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           December, 2005

      Carol Sanderson,
      Charles Hansen, Technical Advisor

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 Get In Training for Your Trip to Salt Lake
- by Linda Dietrich*

        I have several friends who are runners. Some of these ladies run for exercise and fitness, but others are really serious runners, they run in marathons. Now my idea of preparing for a 26-mile trip is making sure there is enough gas in the tank, but Carol, Susan, and Julia know that only constant and intentional preparation and training will get them over that finish line.

        My mom and I returned recently from an 8-day visit to Salt Lake City. Lest you think you are reading a year-old Olympic report, let me assure you we were not there for sporting events. We were there with 28 others for a genealogical foray that some only dream about. Moreover, although we planned this trip for over a year, I found that there were some things I had forgotten to train for before my arrival at the Family History Library. If a trip to the legendary Library is in your future, here are some things to put on your to-do list to get into training.

        No matter what your normal daily routine is, you néed to prepare for long days of sitting and reading. Now reading is my favorite pastime, but my eyes are not as young as they used to be. Also, I had forgotten how straining that a microfilm reader could be. If your plans include searching for ancestors on any microfilm or fiche source, you might want to get your eyes in training by visiting your local library once a week before your trip for some film exercises. If you have not used a microfilm reader in awhile, this will help to refresh your memory of how the darn things work, too! Be sure to include eye drops in your suitcase for relief of the inevitable eyestrain.

        Pace yourself. Starting at your highest speed will get you in trouble down the road. After planning for a year, we arrived at the Library with lists of film and book call numbers, ready to dive into the five-story treasure trove of information just waiting to be discovered. After a short orientation about the library, we all hurried to the floor that held our treasures. I took my microfilm list and headed to the stacks, where I filled my arms with as many boxes as I could carry. Within an hour, I had boxes of film strewn all over the table, some with sticky notes about records to copy, some duds to be returned to the stacks, some still waiting to be put on the reader. By noon, I had to stop and sort it all out to keep from looking at the same films twice. After that first morning, I stayed more organized by getting the films one or two at a time, and putting back the duds quickly to keep my space organized.

        Vary your routine and scenery. Our group leader had told us where she could be found if we had questions for her. I thought at the time that her daily trip between floors - mornings at the microfilm readers and afternoons in the book stacks - was inefficient. I soon learned that her varied routine should not be taken for granted. In fact, plan to move around the building every day. It can keep you from cramping legs and backs at that microfilm reader, can help you get over the frustration of the elusive record, can get you some exercise, even if you use the elevator, and might open up new avenues of research you hadn't thought about.

        Know what obstacles you will encounter. While I had spent an enormous amount of time during that year preparing lists of film and book call numbers, and lists of the ancestor data I hoped to find, and lists of cities, towns, and villages to find on old maps, I failed to train my eyes and mind to read the old German and Latin script that was used in all of the centuries old records I was reading. To my horror, I could not decipher several roles of the most pertinent films. Preparation of a few hours a day before the trip going over "If I Can, You Can Decipher Germanic Records", by Edna M. Bentz would have helped me tremendously in this department. Mom had used her copy as a guide to write out the last names of the families she was researching, and used that example to find the name in the records she was looking at. What a great idea, especially when the records are in a language and writing style with which you are not familiar.

        Keep to your normal daily routine, as much as possible. Although not a runner, I do walk daily with my two dogs. Plan to get outside for a while each day and just walk around the (big) blocks. The fresh air and exercise will help you to last the long 10 or 12-hour days and give you a much-néeded break. Since we were staying in the hotel adjacent to the library, we did not even get much exercise walking between the two; I found I had to purposefully take a break, usually at lunchtime, and walk around outside. Luckily, we had marvelous weather for most of the week.

        Know how to fuel your body. Salt Lake City is high desert; the air is dryer and thinner than most of us are used to living in. Natives know that means you have to keep your body hydrated by drinking lots of water to ward off altitude sickness. Visitors can learn this the hard way. Signs of altitude sickness are faintness, dizziness, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, and headache. Slow your pace and drink lots of water, carry a bottle of water with you in your library bag. The dryness can also affect your nose, mouth, and eyes by drying out mucous membranes. If you take an antihistamine as I do, you might find that you do not néed a full daily dose while you are in this climate. Be ready to adjust your dosage if you experience extreme effects. My nose dries out and my mouth stays dry, so I carry hard candy or cough drops and salt water in a spray bottle for my nose.

        Eat right. Food sometimes seems like a nuisance and distraction when you are deep in family histories or census records. Plan to stay on your regular eating schedule, especially if your diet is closely linked to any illness. I have diabetes, and I like routine in my diet. Knowing that, and the fact that we would be eating in restaurants almost every meal, I brought some staples with me to help me keep my sugar level low, and keep me from overindulging in restaurant food. Starting my days with a normal breakfast routine helped me to bring some normalcy to a very intense week and fruit and other healthy snacks kept my energy level up during the day.

