10 February 2011

RootsTech: Blogger events on Tuesday

Today, Tracing the Tribe noted Dick Eastman, Dear Myrt, Thomas MacEntee, Drew Smith, Lisa Cooke, Renee Zamora and many more of our intrepid group.

At 3pm, the geneabloggers met across from the Library to board a bus to the huge FamilySearch microfilm distribution center here (exterior view below). [Credit: Property of Intellectual Reserve.]

Have you ever used microfilms at the FHL or your local Family History Center? Ever wondered how they got there? Geneabloggers were given a rare look into the system that processes and sends out those films after orders are received from family history centers.

The computerized system tells a crane to pick films in tubs from shelves (below left). An operator pulls the correct film from the tub via a bar code scanner, checks it against the order, and then places it in a box for shipment.

The Distribution and Print Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - its formal name - covers 1,097,419 square feet, about 19 football fields.

Some facts:

• There are more than 4,600 family history centers in 126 countries
• 725,000 microfilms (copies, not originals) are stored in the center, which can hold some 900,000 films.
• The Center processes some 255,000 microfilms annually.
• The average microfilm is 100 feet long
• If every film processed in a year were to be unwound and placed end-to-end, it would cover 4,800 miles.

Following the tour - with main tour guides David Rencher and Paul Nauta - we were taken to a five-star dinner at The Roof at the top of the century-old Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which used to be the Hotel Utah. Lovingly restored and very elegant, the facility is something to see.

If you are visiting SLC, do visit The Roof. The view from the building is wonderful, particularly at sunset!

Tomorrow morning a specia breakfast presentation begins at 7am for media and bloggers. Stay tuned for more as RootsTech opens. Expected attendance is some 2,700 individuals - quite impressive for a first edition of a new annual conference.

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