Friday, February 20, 2009

Visiting the FHLibrary in Salt Lake City


I enjoy your blog very much and look forward to them every day! I get to spend a week at the FHL in late February and I'm so excited. I haven't been since 2002, the Olympics year. So, since it's been a while, I'm wondering about computers. Is there wireless available at the Library? I like to bring my laptop because I like having my whole database in front of me while I'm looking at films (which I do most there). I tried looking on the FHL website but didn't have much luck. Can you help me?

YES, bring your laptop! There is free wireless Internet available at the Family History Library and the connection seems to be fast. But get one of those lock-down cables for security.

The downtown area is all torn up to rebuild a few major skyscrapers with earthquake resistant standards. YES, there is still JB’s restaurant on the corner of West Temple and South Temple just south of the Family History Library. Review DearMYRTLE’s Salt Lake City Map (at Google Maps) to see where the local restaurants, drug and grocery stores are located. I have a particular fondness for Rodizzio’s Grill at Trolley Square, but you’d have to take a taxi as it isn’t within walking distance like the Gateway shops and restaurants. I also recommend the Nauvoo CafĂ© in the SW first floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. It is a short, mind-refreshing walk across historic Temple Square, and has just what you’d need in the way of made-to-order sandwiches and homemade soups.

Check the Library's holiday schedule to make sure it will be open. Never plan your visit when the LDS Church is holding it’s semi-annual general conference – the first weekend in October and the first weekend in April. You can imagine how faithful church members would come early or stay after the conference to do research at the Library. Ol’ Myrt doesn’t even go downtown during these busy times.

The Family History Library has classes that might interest you, so check the Monthly Schedule and arrange your days to accommodate them.

Before you come to Salt Lake City, print out Family History Library Catalog entries for 40-60 items and then jot a quick note on each one about what you expect to find. (IE “Paul Froman’s will - circa 1783”). This works well since often after a long day of research, you cannot figure out where to go next. Your printouts will serve as guideposts, and you won’t have to think through the logic.

Pre-order “vault” items, a process that can take up to three days to retrieve. Items so labeled in the catalog are stored offsite. Request the “vault” microfilms you need by e-mail, telephone, or fax. US/Canada films: (801) 240-7378. British Isles: (801)240-7379. Other countries: (801)240-2334. Fax (801)240-1924.

View “Does not circulate to Family History Centers” material first. This would include books, maps, certain microfilm/fiche and CDs. Speaking of those genealogy data CDs, you will no longer “check them out” in person as they are loaded on a server. However, only one person in the network of computers at the Family History Library can “view” the CD at a time. Be sure to log out as soon as you have completed your research with one of them.

Even though you have your laptop, use Family History Library computers for free access to certain fee-based subscription websites. Since this list can change, it isn’t included here.

Bring flash drives to store photocopies from books and microfilm/fiche. This will save you tons of luggage space, a tip that is particularly timely now that the airlines charge for “extra” luggage. Be sure to name the scanned image files consistently such as:


Be sure to check out the floor plan of the Library. If the line gets backed up in the copy center of one floor, equipment may be available on another floor.

If Ol’ Myrt here is in town when you are visiting, perhaps we can do lunch?

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.


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This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to . Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

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