Archive for September, 2013

 I’ve been getting many questions over the last several weeks about where to look when you have Utah ancestors. As with any state or country you first want to go to the FamilySearch Wiki and read the country or state page.

Mormon Pioneers, who first arrived in the summer of 1847, settled Utah. The records of the wagon train and handcart companies, which arrived before1869, when the railroad was finished can be founds on Utah Mormon Overland Trail 1847-1869.  This website has not only the list of people in each company, but their birth, and often death dates, as well as excerpts from journals and newspapers to put their adventures into context.

A second wave of early immigrants came from Europe, mostly the British Isles and Scandinavia. These immigrants usually came as groups or congregations on the same ship.  The Mormon Immigration Index has the passenger lists

A good source for early Utah marriages is the Western States Marriage Index . This is a collection of marriages from Utah and surrounding states, and is an on going project.  This is an index only, but you will be given book and page number to locate the original.

Utah Cemeteries –  While Find a Grave and Billion Graves are both wonderful sources for cemetery records – Utah Cemeteries is part of the State Archives and can help you find nearly any grave in Utah. It gives the cemetery and the burial plot.

Utah has chosen to put their digitized newspaper collection on line at  Utah Digital Newspapers is fairly comprehensive and a great way to locate ancestors and discover how they lived.

Utah Death Certificates cover from about 1904 – 1961. You will see the actual image, which you can download or print.

Arizona Birth/Death Records 1938 – 1963– Arizona and Utah were once part of the Utah Territory, and as a result many Utah people find their ancestors records in Arizona. This collection includes births that occurred 75 years ago and deaths that occurred at least 50 years ago. As with the Utah Death Certificate Site you see the actual image.

Mountain West Digital Library has a huge digital collection with links to other sites.

Don Snow and his late wife Diane put together a wonderful collection of web sites and information for Utah family historians. It has places to look that you might not readily think of.

Read Full Post »

I recently had the opportunity to go to Salt Lake City, Utah and spend a day at the Family History Library. Usually when I take a research trip I have some time to prepare, to gather records, and to make lists of what I want to research. This opportunity came so suddenly that I had no time to get ready. I had just enough time to quickly pack a suit case and leave, and of course grab my computer.

Anyone has every researched at the FHL will tell you that  it can be overwhelming. There is so much at your fingertips that you can almost become paralyzed trying to decide where to look first. You will ask yourself which family line you should research?  You will wonder if you should look at a book that has not been digitized yet, a film that holds your family land records, or maybe a parish microfiche?

My research logs saved the day. I keep a research log for each family that I am researching. To each log I add the date of any search, where I searched, and the source description, including title, author, the call number and/or url. I include whatever I find, or don’t find, and where I filed any useful information. I use these logs for both online and library research. To this log I also add a ‘To Do’ list, which includes the numbers of any films that I may want to order, certificates I need to find, or missing information that I want to locate.

Because I keep these logs up to date, I was able to begin right where I last left off. After a few minutes of reviewing my log, I knew exactly what was needed next. I was able to look for a missing will for my  Hutton/Stewart ancestor, some  land records for the Argyle Patent in Washington County New York, and a filmed land record for a client.

A research log sometimes seems tedious to keep. It means you have to stop what you are doing in your research process, and write down what you have found. What can be even more annoying is logging a source where you have found nothing. You may even be tempted to not enter that into your log. Be careful. If you don’t log what you have looked at, or make a note that a source contains nothing helpful, then you are likely to spend time looking for, and at, the same record again.

My research log is a chronological list of my sources, what I have found, and what I need to find.  It also contains a summary of my findings, and where I file the information I gather. It reduces duplication of research and helps me locate again the documents I have previously searched, It also keeps me on track. Log on!

Read Full Post »