        Plan to relax. Some recreation and relaxation time is a must while you are in Salt Lake City. Mom and I attended the weekly rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, went out to eat at several upscale restaurants, and attended a concert at Symphony Hall while we were there. Although most of these events came at the end of long days at the library, they were just the ticket to refresh our minds and souls. There is nothing better than good food, good conversation, and good entertainment to lighten the spirit.

        So, are you ready for that trip? Do not spend all your planning time just on research matters. Remember to train your mind and body in order to get over that finish line! Have fun in Salt Lake City and I hope all your research dreams come true. Which reminds me, if you know where I can find the birth-record of my great-great-grandma in Kummersbruck, Bavaria in 1841, please let me know!!!.

Linda lives on top a mountain ridge in East Tennessee with her two dogs, Belle Starr and the Sundance Kid. She is the Executive Director of the MATS homeless shelter, an ecumenical ministry serving homeless individuals and families from an eight county area. Linda loves to travel, read, write, learn, and help her mom research the many branches of their family trees. She has done research in German church and civil archives, at NARA, the Cincinnati Public Library, and, most recently, at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Linda lives on top a mountain ridge in East Tennessee with her two dogs, Belle Starr and the Sundance Kid. She is the Executive Director of the MATS homeless shelter, an ecumenical ministry serving homeless individuals and families from an eight county area. Linda loves to travel, read, write, learn, and help her mom research the many branches of their family trees. She has done research in German church and civil archives, at NARA, the Cincinnati Public Library, and, most recently, at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

 The Spruce Goose
- by Charles Hansen

Note: Please click on the camera icons to view photos.

        Last summer we had a Hansen reunion at Fargo, North Dakota and we had a pretty good turnout. My dad, his brother Leigh and Don the husband of one of my cousins were talking about airplanes and the conversation got around to the Spruce Goose. Don had been in the navy and was on watch on his ship the day Howard Hughes had taken the Spruce Goose out for a test and it actually flew. My dad and Uncle Leigh had never seen the Spruce Goose and it is now in McMinnville Oregon at the Evergreen Aviation Museum which is a long days drive from Spokane.

        The actual name was the Hughes H-4 Flying Boat, and it is the world's largest wooden aircraft. It was built as a transport plane to avoid the German submarines that were sinking Allied ships. Howard Hughes and his staff started to work on the plane in 1942 and spent $18 million Federal dollars and another $7 million of Hughes' own money. Completed in 1947 after the war was over it only made one flight. The press insisted on calling the Hughes Flying Boat the "Spruce Goose" a name that Howard Hughes despised. Most of the plane is made of birch, with small amounts of maple, balsa, and poplar and yes spruce. Birch was chosen because testing proved it to be light, strong, and resistant to splitting and dry rot.

        The museum is built around the Spruce Goose, but also houses 64 other aircraft Sopwith Camel and displays that help understand the aircraft. They have planes from a replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer Wright Flyer Replica to the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird SR 71 Blackbird under the wing of the Spruce Goose, but many of the airplanes are from the WWII era and very familiar to my dad and Uncle Leigh. Both were in the Air Corps during the war and both were in service units that serviced the bombers. My dad's unit was in England for a while then to Africa and close to the end, they were in Italy. Uncle Leigh's unit was in the Panama Canal Zone, as the US was worried the Germans would try to bomb the canal. The one they both really knew was the Boeing B-17G, and the tail of the Spruce Goose at 113 feet was just about as wide as the wingspan of the B-17. The wingspan of the Spruce Goose is one inch short of 320 feet and it had eight 28-cylinder piston engines. They had an engine on a stand cut away, so you could see all 28 pistons going up and down. They also had an engine from a 747 and it was not a lot bigger than the engines used in the Spruce Goose, but much more powerful.

        My dad and Uncle Leigh were explaining the workings of the planes, and what they did servicing them during the war, which they seldom talked about before. One of the hardest things a genealogist does is to interview an older relative because they seldom want to talk about what they have done, as they are sure no one would be interested, but we néed to get the interviewing done before it is too late. Thanksgiving and Christmas are good times to get together with your older relatives and maybe you can get them to tell about their favorite Christmas and get them talking about the past.

        After we left McMinnville, we headed north and stopped at the nearly new Johnston Ridge observatory at Mt. St. Helens. It is just 5 miles north of the Mt. St. Helens crater, and was named for the geologist killed there in the 1980 blast. Mt. St. Helens It was a nice clear day and the mountain was sending up steam from the crater, and the earthquakes were shaking the mountain. It has changed quite a lot since I was there before, as more and more of the area is recovering from the 1980 eruption. Uncle Leigh had never seen Mt. St. Helens after the eruption and so that was something new for him. Both my dad and Uncle Leigh had a great time and we learned a lot. Mt. St. Helens family photo

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