RootsTech and the Value of a Research Log

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by Rebecca Stevens 20 Views

RootsTech opens tomorrow, on Wednesday...300 sessions, many dozens of exhibitors, and lots of opportunities to learn from experts and fellow attendees. In fact, waiting on line for badge and bag (a LONG wait), I enjoyed genea-conversations with those in front and behind me. Tonight, I reviewed the RootsTech Conference Guide (session locations in print, for paper-loving people like me) and used the app to prep for Day One's meetings and appointments.

Today (which Randy Seaver calls "Day Zero" for RootsTech) was the day hubby and I pored over hard-to-find books and microfilms at the Family History Library. You can see my handsome guy at top, blinking into the sun as we left the FHL building after about 5 hours of intense concentration.

And now I have to confess: As much as I dislike research logs, they were absolutely essential to putting our limited time at the FHL to good use. Above, one of the 3 pages of catalog listings for my husband's Steiner and Rinehart ancestor hunt in Crawford county, OH and Berks county, PA. I spent several working days assembling this list of likely sources, reading the descriptions on FamilySearch and determining whether any of these could be accessed from home or only from the library. Why waste time at the library if we can research a source at home?

My goal was to give hubby call numbers and notes to focus his limited research time on the 2d and 3d floors of the library. As he worked through each entry, he checked off that resource or put an X if it turned out not to be applicable (or, in one case, unavailable). He was able to move down the list, item by item, and actually found a few good leads and clues (no breakthroughs yet). He also downloaded one set of files to his USB drive for us to examine more closely at home, rather than spend precious library time on this resource.


I had high hopes for two resources in particular: The book on Crawford County, Ohio, early history/pioneers and the microfilmed Crawford County Pioneers applications. The key to the history book was that there was a printed index, separate from the book, listing all names mentioned. We could quickly identify page numbers to look at, and then skim certain places and time periods for background. No breakthrough from that book, but worth the time.

The Crawford County Pioneers applications would be a treasure trove for anyone with ancestors who were in that spot in 1850 or earlier. To be named the descendant of a pioneer, applicants had to submit various types of proof, all included on this microfilm (such as pedigree charts, marriage certs, birth certs, etc). We checked the digitized index of names in the Pioneers applications and found 5 possible applications to review on microfilm (see above for the title page of one roll). Alas, not one panned out. Still, it was a productive day at the library and an excellent way to transition to RootsTech tomorrow.

Terrific lunch and dinner dates with blogging buddies Linda ("Empty Branches on the Family Tree" blog), Deborah ("Who we are and how we got that way" blog), Yvonne ("Yvonne's genealogy blog"), and friends/family. Bumped into blogger Caitlin Gow, who ran the contest in which I won my free RootsTech registration. And met many more folks who will now be familiar faces at sessions in the coming days. Can't wait.

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