Monday, February 2, 2015

LDS Family History Library Field Trip

We went on a field trip to the LDS Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake. You can arrange for a tour here. We had such a great time! Everyone was so nice. It would have been easier to go with just the older children, of course, but no one acted mad at the little ones, and there were several areas/activities designed for smaller children, so it was fine.
There's a station where you can put your face into old photos like this one. The children liked that a lot.

After we watched some introductory videos and looked around a bit, some of the sweet lady senior missionaries played with the little girls and gave them pages to color, etc., while other missionaries helped the older boys look up stories of their ancestors. They managed to make the boys feel really competent and smart with the computers, while simultaneously teaching them how to use the software. :)
I wanted the boys (and me) to learn how to look up stuff on microfilm, so the missionaries showed us that, every step: looking up records on the computer, and finding the numbers, and going into the stacks, and threading the film on the machine and so forth, and then they even showed how to download the records you find onto a flash drive or print them. The boys LOVED it. And there are tons of records there that aren't digitized online. So if you can't find anything on a specific person online, but you know something about them, you can often go to the library and search through marriage records or death certificates or whatever on the microfilm. It has always seemed impossibly intimidating to me before, but the ladies there were so nice, I felt like I could totally do it. Next time we go, we will bring specific names to work on. They help you through it so calmly, I loved it!

Sebastian was looking up names in Sam's line back quite a way, and he found someone that died at Winter Quarters, which he noticed and thought was interesting, so then he was clicking on "stories" under that name, and we found such a cool story about this ancestor who knew Joseph Smith, and it had all these funny little details like "Joseph always rode a black horse and Hyrum always rode a white horse" and things like that. It was all stuff Sebby could have found on the computer at home, but he didn't know how, and it was so much more rewarding for him to have the missionary sitting next to him saying, "Wow! Look what you found! This is so amazing, can you believe this is your grandpa? You have his blood in your veins!" and so forth. It made Seb feel so special and grown-up, I could tell. I could just see him getting excited about what else he might find.

Another cool thing you can do at the Family History Library (or the other family history centers) is print out a large fan chart or a name cloud. We didn't do that this time, since we'd already done it another time, but we love these charts. If you just want to print out a regular letter-sized version of them, you can go to this site here and log in with a family search account. I love looking at our ancestors' names (common and uncommon!) and I think the fan charts are really beautiful.

Anyway, it was a great field trip, and we are dying to go back sometime—maybe with a more specific agenda this time.
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