My First Trip to the Family History Library

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Salt Lake City for the 3rd RootsTech conference. While the conference was fun and interesting, the highlight of my trip was the Family History Library. I knew it would be.

I arrived in Salt Lake City about 2:30 MDT and after checking into my hotel, immediately walked over the FHL to get the lay of the land and do a little research.



The first floor houses family history books (i.e. compiled genealogies), the second floor has U. S. / Canada microfilms, and the third floor has U. S. / Canada books.  The other two floors are dedicated to International and British Isles, but I knew I would be focusing on United States research, so I didn’t visit them.

Before leaving for Salt Lake City, I had made two lists (in Evernote, of course) of things I wanted to look for at the library.  I had a list of books – both family history books and state/county books – and a list of microfilms.  After visiting the 3rd floor and seeing all the U. S. books, I brainstormed a list of localities to search in, with the idea that I would focus on will abstracts and land records.  I later added genealogical society journals for those localities to my list (which turned out to be fruitful).

It’s hard to comprehend just how much is available at the FHL without going there.  According to their website:

The collection includes over 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records; 727,000 microfiche; 356,000 books, serials, and other formats; over 4,500 periodicals and 3,725 electronic resources.

Here is a tiny portion of the microfilm stacks:



Each one of those drawers is packed full of microfilm rolls.


After a few hours on Tuesday, I spent most of Wednesday, and then several hours each on Friday and Saturday at the FHL.  Rather than making copies, I used my iPad to take photos of all my finds.  I took 337 photos during my research time.  Now, some of those photos are about the source (i.e. book cover, microfilm box, etc.), but still.


I found A LOT.  It will take a long time for me to sort through everything I found, process it, add it to RootsMagic, etc.  Fun times and one item checked off my Genea-Bucket List!


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