When I attend a conference in Salt Lake City, I usually devote at least one day for research at the Family History Library. I figure I can always go back during the conference if I absolutely have to find that one record that I really need, especially if I know the microfilm number or book/periodical call number.
So how do I prepare to visit the Family History Library for my one day, and what am I looking for? My usual attitude is "look for records that you can only find at the Family History Library!" These are usually microfilmed records - especially land and probate records for my ancestral families. Sometimes, I search for books on the shelf for specific surnames, or books and periodicals for specific places. I don't use the FHL computers much, except to look up microfilm numbers or call numbers for specific book or periodicals.
To prepare for the FHL visit, I go through the To-Do items in my RootsMagic program that I have added or updated over the past years. I double check each existing To-Do list item to make sure that the status is up-to-date (open, completed, etc.). If I'm missing microfilm numbers or call numbers, I try to add them using the online FHL Catalog. Then I go through my ancestral families one-by-one, looking for items to add to the To-Do list, and add them.
Last year, I found and photographed quite a few documents. The 2015 "finds" were highlighted in some of my Amanuensis Monday and Treasure Chest Thursday posts throughout the year on Genea-Musings. Once I transcribe and source these documents, I add them to my RootsMagic database. In essence, the FHL visit "feeds" my RootsMagic database and Genea-Musings. Another win-win!!
What am I looking for this year? Here's a partial list:
1) Search Mercer County, Pennsylvania Deed indexes for Daniel Spangler (1781-1851), Elizabeth Spangler (1796-1863), and Cornelius Feather (1777-1853). Find and photograph deed index pages and specific deeds.
2) Search Vigo County, Indiana Deed indexes for David Auble (1817-1894) and Sarah Auble (1818->1900). Find and photograph deed index pages and specific deeds.
3) Search South Petherton (Somerset) Parish Registers for Vaux, Laver, Palmer, Axe, etc. for baptism, marriage and burial records.
4) Search Glocester, Rhode Island Deeds for Humphrey White, Jonathan White, Simon Wade, and Nathaniel Horton.
5) Search Foster, Rhode Island Deeds for Simon Wade and Nathaniel Horton.
6) Search for Middlesex County, New Jersery Deed Abstracts for my Cutter, Kent, Fitz Randolph, Rolfe, Campbell, DeCamp, Kelsey, Gach, Bloodgood, Martin, Ayers, Dunham, Bloomfield, Smalley and other ancestors.
7) Search Putnam, Connecticut Deed indexes for James Richman/Richmond (1821-1912). Then find the deeds.
8) Search Killingly, Connecticut, Deed Indexes for Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872) and Amy (Champlin) Oatley (1798-1865).
9) Search York County, Pennsylvania Deed indexes for my Spangler and King/Konig ancestors, then find the deeds.
9) Search Norfolk County, Massachusetts Probate Records for Amos Plimpton (1735-1808) and Nathaniel Guild (1712-1796) probate records.
10) Glocester, Rhode Island, Probate Records for Humphrey White (1757-1814) and Sybil (Kirby) White (1764-1848).
11) And probably more - I'm still working on my To-Do list!
My history is that my list is always too long, and I come home with things to do next year from the current list. That's OK - I'll be back, I think. Maybe I'll do a week-long tour one of these years.
Here is the To-Do list in RootsMagic (Lists > To-Do List) by "Open" topic:
I wanted to print out all of the open To-Do tasks planned at the Family History Library, so I clicked the "Print" button on the screen above and made my selections:
The list is 14 pages with 50 different tasks. Here is the top of the first page of the list:
When I prepare these lists, I consult the FamilySearch Library Catalog to capture FHL microfilm numbers and book call numbers. Sometimes, I need to start with indexes for land or probate records, and discover the volumes I need to use to find the records I want.
Last year I created a form for each task like that shown in A Workbook for My Visit to the Family History Library by Diane Boumenot on the One Rhode Island Family blog. I transferred the information from the To-Do List to the forms by copying and pasting text. That worked out well - I can prioritize the forms, write notes on them, and they are easier to use than the long To-Do list above. Here is the form for the task on the screen above:
So, going to a conference in Salt Lake City is a win-win proposition for me! I look forward to my day at the Genealogy Mecca.
NOTE: I updated my list of tasks because I found that I had already completed some tasks.