February 2010

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While going through my family information in preparation for the trip I have noticed one thing about my research plans. It has been a recurring theme that is just unavoidable. I won’t find everything on the Internet.

There is still an awful lot of work that can only be done in an actual building that holds items that provide information. This means using books, microfilms and other resources. It could be an old fashioned concept but one that is still necessary in family history research. The building can be an archive, library, historical society, court house, university library or family history centre.

I will admit that I love to go into libraries and just be with the books. I will go through dozens of books checking for specific and obscure information that could relate to my family history.

The darkened microfilm room with everyone intently staring at the images is a very peaceful place, except of course when you get the one microfilm reader that squeaks at every opportunity.

Then there is the one thing that brings a smile to all faces and it is when someone expresses a very excited “yes” to signify that they have found the piece of information they have been looking for and it has solved a problem. They realize their excitement has broken the silence and they quietly do a little happy dance in their chairs.

One person is usually found to be mumbling quietly to themselves, a sign of madness in some places but not a family history library. They are usually the ones who didn’t find what they were looking for and are trying to figure out where to look next.

The library is a place where you can find direct information on your family or information that will help expand your family’s history. Either way you will be enhancing your experience by leaving home to do research in an actual building.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

You know how people have their “Bucket Lists” of things they really want to do or see; well I will be able to tick one of those items off my own list this year. I have the amazing opportunity of going to Salt Lake City to spend time researching in the Family History Library.

Since most of my research time is spent on client work my own family history has suffered a little over the last few years. In preparation for this trip of a life time I have been going through all my family history files (computer and paper) and genealogy database so that everything can be updated and at the same time creating research plans.

The trip has been the impetus for me to organize my own research but I can highly recommend doing this for your own family history, even if you are not going to Salt Lake City. Over the years I have occasionally found bits of information and just stuffed it in the appropriate family file or in the general family name file for safe keeping.

Since going through the information in these files some treasures I didn’t remember finding have come to light. While updating information and creating research plans I have also been putting together the pieces that were saved in my files.

Some of these pieces have filled in blanks that I had been stuck on for a while. A few have broken down a brick wall. On the other hand some have also created a brick wall and made me rethink my research. These are all good things and will benefit my research in the end.

This process started just before the New Year and it has basically been my weekend project. The difficulty has been that I get so involved with it that I don’t want to stop. My enthusiasm for my own family history research has returned with a vengeance and I love it.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research