Family History Episode 18 – Using Family History Centers, Part II

Listen to the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast by Lisa Louise Cooke. It’s a great series for learning the research ropes and well as refreshing your skills.

Originally Published 2009

Republished February 11, 2014

https://lisalouisecooke.com/familyhistorypodcast/audio/fh18.mp3

Download the Show Notes for this Episode

Welcome to this step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. I first ran this series in 2008-2009. So many people have asked about it, I’m bringing it back in weekly segments.

Episode 18: Using Family History Centers, Part II

This episode is the second in a series about Family History Centers, the regional satellite facilities of the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

My very special guest is friend of the show Margery Bell, Assistant Director of the Oakland Family History Center in Oakland, California. Last week Margery Bell introduced us to the Family History Center, and walked us step by step through the process of ordering and using microfilm. She also discussed the wide range of resources beyond microfilm that you will find at both your local Family History Center and one of the 14 larger regional centers.

In our first segment in this episode she preps us for our visit and reveals the subscription websites you can use for free at Family History Centers. Then in our second segment, Margery discusses making copies in all forms, the future of digitizing microfilm, and the future of Family History Centers.

We also talk about tips for visiting the main Family History Library (see link below and link to Show Notes, above).

In next week’s show, part three of the series on Family History Centers, Margery Bell will talk about educational opportunities through the centers, she’ll give us her 7 top tips for getting the most out of your visit, and we’ll wrap up with some wonderful inspirational stories of genealogical serendipity.

Updates/Links

  • Some Family History Centers are now called FamilySearch Centers. Many Centers have opened in public and private libraries in the past few years, not just in meetinghouses of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Click here to find a FamilySearch Center/Family History Center near you.
  • Many records are now available online, either in indexed form or just the digitized images. Click here to visit the online catalog of the Family History Library. When you find something you’d like to order, look at the catalog entry. If it’s digitized and online, you’ll see a link.
  • Many of the same principles apply to visiting the Family History Library and Family History Centers. Click here for updated information about preparing for your visit to the Family History Library (this is instead of the handout mentioned in the podcast).
  • Here’s a link to the main Family History Centers page on the FamilySearch website, which has an updated list of databases available there (and a lot more information).

How to Archive Family History Documents

Jennifer recently wrote in with a question about how to archive family history documents, and I knew just who to turn to: The Archive Lady! Melissa Barker is joining the Genealogy Gems Podcast and blog to help answer your questions about your precious possessions.

The archive lady Melissa Barker

Let’s get right to Jennifer’s question:

Lisa,

I recently received my grandfather’s birth certificate from my cousin. My family knows that I am researching our family tree and are not surprised when I ask them for information or to take a picture of family gatherings and send it to me. Most of my mother’s side of the family live in Wisconsin and I am in New Hampshire, so I don’t get to visit with them often. The birth certificate is very old and fragile and I’m wondering how do I store it so it will be around for future generations.

Thank you for any ideas.
Jennifer

It’s fabulous to find genealogical documents online, but there’s nothing like touching and possessing the original. I reached out to our Archive Lady here at Genealogy Gems, Melissa Barker to get her advice on archiving family history documents.

(Full disclosure: the links below are affiliate links that will take you to the products Melissa’s recommends in Amazon. While there’s no additional cost to you, we will be compensated for the referral. Thank you for helping us keep this blog and the Genealogy Gems Podcast free!)

How to Archive Family History Documents from the Archive Lady

“Jennifer, what a wonderful treasure to receive, your grandfather’s birth certificate. Preserving original records such as birth certificates is so very important for future generations.

First, I would suggest that you scan the certificate or take a photograph of it so that it is preserved digitally. Then the certificate needs to be encapsulated in an archival sleeve. Usually these sleeves are made from Mylar, Polypropylene or Polyester and can be bought at any online archival store. These sleeves can be top loading or they can be open on two sides, which are called L-sleeves. Place the certificate in the sleeve for the first layer of protection.

archival sleeveThen I suggest that you place the encapsulated certificate in an archival file folder and place in an archival Hollinger box. This will give you 3-layers of archival protection for your certificate.

Store all documents and photographs in a cool, dark and dry place.

Following these easy steps will ensure that your grandfather’s birth certificate will be enjoyed for generations to come!”

.

More Resources for How to Archive Your Family History

LOC scrapbook videoThank you to Melissa for helping Jennifer and all our readers understand how to archive family history documents in proper way. The Library of Congress has a FREE video about how to create and properly preserve digital or print archival scrapbooks.

It’s a 72-minute video by various experts with a downloadable transcript on these topics:

  • Basic preservation measures one can do at home for long-lasting albums and scrapbooks
  • Pros and cons of dismantling old scrapbooks and albums in poor condition
  • How to address condition problems
  • Preservation considerations for digital scrapbooks and albums
  • How to participate in the Library’s Veterans History Project.

And here on the Genealogy Gems blog we have an article for you about understanding the impact that humidity can have you on your family history collection. Click here to read Humidity and Your Family Archive: Why It Matters.

5 Family history things to do over the holidays

SHOW NOTES: Weave more family history into your holidays and get the whole family involved in capturing stories and finding joy in genealogy. Here are 5 ideas that will enrich your family gatherings. 

Family History Christmas Ideas

Video and Show Notes

Watch the Video

Show Notes

The show notes follow below. Premium Members can download the ad-free Show Notes handout .

#1 Stimulate conversation about family history during gatherings.

Christmas wreath

Watch the 4-part series Family History Christmas Wreath, part of the Family History Craft and Displays YouTube playlist.  It’s an old video series but you’ll get the step-by-step instructions you need to create a family history Christmas wreath.

Christmas Stocking

Watch Family History Crazy Quilt Christmas Stocking

Christmas candy

Check out the Premium video Inspiring Ways to Captivate the Non-Genealogists in Your Life which includes the template to create the candy bar lable.

Table Conversation Prompts

Suggested prompts:

  • Who is the oldest relative you remember meeting? Around what year were they born?
  • What was your favorite toy as a child?
  • Tell us about your most memorable Christmas.

#2. Record conversations

With permission of course! Use the Voice Memo app on your phone. 

#3. Mention your interest in family history in your cards to relatives

Even just a brief mention of your continued interest and genealogical activity might cause a relative to share a family photo, story or document.

#4. Have Family History Fun!

Family history and genealogy are fun and there are lots of ways to help your relatives see that.

Old Catalogs

Look up old catalogs and share memories of favorite toys, clothing and more. Here are three great places to find them:

Google Books: Sears Wish book results

Ancestry.com: U.S., Historic Catalogs of Sears, Roebuck and Co., 1896-1993

Google search: Search for Sears Wish Book 1960…1970 (substitute the desired years)

Yearbooks & Photos

Look up high school photos in old yearbooks online. Screencast your phone to your TV screen so everyone can join in the fun. Here are two great sources for yearbooks:

MyHeritage AI Time Machine

Offer to run photos (adults only) through MyHeritage’s AI Time Machine

#5. Select one research project for the New Year.

Learn more about developing research questions by watching Avoid Rabbit Holes and Find More Genealogy

Watch Research Methodology videos and get the downloadable handouts (included with Genealogy Gems Premium Membership.)

Watch Using Evernote to Create a Research Plan (Premium)

Genealogy Gems Premium Membership

Click to learn more about Genealogy Gems Premium Membership.

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