Every time I plan a trip to my local LDS library I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Anticipating revelations that will fill in the blanks in my family tree. Usually I come home frustrated, feeling that I spent my time going in circles and not really getting what I went after. I had to make my time count and get the information I want so I asked the experts at the library what suggestions they had to help me and other researchers keep that Christmas morning high.
Helpful tips include the following.
First, ask what information they have and if it is on paper or computer. And if the information is on computer, what programs do they use to access it. Make a point of using the programs they have that you do not have at home and the ones that cost. Their subscriptions are open and available to you for free.
Before you leave home make notes from your known information and what you hope to find to fill in the blanks. Remember, you can’t research everyone in one visit. Drill it down to one or perhaps two lines to concentrate on this time.
What are you looking for:
* Birth or christening (religion)
* Death or burial
* Parents Names
* Children or descendants
Try to learn something about the area where the ancestor lived. If you know the name of the village, county, state, parish or diocese where a person lived, it will be much easier to find records to use in your search. Gazetteers are good places to start learning about the area.
You can print directly from the library’s computers for a nominal fee (usually 10 cents a copy) so you don’t have to write everything down but take notes, lots of notes. I can’t emphasize this enough. Some of them might not make sense to you at the time, but when you compare them to information you have at home, you might make connections. And that’s really what you want. Connecting one generation to the next.
Don’t be afraid to ask. The volunteers are there to help you make the most of your visit and go away feeling satisfied with the visit and anxious to return soon.
When you get home you can evaluate the material you found such as did you find the information you were looking for, is the information complete and does it conflict with information you already had?