Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ordering Stuff From Salt Lake City

(You knew you could order stuff from SLC, right?)

New Cousin Bob and I were just discussing a book written by cousin Loretta Marvin, Steinhilber, which tells the story of our ancestors, Johannes Steinhilber and Johanna Magdelena "Lena" Roller of Germany. Lena joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, Mormon) and, with her four daughters, sailed away on a Church ship to America "in the dead of night." She made it as far as Utah, where her fifth daughter was born, but left the area and settled in Nebraska. Johannes and their two sons were left behind in Germany, but later came to the United States themselves and settled in New York state.

I can't imagine what it must have been like for either group - and of course we don't know how things really went down, but the old-timers of their town gave this version as the way it went. The fact that she left under cover of darkness could mean anything. Perhaps Lena and Johannes were divided over the Church issue; perhaps they were divided over MANY issues and that's really why she left.

I have a copy of the book, and New Cousin Julie also has a copy, but Bob has never seen it. Is it online somewhere? was his question. I googled it, and found that some sweet soul donated a copy to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Which is good - it means I can keep my copy. Not only did they donate the book, they allowed it to be microfilmed, so anyone anywhere near a local Family History Center, like the one I serve in, can order the microfilm and see the book for themselves. I am beyond thrilled to think that something with my name in it is actually at the FHL, but thought, what if you're like Bob and don't know how to order it, or you don't have a wonderful cousin like me to tell you how to do it?

Here's a short synopsis:

1) Before you do anything else, search the Family History Library catalog. There are several criteria you can search under - places, surnames, titles, authors, subjects.

2) After finding something you're interested in, like a book about The Ackleys of New Jersey, find out whether it's a book or on microfilm or microfiche (a thin sheet of plastic on which information has been printed in tiny print - you use a different machine to look at it). If a book has been microfilmed, a gray button that says "View Film Notes" will appear at the top of the page.

3) If it's only in book form, congratulations! You're headed for Salt Lake! Have a great time and make sure you go to a MoTab concert and a Utes game and have lunch at the Pantry while you're there. Sadly, the Library and FHCs don't have an interlibrary loan situation, but if you're in the SLC area, you're welcome to spend dawn till dusk in the library itself. They even have vending machines if you get hungry.

4) If it's on microfilm or -fiche, put away those suitcases, and copy down the film or fiche number instead. You'll need it when you go to order it. In the Ackley book's case, the film number is 1597996, Item 22. Remember that, now.

5) Ordering microfilms and -fiches can only be done at a Family History Center. To find one near you, head here and fill in the country, state, county and city you live in. You'll be directed to the closest FHC, where you can go and order what you need. The staff are oh-so friendly and knowledgeable and LIVE for requests like this. Seriously. We get bored when we don't have patrons - we have to work on our own genealogy... it's such a drag.

6) Take the film number and item number with you, show up, fill out the order form, pay the $6 and wait about two weeks - then the microfilm will show up at your local FHC, you'll be contacted, and at your leisure, you'll be able to head down there and look at what you ordered. Hopefully there will be good, useful stuff in it. If not, you can always order something else, right?

If, by some major coincidence, you're also a Steinhilber descendant and you're interested in seeing the Steinhilber book, you can see its call number here and if you click "View Film Notes," you can get the film number and order it at your local FHC. It's worth the trouble.

Any questions? You can always leave me a comment.

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