Saturday, October 17, 2009

A First Timers Trip to Salt Lake City


Salt Lake City Trip to Family History Library? You gotta go in 2010!

The September 2009 Salt Lake City Family History Library Trip was my FIRST trip to Salt Lake City and the FHLibrary.  I had so many unanswered questions.  Although Pam and Phyllis answered many questions I still didn’t know what to expect and was apprehensive.  It’s like your first time jumping into a pool or first time behind the wheel of a car. It’s that first step.

I was very lucky to meet up with Donna Swink and Nancy Nichols.  I called them my big sisters.  I met them at the airport and one of the first things I said was “This was my first trip and I didn’t know where to go or what to do.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll show you,” they said. And they did.  But not only were Nancy and Donna helpful, so were many other members and Family History Library staff. Really !! Just ask.

The following are some suggestions:

    ** Get a member to team up with you.  I will be your partner/guide if you would like because I am going again.  If you have questions call/email me anytime.  Diane Lott 619-263-5394 or

1.Narrow your search to something specific but bring lots of files/data. ( I was researching my grandmother and surname Bender but needed her half sister’s information and my husband had to FED EX it to me $$$)
2.Allow for “weight” of these files in your luggage.
3.Wear your badge. And wear your badge that Chris will make for you. Convenient for carrying things like copy card and hotel room card.
4.Pack light. Depending on the weather wear layers.  On some floors of the library the air conditioning really works, others not so much.
5.The request from researchers is to submit a brief statement.  What I sent wasn’t enough for my researcher.  Send a small paragraph but send only facts (dates, places, names) no “I believes….”
6.Bring some other files so you have some other research in case you hit a dead end on your main search. 
7.If you have a laptop bring it. I brought mine but did not use it.  Bring a memory card for saving data.  I did and didn’t use it.
8.Arrive on an early flight, early enough to take the tour if you can. It gives you a great orientation to the city and the Salt Lake. When leaving Salt Lake City, book a “noonish” flight.
9.Attend the library orientation the first day and listen carefully.
10.Start your research with the first floor in the books of surnames.
11.Next, use the library computers.  Ask at any desk or any library volunteer wandering around wearing a badge.  Ask to see all the new things on the computers and in the library.
12.If you bring a backpack or computer case keep it about the size of your computer as the lockers will not hold larger computer backpack on wheels. You WILL WANT to use the lockers as you leave the library for lunch. A small, wheeled computer briefcase is a good idea. Files get heavy and cumbersome. The lockers use dimes.
13.LEAVE THE LIBRARY for lunch at the cafeteria or Nauvoo Café or other Temple Square restaurant.
14.Take time to smell the roses.  Actually I didn’t see roses but you will see the most beautiful array of flowers and plants you will ever want to see. You will see a team of gardeners getting the trees ready with Christmas lights. You will see brides and grooms and wedding parties.  So stand and watch and take pictures.
15.If it is nice weather take an evening stroll after dinner on the Temple grounds or around the area of the hotel. It is clean and safe. The trolley is free within a certain number of blocks.
16.Speaking of food JB’s restaurant is close but the only “deal” is the buffet breakfast.
17.The day you arrive, the hotel shuttle will take you to the Albertson’s market if you ask. You have a refrigerator and microwave in your room so buy breakfast (cereal, fruit, milk and juice) and have it with hotel coffee in your room.
18.All other meals eat out if you can.
19.When you first go to the library go to the main desk and get a restaurant card (free). Eat in the cafeteria.  Good $ deal on meals
20.Second thing to do is get a copy card. Someone will help you. You will need one-dollar bills. It is a bit tricky but you will get the hang of it. As you pay for lunch or dinner get one-dollar bills in change if you can.
21.See the gift shop in the Family History Museum next door to the library. It is expensive and aimed toward the Mormon religion but I bought wooden toys for my great nieces and nephews.
22.See the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Thursday evening and on Sunday morning (9:00 am). Each day is a different program. Get there early and sit upstairs in the middle looking straight at the choir.
23.Ask. Ask anyone in the library or hotel or members.
24.As you enter Temple Square there are tour guide who will try to engage you in conversation for tours. Just smile and walk on.
25.No smoking or alcohol on Temple grounds but off Temple grounds you can get a great meal and a nice glass of wine or mixed drink.

    Things I will do next trip:
1.Bring more and different files
2.Buy a small, wheeled computer case
3.Buy/bring a magnifying glass
4.Ask more questions about recent technology
5.Eat evening meals in great Salt Lake City restaurants
6.Pack lighter as airlines charge per suitcase and for overweight
7.Leave Salt Lake for home earlier in the day

For the 2010 Salt Lake City Family History Library Trip, if it helps I will hold a “First Timer’s Meeting” prior to our trip in October. Consider going on the Trip. You gotta go.

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