Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Spring Research Trip: Salt Lake City--Day 2

A Little Rain, But Trip's Still Good

Frankly, I wasn't as productive today as yesterday, but that had mostly to do with my chronic illness. I spent most of the day on the second floor where the microfilm is located. I had prepared for the trip by identifying which resources I wanted to look at. So I had a list of specific reel numbers and I could go right to them. I would point out to those raised exclusively in the digital age that working with microfilm is not exactly simple. First there are the physical aspects of the medium: you have to place the reels on mechanical spools and hand-crank through the frames. [There are, of course, electronic microfilm readers, but the Family History Library doesn't have many]. Then there is the nature of the content you're working with: ancient records with no indices in many cases; certainly no "search" function! Those documents that do have indices often are only casually alphabetized. And that's because before the digital age, "cut-and-paste" was a physical, not a virtual operation, and thus not undertaken. So without careful preparation and some computer aid, microfilm research can be time consuming.

[Note: The LDS Church for some time now has been converting a portion of its vast genealogical data trove from microfilm to a digital format. That process had been estimated to take as long as 120 years. Just this month, however, the Church announced that technological innovations have cut that time to as little as 10 years].

I found the marriage license for my great-grandparents, Otis and Bettie Sanford Manson. It appears that they were married the same day as Bettie's sister, Addie and her husband, Abe White. I found a number of other things, but I think they need some analysis before I describe the raw data.

The atmosphere is one of a library, for sure, but one where everybody's loving their homework.

The Library is open until 9:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday. I got there at 10:00 am, stayed till 2:00 pm, and went back about 4:00 o'clock. I called it quits about 7:30 pm.

The Library offers various classes throughout the day, so there's more to do than just research.

I had a momentary flash of insanity thinking that if I moved to Salt Lake City, I could spend as much time as I wanted in the Library. Just as I was snapping out of that, I overheard a couple discussing, "Well, maybe we should get a timeshare here . . . ."

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