Monday, July 31, 2006

CVGS Program on Family History Centers

We had our Chula Vista Genealogical Society meeting today at the library. One of the topics that a number of our people have requested over the years was more information about the local LDS Family History Center and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Our speaker today was Peter A. King, who works at the San Diego FHC in Mission Valley, and teaches classes on PAF and other subjects there. He put together a "Visual Tour" of the SD FHC using photos to describe all of the assets at the FHC - the books, computers, microfilms, microfiches, research guides, resource books, etc. It sounds pretty dry, but it was very informative and Pete added his touch of humor to the talk.

His main point was that the FHC is a one-stop shop for a number of genealogy services - not only the on-site assets but also the opportunity to order films and fiches from Salt Lake City. There are now 16 computers with access to the Internet and Ancestry Library Edition for free. This library now has two setups with a computer, scanner/printer, and film/fiche reader hooked up so the user can either print out, burn on a CD or save on a flash drive the images from books, microfilm or microfiche.

One thing that makes this FHC unique is that it houses the archives for three different societies - BIGRA (British Isles), GRA (German) and CGSSD (Computer Genealogy). It also hosts meetings for several groups, including BIGRA and GRA and the new Norwegian group.

Pete asked the audience "How many of you have ever been to the FHC?" and got about 80% response. When he asked "This year?" he got about a 30% response. Amazing, isn't it? But typical, I think, of genealogy research in the Internet age.

We have a "research trip" scheduled for this Saturday to help our members reconnect with a really good genealogy library and research facility. GRA has a meeting at the same time, and several of our members are interested in hooking up with them.

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