A Fated Trip to the Family History Library


When my husband and I were planning our summer vacation trip, I hinted that since we were going to be in Utah for a few days, I’d like to visit the Family History Library.  He was more than happy to schedule some time in to our itinerary. I was out of my mind happy and excited and started plotting my visits months early.  I visited the local Family History library to familiarize myself and to ask questions about how to make the most out of my time there. Thinking that he was scheduling me three days in Salt Lake, neither one of us considered that it was actually going to be shorter because by the time we got checked out of one hotel, travel to Salt Lake, get checked in, we would actually lose that first day.  Okay, so I can deal with two days.  But wait a minute, check out time is 11 am at the hotel, then we have to get to the next location to check in on time.  So now we are down to one full day.  Okay, I can handle that.  I can get a lot done in one day, and after all I had already decided to limited my search to my mysterious great-grandmother.  To make things quicker I made a list of everything I knew as fact about her; where she lived between 1871 and 1881, her marriage, where they lived and where each one of her children were born.  You know how when you are on vacation you kind of lose track of days of the week.  Since you are not working, a Saturday or Sunday is just like the rest.  But wait a minute…. my one day was a Sunday!  The Family History Library is owned and operated by the Mormon Church, and of course is closed on Sunday.  I was heartbroken and my husband felt bad for me as well.  So, last resort… I will be at the door at 8am sharp Monday morning, and get the most of my 3 hours instead of 3 days.  The people there are at the door, cheerful and ready to help in any way they can.  I was lead to the 2nd floor and introduced to a sweet lady that is from Canada and their resident “expert” on the area.  The only problem is, she is French Canadian and not familiar at all with Ontario or the Bay of Quinte.  But she trudged through with me trying to find my orphaned great-grandmother who was born in 1862 and married in 1881.  After a few minutes of searching we discover that their birth records for Ontario start in 1863, and death records (which would be for her parents who died in 1868) started in 1869,  NOTHING, NOTHING and more NOTHING!  So she finds a record for a book in the library that has Weslyan Methodist baptisms for the area, so I head up to the 3rd floor.  Sitting on the floor going through the book trying to find my great-grandmother, I again find NOTHING.  I did find some other books that I brought back to the 2nd floor with me and while I find some other Canniff’s that I am familiar with, still nothing to tie my great-grandmother with the rest of the Canniff families.  So she suggests I go to the microfilm to find her marriage record, hoping that it will contain more information than is listed. I start searching for it, as my minutes area ticking away.  I finally give up as I know that I have already seen it and it lists her parents as “unknown.”  She wanted so badly to help me find something, and I hated to disappoint her, so I just disappeared out the front door after re-filing the microfilm.  So now I am back to depending on DNA to find that connection.  I am going to ask my 87 year old aunt to do a test, just hoping she will say yes.


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