Thursday, October 1, 2009

Monday - Wednesday, Sept. 21-23

Monday was the day our Salt Lake City Genealogy Roadtrek Rally was to start (why I was in Salt Lake City in the first place). This picture is of Nancy Emmert (left) and Pat Manning, the two expert genealogists who were leading the Rally. They've been doing it for 20+ years and try to get to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, which is the largest genealogical library in the world, at least once a year for a week or two. Nancy is a licensed genealogist and has numerous "clients" she works for, besides her own considerable family research (she has traced one line of her family back to the Mayflower!). The rally turned out to be a rather small one, with only 8 Roadtreks and a total of 14 people, 12 of whom were going to do genealogy research (Pat and Nancy's spouses just "came along for the ride.") At 5:00 on Monday we got together to meet each other and had pizzas and salad delivered which we devoured at a couple picnic tables at the KOA campground where we were all staying.

The next day (Tuesday) was our first outing to the Library.

This is our group outside the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (next to Temple Square). I think it was good that it was a small group because us newcomers could get more individualized help from leaders Pat and Nancy.

I took this picture to prove to you that I am, when required, able to get up at 7:00 am, meet the group for breakfast at 8:00, get a ride over to the Library, and be ready for our orientation at 9:30 am!

There are 5 floors in the library. Each has rows and rows of computers (PCs, unfortunately for us Mac users) for you to do your main search work on. They have free access to many subscription Web sites (e.g.,, plus sites specific to the Family History Museum. You can also bring your own laptop to use if you want. Then, depending on which floor you're on, there are over 2.4 million microfilms and over 750,000 microfiche on file and hundreds of film readers to view them on. Also, over 300,000 books. Another great feature is that they have missionaries available who can read and translate almost any language the material you are looking at is in! Finding the particular microfilm you want was quite easy --- they are VERY organized there. And help is just a raised hand away.

And this is me, hard at work on a computer. I spent Tuesday researching my mother's side of our family tree. I had done the most work on the Silbers and Gottliebs before I came here and I didn't really find too much new information. I did learn how to find the records I wanted to search, though, and how to use the microfilm readers and copiers. This doesn't mean that there isn't tons of information available in the Library on Silbers and Gottliebs, just that 6 hours isn't nearly enough time to devote to a specific search.

Wednesday I spent on my father's side of the family, trying to find information besides what I already knew about the Sitzers and Michelsteins. Again I didn't find too much about them, but I did find something exciting: While searching through a translation of the Hebrew writing on some gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Iasi, Romania (where I knew they were from), I found a listing for a "Barash" buried there. My Uncle Sam Barash, whom I had just spent a week with in New York, I knew was from Romania and he was a journalist during WWII and has written at least 7 books since then. The translation given for this gravestone said that Yehuda Barash was a physician and a great writer who had written many books in Hebrew and Romanian. I couldn't wait to e-mail Uncle Sam this information and find out if this was a relative of his!

This last picture is what projected microfilm looks like. It's big enough, but sometimes the handwriting on it is very hard to read --- even if it's in English, which, of course, it isn't always. If there is no index on the records you're looking at, you have to scroll through every page in the document until you, hopefully, find what you are looking for. I wondered if you could go blind by scanning microfilms all day ('cause that's what it FELT like!)

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