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January 12, 2011

Ready, Set, Go!

Several years ago I wrote about planning ahead for a research trip to Salt Lake City Family History Library.  I haven’t been back in 5 years but am heading there in February as an Official RootsTech Blogger. Although I’ll be busy at the Conference, I’ve got 3 days beforehand to do my own personal research at the Library. Things change - technology advances, the Library rearranges items and makes new purchases - and that means it is time to work out a new plan.
  1. I need to organize my genealogy and decide what individuals or families I will concentrate my research time on. Part of this organization is making sure details are entered in my Family Tree Maker 2011 genealogy program on whatever device I am taking with me. Gone are the days of lugging around binders and cases full of paper notes and charts.
  2. Decide what device I am taking for my files and continued note-taking of research finds. At this time I’m torn between my iPad where I use an App called GedView, or my MacBook Air where I use Family Tree Maker for Mac I’m leaning towards the MacBook Air simply because it has the genealogy program I’m most comfortable with. I need a way to quickly look up, and add, facts and details.
  3. Make sure I have extra batteries for my Flip-Pal Scanner. (Read about how much I love this scanner) I don’t know if it’s going to work for me but I’m taking it with me. I hope it will scan records I view on microfilm as they are projected on the viewing surface of the microfilm reader. It will definitely save me from lining up at the photocopiers to copy records I find in books!
  4. Consult the online FamilySearch Catalogue for records (films, books) I want to consult. If I make a list now, it will save me hours of time once at the Library in Salt Lake City. Most microfilm is self-serve so if I have my list of numbers I can quickly go to the drawers and grab the first set of three films I need. 
  5. If I had not done this already, I would be booking my hotel now. You have many choices and will need to decide what is most important to you - proximity to the FHL, or cost, or a preferred hotel chain. This year I am staying at a hotel that I’ve never used before so I’ll be sure to let you know later in February how that worked out. 
  6. You will need a research bag to carry your devices and other necessary items. I like to have pens, pencils, markers, notebook or pad of paper, coloured paper for making hard-to-read microfilm more legible, kleenex (tissues), lozenges for dry throat, Tylenol  for headaches after staring at microfilm for hours on end, a few bandaids just in case, gum and a magnifying glass. I also toss in a small ziplock bag of coins in case I need to purchase a Copy Card although I can’t see me needing one this time.
  7. I am going to have to figure out a way of keeping my iPad (if I take it) and my MacBook Air safe. I can try to make sure I carry them with me at all times but I like backup plans so am going to think about a way to lock them up securely. Things do get stolen and you cannot leave such items lying on your microfilm reader table or at a table in the Library.
  8. Make sure I have padded cases to protect each of my devices. Yes they will be in a research or computer carry bag but they need to be protected on their own.
  9. Pack extra batteries, chargers, cables and whatever else might be needed with my devices - iPhone, iPad, Flip-Pal Scanner and MacBook Air. 
  10. Today I am going to see if my Magic Jack will plug into and work on my MacBook. If it does I will also take that plus a small portable phone so that I can call friends and family for free and they can call me for no more than it would have cost them to phone me at my home. 
That is my 10 point checklist for my planned trip to Salt Lake City. It’s all about efficiency and saving my limited time for the actual research! Fingers crossed that I have not forgotten anything.


GeneGinny said...

The FHL now has microfilm and book scanners, so even if your flip scanner doesn't work well with the microfilm, you won't need to create paper copies. Also, be sure to check which FHL resources can be accessed digitally while you're at the FHL. They're identified in the library catalog and can save you many, many hours of searching microfilms and books.

Genealogy Blogger said...

Hi GeneGinny - thanks for the comment. I talked about the film scanners in my first article written several years ago - they were quite new at that time! I've used them quite a bit and have several DVDs with copied data, they're terrific.

I have not seen the book scanners so that is new to me.

Geniaus said...

My visit for Rootstech will be my first to the FHL so I need all the advice you can give. Flights and hotel are booked and passport is in order...but I have mmade no genie preps.
Thanks for prompting me to get organised - all hints gratefully received. Cheers, Geniaus - Offiicial Rootstech blogger from downunder

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

Thanks for the tips. You reminded me that I need to bring some dimes for the lockers. I'll bring extras for anyone who doesn't have any.

Julie D Grant said...

I have used the Flip-Pal to copy things off the screen of my PC vertically. It works perfect! You should have no problem with your mobile scanner doing microfilm off the microfilm's reader screen. I have a microfilm reader at home and everything works fine.

Doris Wheeler said...

FYI... You can use your cell phone with Google Voice to eliminate the need for carrying a phone and Magic Jack.


Genealogy Blogger said...

Doris are you sure I can use Cell with google if I have an Ontario Canada cell plan?

Nancy said...

I don't have a research trip planned soon but your ideas will be very helpful when I do. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Do your homework before you make any research trip. I bought 3x5 cards and some "notebook" style rings. Instead of a list of books I did a card for each book I wanted to look at using the correct citation form. Cards were grouped by family name, place name, subject or whatever. Punch a hole in the upper corner and thread a small ring through each group of cards. Thread a large ring through all the small rings and put it in one of the rings in your notebook. Add notes to each card regarding what you found if you made copies. Probably could do the same thing with computer now; I like the cards.