Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 2 of Randy's Salt Lake City Adventure

My second day in Salt Lake City was eventful and fun.  This was my library day.  I got to the Family History Library by 8:30 a.m. carrying only my iPhone and my thin folder of paper (to-do list, blank sheets, etc.), plus two flash drives.  I had identified the microfilms I wanted to visit on the to-do list. 

My first task was to find the probate records for Alpheus B. Smith (1801-1840) that I had not copied previously.  I found them easily on microfilm, but the adventure started when I went to use the microfilm scanner and put the images on my flash drive.  The same 94-year-old woman who helped me last time came around when she saw that I was hopelessly lost.  She'[s a great teacher, very patient, and we had some laughs too.  I hope I'm that alert when I'm 94!

On the way back to my microfilm carrel, I ran across Michael Leclerc, and we talked for awhile.  My next task was to find Norfolk County (MA) Land records for my Smith, Seaver and Plimpton families.  I went through the Grantee and Grantor indexes, and photographed the pages with my iPhone.  There were no Dill deeds before 1849, but there were three Alpheus Smith deeds, including one for the estate where they sold the real estate to pay the debts.  I made microfilm scans of those on the flash drive.

I checked Facebook and Twitter and saw that Jill Ball was on B2, so I wandered down there and found her, and met her husband.  Turns out they've been to Chula Vista as part of Robert's job.  Banai Feldstein was on the other side of the table. 

Then Russ Worthington came along and handed me some Knapp treasures that he had copied.  We talked for awhile, then went up to the main floor and had lunch in the vending area.  It was packed, and two of the four machines, and the change-making machine, were out of order.  We talked about software and databases much to the amusement of a couple from Idaho at our table.

The microfilm were calling me, and Russ wanted to go over to the Radisson to find his BetterGEDCOM Colleagues.  As I was walking back to my carrel in the dark, there was Elyse Doerflinger, awestruck on her first visit to the FHL.  I hope she found some good research information on her to-do list.  

My next research task was the early Plymouth probate records, and the pages available on the film are really difficult to read between the secretary hand, the page blotting, and page damage.  I photoed nothing and copied nothing.

That was discouraging, so I moved on to the early Barnstable County (MA) probate records, and I retrieved three films with indexes and the first four volumes.  The first volume had transcriptions of the early records (done in the 19th century), so I copied several of them.  The second and third volumes had a lot of indexes, and the original wills in secretary hand were difficult to read, and the page numbering was messed up and difficult to find on the pages.  I ended up copying one ancestor's will and inventory.  I never got to the fourth volume with later records.  The microfilm scanning area was busy, and there was usually a line, and a 15 minute time limit when there was a line. 

I packed up, and went to the 3rd floor and looked for the New Jersey Archives books.  I found them, but they stop at 1817, so I need to find the 1823 will of Stephen Cutter (Middlesex County NJ) on microfilm somewhere.  There's an item for next year's to-do list!  Finally, I used the computer on the 3rd floor and copied the list of commercial databases available on the FHL Computers, and collected quite a few historical maps from the commercial Historic Map Works site. 

It was 5 p.m., and time to rest up for the Official Bloggers dinner at 6:30 p.m. at the Joseph Smith Building.  There were 15 bloggers, many FamilySearch people, a number of Brightsolid and people, and other invited guests.  I received my registration tag, bag and brochure.  The buffet dinner was good, the table conversation was lively, and then we had several presentations by Dennis Brimhall, the Archives team and the Brightsolid team, all focusing on the 1940 Census project.  There will be much more about this in the near future.  The main message was that the indexing for this census will rely on volunteers, and if you want it sooner, then help index it.  David Rencher discussed the SSDI challenge and the vital record closure problems  There will be much more about these in the coming days.

Thank you to FamilySearch, and Brightsolid for their hospitality and information, and I look forward to the next few months - it should be exciting!  It was fun to see many geneablogging firends, and meeting several that I had not met before, including Kerry Scott, Nancy Shively and Lynn Palermo.  I also got to meet most of the and Brightsolid personnel, and talk at some length with Jay Verkler of FamilySearch.  He's giving the keynote talk on Thursday to open the RootsTech 2012 conference.  I'm looking forward to it, so I need to sign off now and get some sleep. 

The challenge on Thursday will be to find some time to blog while not missing the keynote, the presentations, and the exhibit hall. 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

Yes, the early Plymouth records are hard to read, even in person. There is a book of transcriptions Plymouth court records, 1686-1859 David Thomas Konig, William Edward Nelson, Plymouth County (Mass.). Court of General Sessions of the Peace, Plymouth County (Mass.). Court of Common Pleas in multiple volumes. I'll bet they have this book right there at Salt Lake City.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

Also Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, in New England: Court orders [being ...
By New Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. General Court available at Google Books.

Howard Swain said...

For Plymouth probate, see: C. H. Simmons, Jr., Plymouth Colony Records: Volume I, Wills and Inventories, 1633-1669 (Camden, ME: Picton Press, 1996) I think this is a complete transcription.

Early Barnstable Co. probate records as transcribed by Hinckley are available online at NEHGS. See website for more details.

Also, early issues of The Mayflower Descendant have probate records (abstracted, I think) for both Plymouth Colony and Barnstable County. The first 25 volumes are online at NEHGS now.

I found both our Allens and Holloways in the second two sources above. (This reminds me I need to look in the Simmons book for them.)