It’s all in the Prep
Prep is everything for any research trip no matter where you’re going or how much time you’ll spend there. My group’s fearless leader, David Flint, held advance-planning meetings to help us get our research organized and start researching the minute we entered the library. I was a believer. My research plan was going to be a thing of beauty that would keep me busy all week.
|Binder, tech bag, water, |
What surnames/families should I research? After considering David’s suggestions, I decided to concentrate primarily on Eisenman (just starting research in Germany; Hübsch (just starting research in Prussia) and Hutson (brickwall for this “the disappearing dude” in U.S. records). If time permitted, I’d look for Brown and Clark (both brickwalls in U.S. records).
Next, I updated the data in my Legacy Family Tree genealogy software program. Missing, incomplete or weak data became a To-Do item in my software program. Then I spent hours scouring the FamilySearch.org Catalog for more records and books to look for at the FHL. These too were added to the To-Do List.
My binder was full with these research materials:
- Pedigree Charts, Family Group Sheets, and To-Do Lists by surname, all printed from Legacy Family Tree
- Timeline for ancestors
- German-English lists in German Gothic and Frakturs script: common words, the alphabet and family names and locations. Knowing what the alphabet looked like in German wasn’t enough. I also needed to know what the words birth, marriage and death looked like as well as names such as Andreas Eisenman and Johann Ernst Hübsch.
The Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, next door to the FHL, was home for the week. I was literally 90 seconds from Mecca. What a commute!
|Temple Square was abloom in April|
Before I hit the aisles and aisles of books and microfilm, I needed to get oriented to the FHL. Sure, general information was available on the website but the floor experts identified the extras, like the gems in a small bookcase along a wall or behind the information desk. The stuff I needed. David Flint arranged an orientation on each floor just for our group. I attended each one. My ancestors were waiting for me to find them so I needed to know what was where.
|My ancestors are in this microfilm drawer|
|One of many stacks of books reviewed|
In composing this post, I inventoried my findings at the library for the first time. Mentally I knew but listing the information by category and surname revealed the comprehensiveness of my findings. I'd say the research trip was quite successful. Here's what I found:
- Clark, Ogle, Swearingen and Van Pelt of Adams Co., Ohio: deaths, deeds, marriages
- Eisenman of Fillmore Co., Minnesota and Germany: baptisms, plat book
- Hübsch of Calumet Co., Wisconsin and Prussia: church records book, county/town histories, plat book and map, newspapers
The Happy Dance prize went to the baptismal records found for siblings Valentin and Catharina Eisenman born in Baden-Württemberg, Germany in 1762 and 1764 respectively. This was by far the oldest record I have found. Wow! The discovery almost didn’t happen on this research trip. When I discovered the information about my Eisenman ancestors might be on microfilm, I was about to give up and defer to a hired researcher. You see, operating a regular microfilm reader on my own was physically impossible. Not so fast said a mission staff member who was advising me on the microfilm. He stood and scoured the room. Within moments I was introduced to Sister Ludema. She cheerfully took on the task to help me. We exchanged some information about ourselves and then we began.
|Sister Ludema (r), Denise Hibsch Richmond|
and Valentin Eisenman baptism record
It's Not all about the Research
We didn't starve during the trip. Many of us participated in the group meals. We shared research successes. We got to know each other better. The camaraderie was high. Besides the research, these were the other advantages for going with a group. Let's visit.
- Lunch with the group at the Church Office Building cafeteria (we had passes; good food, reasonably-priced, noisy seating area)
- Evening banquet and speaker Luana Darby
- Lunch at the Garden Restaurant on the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith building. Beautiful view of the mountains. Afterwards, we met some members of our group for a complimentary, sepia-tone photo at the local Family History Center. We posed in front of a replica of New York Harbor as if we were newly-arrived immigrants. My Hübsch ancestors arrived there in 1872 from Prussia.
- Evening wine and cheese party with the group at the hotel
- Dinner with the group at a restaurant/brewhouse
- Farewell breakfast at the hotel
- Many meals on our own at nearby eateries often happily joined by others
I'm already reserved for the 2017 research trip.
|New arrivals in New York Harbor|