Salt Lake City in December is beautiful.
My sister, two of her friends and myself went to SLC during the first part of December. We went as part of an organized genealogy research tour that takes advantage of a slow time at the Family Search Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake Christmas Tour is led by Leland K. Meitzler, Donna Potter Phillips and Maureen MacDonald. There are daily classes from, “Tips and Tricks for Family History Library and Family Search” to “After You’re Gone: Future Proofing Your Genealogy Research”, with everything including American Migration, Finding your Polish and Czech Ancestor, Native American, German, Scotch and Irish research. Leland has also gathered through the years many top notch professional researchers who are available by appointment to consult with on your research. It is truly a week crammed with wonderful opportunities to immerse yourself in finding your ancestors.
The Library is on the west side of Temple Square and the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel is right next door. Everything you could want is within walking distance. Madeleine and I started going back in 1991. We do not go every year. It has been more like every five years. Although after going last year we talked ourselves into going a second year in a row and starting a few days early to explore the sites with friends before immersing into genealogy research.
One of the first things we did was head over to the Abravanel Hall ticket office to see what we could get tickets to while in Salt Lake City. We decided on two events, Utah Symphony’s performance of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and the City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker Suite”. Both received high praises from those in our group who attended. Other points of interests around town we were able to view on a city tour that included on Sunday morning the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the State Capital, trolley square along with the fort on the Hill next to the University of Utah. Also during our 10 days we visited the Museum of Modern Art just a half a block from the hotel.
My sister has been a very diligent researcher on our paternal line while I have concentrated on the maternal line. The plan this year was to fill in our blanks on the 32’s.
The 32’s are the 32 names of our 3x great grandparents. Madeleine had (4) four to contend with and I had (8) eight. I had no great expectations because these include our Irish brick walls (the Dougherty’s and the Ferguson’s), along with the very elusive parents of one Julia Marsh. I also had plans to research a few of my husbands lines.
THE PLAN: I had decided I would take a day to research each one of my questions, and Monday I started with, “Who were the parents of Mary Agnes, wife of Joseph Ferguson?” Each day I would try to meet with one or more of the Professional researches that were well versed in the areas I would be researching that day. Arlene Eakle has a Ph.D. and specializes in Great Britain and American research. She has been involved with the tour since we first started going. She is excellent to work with. I started with her on trying to determine Mary Agnes’s surname and who her father might have been.
Tuesday: I still had no clue on who Mary Agnes’s father was so in the morning I continued with my search of records in Sullivan County New York until lunch. That day we had a great lunch at Kneaders Bakery and Café. There are mostly great restaurants within the City Creek Mall area on the south side of temple square. Tuesday was to be the Langley/Jones research, so after lunch I tried the Family Search surname search. They are always adding more records and many that are now digitized can be viewed only at the FHL.
Wednesday: I had scheduled three consultations. One was a follow-up with Arlene on the Mary Agnes search. The Second was with Dwight Radford to see what he might be able to shed light on in Pike County Pennsylvania for William L. Dougherty and his Irish immigration, and since Wednesday was supposed to be research on Lewis Good who was thought to be from Alsace Lorraine, I made an appointment with Trudy Schenk. Trudy in the past had been a fountain of knowledge on researching my husband’s German ancestors, and while Lewis Good was from “France” he was from the region that has been back and forth between Germany and France, Alsace Lorraine. After lunch I had planned to sit in on Dwight Radford’s workshop on “Irish Research On the Internet”, but we got away from the library a little late. I always hate quitting, even for food. I then made a mistake in suggesting going to Johnny Rockets for lunch. After 45 min. we still did not have our food. When we inquired, oh my, it had been sitting for a while and was cold and unedible. So no lunch that day. By the time we got back from our “lunch”, I had missed almost half of Dwight’s workshop. Later that day I took a class on Mind Mapping, a tool to organize what you know and what your search questions are, to help you determine where you might direct your research.
That night the four of us went to dinner at the Garden Café, on the top floor of the Joseph Smith Building. The food was great and the view over temple square was fantastic. After dinner we walked through Temple Square which was jam packed with young people out enjoying the lights of temple square. Every tree had a light on almost every square inch. It must take a large army of volunteers to decorate all those trees. And the community certainly appreciates it. The entire time we were there huge crowds came every evening to the square to walk among the wonderful display of Christmas lights.
George Ott another of the professional researches that I had worked with previously was available for consultation. I met with him first thing on Thursday to look to discover who Nehemiah Case’s parents were. Thursday morning was spent trying to prove or disprove Charles Case and Matilda Jewell Davis were his parents. That afternoon I delved into the Irish hole. Since many of the pay-for-view sites are available on the internet at the Family History Library I tried that route for the Irish records.
Friday I started with Dwight on the Dougherty’s of Pike County. That day was time checking the counties in the other two states that border Pennsylvania for any clues. Lots of time going through the FHL Card Catalogue. That afternoon I switched to “Who was Samuel Hall’s wife Sarah’s parents? This is one of my many English lines. I am fairly proficient at looking at English parish records for BMD’s prior to 1837. I really like the accounts that identify the man by his profession. It really helps with the common names that seem to populate our English ancestors in this era and location of northern England.
Saturday was to be a day for cleaning up any loose ends. Well actually they are all loose ends. Some just have a hint of a knot in them now.
I had been hoping for snow while in Salt Lake City. I love snow and since we walk everywhere we want to go it is no problem. Unfortunately for me there was no snow. We flew out of Salt Lake on Sunday morning, and on Monday they had a fairly wicked snow storm.
Now it is time to review all my finding and organize what I did discover at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. My next several blogs will be try to clue you in on what I have learned.
In the mean time I would like to send you wishes for a very Merry Christmas and I look forward to hearing from you in 2016.