not as busy as I had expected, but I presume the weather had put some people off.
I headed straight for the basement level B2 which is where all the British Films are stored for viewing. I located the area where the banks of microfilm readers are and began to set myself up for the next few hours of research.
The first few records I tried to locate were for two female ancestors that were stillborn in 1933 and 1937, respectively, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, I had no luck locating either of them on the Index, I was either looking in the wrong places or the records for these events were not filmed. I have to say I was a little unhappy, but thought to myself that I should not let these unsuccessful searches ruin my first visit to the Family History Library.
I then decided to try to locate the death record for my Ellen McWilliams (nee Irwin/Irvine), who died 26 April, 1925. I located FHL microfilm 232,472 , Death records of Northern Ireland, 1922-1959, which has the Belfast, Index to Deaths, Vol. 4, 1925. I located Ellen in the index -
Name - McWilliams, Ellen, Age - 53, District - Belfast, Page 156,
I had previously determined that the actual death record should be located on FHL microfilm 232,492, 1925 June quarter, v. 14, General Register Office, Belfast, Deaths, Volume 14, June Quarter, 1925. As the library was fairly quite and there were plenty of Microfilm readers free I set up this film on the microfilm reader in the adjacent booth. I scrolled through the film and found the death record on page 156... success at last. To ensure that I would be able to record my source citation properly, I took a series of photos with my mobile phone -
the film boxes and reel numbers -
|FHL British Film 232,472|
|FHL British Film 232,492|
the Film Headers for the Index and Death Records -
the actual page where I had located Ellen on the Index -
and page 156 which records Ellen's death -
At last I had gotten myself into a routine and I went on to the next record. By the end of the day I had located several ancestors' records taken photos as outlined above and was quite happy with what I had found and achieved.
Of course I could have viewed the records on one of the special film readers where you can save the records to a USB flash drive, but I wanted to take things slowly and not feel pressured, as I was aware that the readers that can store to USB flash drives are more in demand. I knew I could review the photos that night and if necessary I would then go back to the library on Monday or Tuesday and store the records to a USB flash drive, I would be going back to the library anyway to complete more research on the days leading up to RootsTech 2016.
There was a series of announcements advising of the imminent closing of the library, and by 4:40pm I decided I had better pack up, return the last few films to the microfilm storage drawers and get ready to leave.
I took a photo of the entrance to the library on my way back to where I am staying for the week.
© Geoff Mulholland 2013-2016