During the first week of May, my sister Vicki and I will join two members of the San Diego Genealogical Society in Salt Lake City. There, at the Church of jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Family History Library, I hope to crack one of my toughest research puzzles: the Hendricksons. The prevailing theory is that a fellow named Albertus Hendrickson showed up in New Jersey from the Netherlands in the mid-1600s, and was the progenitor of my particular line. But I can only trace the family to mid-1700s Kentucky, and no amount of wishing has helped me make the New Jersey-Kentucky connection.
While in the area, Vicki and will drive up to southwest Wyoming to do a little history. As any of you with Oregon Trail ancestors know, South Pass City was the summit of the Continental Divide. It marked the emigrants’ arrival at the frontier of Oregon country, and was the journey’s halfway point. South Pass City had nearly 300 buildings during its 1860s boom time, but today, it’s a ghost town with just a couple dozen structures. Vicki and I’ll also drop in on two other remnants of the frontier days, Miner’s Delight and Atlantic City. Our only worry is that in early May, at an altitude of 8,000 feet, we may find South Pass City as impassable as those Oregon Trail folks would have.
Because our Salt Lake City companions are experts at using the Family History Library, we’ll have a pre-trip get-together to learn the ropes and make the most of our research time. Our strategy is for me to tackle the Hendricksons, while Vicki jumps into our Dearing/Knox line. As a fallback, I’m preparing research notes for one more line just in case we dead-end. And of course, I’m using the FamilySearch.org library catalog to create a list of books I want to research.
If you’re going to be at the library the first week of May, e-mail me so we can meet and greet! One of the resources I used to get ready for the trip is Your Guide to the Family History Library by Paula Stuart Warren and James W. Warren (Betterway Books, $19.99).
I also got online and found some great resources and suggestions for Family History Library visits. Among them are:
• All About the Family History Library (includes a rough map)
• Getting Around in Salt Lake City
• Salt Lake City, Here I Come! (advice from various genealogists)
• Salt Lake City Library: Ready, Set, Go! (an outstanding article by Lorine McGinnis Schulze)
Nancy Hendrickson is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine. She also is a family historian, freelance writer and the author of the new book Finding Your Roots Online. Visit her Web site or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org