Thursday, June 11, 2015



I've been here three days now.  I meant to write a post each day that I was here.  However, that sure didn't happen, so here is my first post about this trip to the mecca of genealogy, The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I began preparing for this trip about 6 months ago.  What steps did I take to prepare?

2.  I created a notebook in Evernote and began collecting details of the information I wanted to look for.
  • I saved links from films I wanted to look at.
  • I created links to Google books I'd located that had information.  I wanted to see the actual books if they were available.
  • I created a list of what records I needed from various locations.  Such as - New York, birth, marriages and deaths (we all know New York isn't all that easy to research online in some counties)
This is my second trip to the library.  I was fortunate to have visited for 5 days back in 2011.  I came with a close friend, who is also a genealogist.  We had a wonderful time.

I wondered if this trip would be different?  
Would I still be as excited?  Yes!
Would I be more prepared?  Yet to be determined
Would I get better results?    I'll find out once I get home

I arrived on Tuesday, June 9th at 8:30 a.m.  The first place I headed was to the 3rd floor where all the books are.  I enjoy that floor because I love to be around books.  It's a big open floor with lots of tables and seems quieter than some of the other floors.

I began by looking for records for my Pennsylvania ancestors. Some of them are long time brick walls. Surnames I looked for were Gillen and Hunter specifically.  I had no luck at all.  Then I switched to New York.  There is a large book on the left wall as you walk onto the third floor, that contains county identifier codes.  This allows you to find the books for a particular county much easier than browsing the stacks of hundreds of books for that state.  Again, no success in New York.  

I began to think that my system of preparation was not working.  I had used my notes and looked for those items I had listed.  When something isn't working for me, I will rethink my process and change what I'm doing.

I decided to open up my Legacy database and look through my tree at those ancestors I know I am having trouble with. I opened up and found hints for Isaac & Sally Doten.   

Well, isn't that something.  There were FindAGrave memorials for them including headstone pictures that I did not have.  Just like the "Do Over" that is going on right now, it pays to take another look at the ancestors you have been researching, even the ones you think you have everything for.

After lunch I stayed on the 3rd floor and found some good information in books for Greenbrier County, West Virginia (originally part of Virginia, as you all know).

Since my husband is was with me for the first two days of this trip, I quit by 5 p.m. and we went out to dinner and relaxed.

Stay tuned because day 2 of my trip was an absolute bonanza.  A real success story.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2015   Diane Gould Hall


  1. Great blog Diane. I can hardly wait to hear about your next day! I did some research with you on the Gillens back in 2011. You have a very nice blog!

    Debra Callahan

    1. Debra - I thought your name looked familiar. Thanks for the comment. I'm still trying to hunt down the elusive Gillen forefathers. Stay tuned, maybe someday :) Hope your research is going well.

  2. I'm interested to know if you find anything on the Hunter's that connects us! Sounds like you are having a wonderful time. And yes, I am very jealous! Can't wait to see what you find!

    1. Shannon - I drew a big blank on any Hunter info. Although I've sure been looking. I hope to get that second post written later today with my big find. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  3. Diane,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

  4. I have yet to go to Salt Lake City & enjoy reading how you prepared & a little more about what the library is like. By the way, you mentioned twice "as you all know"... but I don't have any family from NY or WV, so those facts were new to me!

    1. Oh Dana. I do hope you get to go in the near future. It's really a wonderful experience. A little overwhelming, even on my second visit :)

  5. Diane, very happy that you found records for your family. I went to Utah a couple years ago; took pretty much the same photos as you; and loved that floor of books on the USA. I found the states & counties for my families and did not even notice the clock ticking off the hours. Hope the rest of your time there is rewarding for you.

    1. Colleen,
      I suspect we all take those same photos. I wanted to ask the volunteers how many times their pictures had been taken. :) The books are definitely my favorite. I've always loved libraries and this one beats em all.
      Thanks for stopping by.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.