Jan Gow regularly takes tour groups of people to Salt Lake City, to research in FamilySearch's Family History Centre - the biggest family history library in the world.
Its a wonderful opportunity for people to make full use of the plentitude of resources in Salt Lake City, but also to research collaboratively in a group.
She decided to try and recreate the experience in New Zealand over the long Labour Weekend, called it SLC 2 NZ (Salt Lake City to New Zealand) and invited myself and Marie to take part as "experts", although Marie wasn't able to join us till Saturday evening due to work commitments. Lyn McOnie and Lyn Whelan were two other "experts" that joined us for the weekend.
On the Friday, we arrived at about 1.30pm and after the introductions, the experts held reference interviews with the guests and examining their pedigree charts to suggest where to look next.
Lyn McOnie gave a lecture on research methodology and how to keep a research log; and Jan gave a talk on how to use Treepad and other useful tools.
On Saturday, we were all up bright and early, as we needed to be in the conference room for a live webinar starting at 8am, from Salt Lake City by Phillip Dunn of FamilySearch.
Phillip gave us useful tips like:
- How to search FamilySearch by either first name or surname
- That you can do up to three wildcards for one name
- Can also do wildcard prefix or suffix on names
- To do a parent search - find a family of children: - Leave main name boxes empty- Fill birthplace, year ranges- Check parents, fill in parent boxes (just mother's first name, not mother’s surname)
In the afternoon, we had a collaborative research session. We picked someone's "brick wall", and everything that was known about that family was written up on one white board.
Next we were all assigned a website to search and different bits of information to search for. When we found something, we called it out, and the information was added to the whiteboard.
We had a fab time, finding births, deaths and marriages for various family members; finding census records. It was huge fun! We found out quite a bit about the family in the end!
The rest of the weekend, we all did a mixture of individual research, one-on-one research between guests and "experts", and more presentations and shared learning experiences.
Other speakers and presentations over the weekend:
- Lyn Whelan, The Genealogist;
- Seonaid Lewis (myself) FindMyPast UK & FindMyPast AU and Facebook for Genealogy;
- Jan Gow - Ancestry, The Origins Network and Family Relatives and
- Lyn McOnie gave further tips and tricks on FamilySearch.
The days were long days - starting about 9am and not finishing till about 8.30pm - but they were hugely enjoyable.
We were privileged to be part of this, and really hope that this event is repeated again and that we are invited back!