Having a Blast While Looking for Your Ancestors

        People come in two sizes, those who like libraries and those who don’t.
Wait, there are two other sizes – those who like researching their ancestors and those who don’t.  Did you know that their is a place that brings all those sizes: libraries, looking for your ancestors, and liking fun together?  Salt Lake City.
        Who knew?
         The easy access sites like Ancestry com and 23andme and made it easier and easier to track down our family history.  Gone are the days of traveling to court houses or writing county clerks, now we can sit at home and begin to unravel where we came from.  For many of us we’ve discoveredv two things;
1) Family research is like eating Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies…. we don’t stop until the sleeve is gone, have a headache and still want more.
2) No matter how much we do, we always hit a wall – those mistery ancestors who simply fall off the chart.  No matter how many hours we spend in front of our home computer, we just can’t find theim.
         If you’re insatiatable and stuck then the Salt Lake Family History Library is for you.
slc-libraryAccording to their website the Library “collection includes over 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records; 727,000 microfiche; 356,000 books, serials, and other formats; over 4,500 periodicals and 3,725 electronic resources.

Records available are from the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

A majority of the records contain information about persons who lived before 1930.

Approximately 200 cameras are currently digitizing records in over 45 countries. Records have been filmed in over 110 countries, territories, and possessions.”
If that weren’t enough, and one would think it would be, each of their six floors is filled with computers and geneologists to help you search.  It’s like you get to be Miss Marple, nancy Drew and Amelia Peapody all rolled up.  It’s great, each research road leads to another and then to another.  The hours flash by so fast that only your hunger lets you know it’s time to take a break.
The Library is in dowtown Salt Lake City and there are lots of great lunch time restaurants within walking distance. Salt Lake City is home to the Church of the Later Day Saints (The Mormons) so there are some quirks to eating out. Most restaurants close between 5 and 8 to promote family dinner time.  Coffee is rare, and soda is often decaffeinated.  But don’t let that dissuade you from going.    Salt Lake city is very cosmopolitan so the food, its variety  and things to do besides research are wonderful.
My favorites are:

Blue Lemon – The primary word to associate with this restarant is fresh.  Fresh, huge salads,

Views of the Blue Lemon Bistro, down town Salt Lake City
Views of the Blue Lemon Bistro, down town Salt Lake City

Fresh fish.  Fresh homemade desserts.  Its modern and very airy, perfect after being shut in stairing at microfiche.

Sigfrieds Deli – Authentic German food served up deli style along with a small Authentic German market.  Unlike most German restaurants these days, this one is packed.  Parking is an issue, but walking there is only 15 minutes from the library – so worth the stretch of legs.
Lion’s Pantry – An LDS restaurant and homespun cafeteria.  There menu is comfort food and homemade breads.  Watch out for the honey butter , you’ll eat way too much.
One restaurant close by, the Navoo Cafe serves very indifferent food.  Although its one of the closest and its housed in the beautiful Joseph Smith building, there are so many other’s this one should be avoided.
I mentioned that afternoon walks are needed to clear the head and reinvigorate the mind.  Fortunately, the library is across the street from Temple Square, up the street from the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, and around the corner from the elegant outdoor mall City Creek.  So when that headache starts there is food for the spirit, beauty for the soul, and shopping therapy.
 The Square is magnificent; bordered by religious visitor centers, meant to introduce the tourist to Mormonism. Each center is elegantly done and meant not to push but to educate.  Gardens and pools then surround  the  famousTabernacle and the magnificent Temple.  Only the temple is closed to visitors, but it’s outside is so glorious that it’s awe inspiring.  On Thursday morning you can slc5listen to rehearsals at the Mormon tabernacle; organ music and choirs fill the air. A walk around and through soothes and can inspire.
If your eyes can’t take another moment looking at words in a book, on fiche or through a computer screen, a short walk brings you to a museum that will inspire and delight. The works are inspired by the life in and around Utah.  A walk through will life your soul and give slcyou the will to go back to the library and try to find Aunt Selma’s great grandmother.
Last but not least the new mall, City Creek is one of the most unusual malls ever.  Built inside and under buildings, partially walled in by glass, with rock gardens and fountains  that grace the center walkways. From Nordstroms to Fabletics, Sephora to Lush, fine arts to tailors, City Creek offers all the contemporary retail therapy necessary to blast you back into this century.
The Library isn’t a one day stop.  Give your self at least a week to research, you won’t be alone you’ll meet people from all over the country doing what you are.  You’ll make new friends. Discover family secrets. And discover a wonderful unique city unlike any other.
Yours in travel,
Beth

Comments

  1. Haralee Weintraub

    I used to be in SLC every month on business. I would always see people delighted, talking about their history they came to trace, people from all over the world, and rejoicing in learning about their ancestors. It took time but Starbucks is even in SLC besides just in the airport.

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