This blog entry is coming to you from Salt Lake City where I am spending the upcoming week in genealogical heaven... the Family History Library.
It's been about three years since my last visit and in that time, they have done some amazing remodeling!
The first floor, which used to have row upon row of computers and books, has been redesigned into the most amazing interactive stations which tell the story of your family history discoveries, and is aptly called the Family History Discovery Center. There's even a special section for the littlest patrons to play while parents search and discover their family history.
Eight stations invite patrons to login and bring their family history to life. Using a provided iPad and high-def touchscreen monitors, guests are able to connect to each station and explore various scenarios which all reveal their family history in a whole new way.
All About Me shows what's special about your name and birth year – highlighting the top stories from the year of your birth and how many people in the United States share your name. And if you want to know what was happening in the U.S. when your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were born, it's got you covered.
Where I Come From brings your ancestors to life on the big screen. My Heritage shows you where your ancestors are from on an interactive map. There are also vintage photos for the locations of your ancestors which reveal what life was like when your ancestors were living there. The U.S. Immigration tab provides what the economical and political environment was like in your ancestors home country and gives reasons why they might have moved to America.
My Time Machine provides a timeline and shows what life would have been like living in another country. Select an ancestor and see what was going on in their country and in the world.
My Famous Relatives is absolutely amazing! Using the data you have plugged into your Family Search family tree, this interactive station finds who you are related to and what the relationship is. You might find yourself related to famous entertainers, authors, inventors, pioneers, U.S. presidents and first ladies, Mayflower passengers or even Latter Day Saints (LDS) leadership.
Picture My Heritage and Picture Our Heritage puts you on camera and allows you to "wear" the clothes of your ancestors and to step into their lives through the use of computer generated imagery (CGI).
And last, but certainly not least, Record My Story and Record Our Story, puts you in the studio so you can tell your story the way you want. Using prompts or freestyle, FHL patrons are invited to record their story alone, or with family and friends. Afterwards, the recording is sent to your email for you to add to your tree or to share with the world.
After you've completed your exploration of each station, an email is sent to you with the pictures, recording or details about your experience at the Family History Discovery Center. There is something for all but to get the full experience of the Discovery Center, you do need to have a free FamilySearch account and a family tree started. Like everything else at the Family History Library, there is no charge to use the Discovery Center and you're invited to come back as much as you will like, to see how your story changes as you continue to build and discover your history. Trust me... it's definitely something you'll want to try again!
To learn more about the Family History Library, visit www.familysearch.org/locations/saltlakecity-library