Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Return to My Research Roots

The Family History Center

I’m at a point in my research where yes, I need to push myself away from the computer, internet, etc. and concentrate more on those “antiquated” methods of research from my early research days. If you’ve been at this awhile you know what I’m talking about – microfilm / microfiche, snail mail, treks to record halls, etc. So, after months, of saying that I was going to get back to a Family History Center near me, I finally made the trek there Thursday night.

It’s taken me awhile to get there because of their hours (T-Th 9am-1pm; T-Th 7pm-9pm; Sat 9am-2pm). There are two locations here and they both have similar hours. Neither location is close to my house, so I decided to go to the one that I sort of pass on the way home from work. However, it always seemed like something was coming up on Tuesday or Thursday and on the weekends, I always seemed to forget or get wrapped up in other things of life.

When I began researching, late 1980s / early 1990s, the Family History Center was a big help in me conducting my research. In those days, there was very little on the internet (we were just beginning to discover its power) and most communication was still done via snail mail.

I was fully introduced to the Family History Center when in 1990, I moved out of my beloved home state of North Carolina to Grand Junction, Colorado. I lived in Grand Junction for most of the 1990s. Shortly after moving to Grand Junction, I begin discussing my research with one of my coworkers. My coworker and her husband were members of the local LDS church and also volunteered at the research center. She invited me down to the center on a night when she and her hubby were working and would assist me in getting started.

I was introduced to hard copies of resources that were at the library but best of all, I was introduced to their database and as a result, the repository of records, documents, books, etc. housed in the main library in Utah. The way the Family History Centers work is that for a nominal fee, you place an order for a document / record that has been recorded on microfilm / microfiche. The center notifies you when the item arrives. Then you return to the center to use their readers, etc. These days, you are allowed 90 days for viewing but I remember, in my earlier days, the time period being much shorter.

Today, thanks to their website, FamilySearch, you don’t have to spend a lot of time at the center finding out what is available. However, at least here in the US, you still have to physically go to the center to order whatever microfilm / microfiches that you are interested in. Microfilms now cost $5.75 vs. $2.85 (yes, I still have some of those old receipts) and microfiche is $0.10 per microfiche.

So, what did I order?

1. In remembrance, Cemetery Readings of Walton County, Georgia (Historical Society of Walton County, Inc.)

I’ve already seen this microfilm (it’s the resource that lead me to asking a volunteer to go to the graveyard where my great grandfather, Cornelius Pierce, is buried) but it has been at least 13 years ago that I viewed the microfilm.

So why did I reorder this book? My notes from then are a little cryptic and second, back then, for the most part, I was only looking for direct line ancestors. Now that I’ve matured somewhat as a researcher, know more about which cemeteries are African-American, have a better understanding of some of the collateral relatives, there are a lot more names, info, etc. to possibly be found.

2. The Cemeteries of Greene County, Georgia by E. H. Armor

I’ve traced my great grand father, Cornelius Pierce, and my 2nd great grandparents, Jasper and Jane Pierce, back to Greene County. Don’t know that this book will give any leads or information but I thought it was worth a try.

Almost forgot to add that one other noted difference between my early visits to the Family History Center and now is the time elapse between ordering and receiving. Colorado is right next to Utah. (Grand Junction, where I lived, is the last major stop on I-70, before heading into Utah). So, back then orders were usually received within a week even though I think they always stated 2 weeks. The order I placed last night, will take 2 – 3 weeks to get to NC. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it gets here sooner.

Until Next Time!

1 comment:

  1. how great that you went to visit! I still haven't made it to mine - their locations are really so inconvenient for me unfortunately.


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