Fiona’s trip to Saltlake City

Earlier this month I visited Salt Lake City, Utah for work.  I was there to attend a board meeting of the,Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), and stayed on for the APG’s annual,Professional Management Conference.

Salt Lake City is very quaint and, unusually for an American city, has its’ own tram-system.  Its’ boulevards were designed to be wide enough for two horse-drawn carts carrying freight to be able to turn without colliding.The Rocky Mountains form the backdrop to the city, and are so high against the skyline that at certain times, dawn or dusk, you could mistake the outline of the mountain range for clouds.The City is straight out of,It’s a wonderful life – jumping on the trolley, I almost expected to meet Jimmy Stewart tipping his hat and calling me m’am.

Salt Lake is also the headquarters of the Mormon Church, the LDS Family History Library, and the headquarters of Family Search.  In recent times the City has become an IT hub, and many data and online genealogy companies have their headquarters here.

The Professional Management Conference on the week of my visit, brought a huge concentration of family historians in one place.  I attended some wonderful talks, and during the two-day conference contributed to formal and informal discussions.  It’s always fun to learn about the cultural differences between countries.  I learned that in China, the way to get around the censor is to use a fax-machine; and in Hawaii the government employs genealogists to research native land title – with clear parallels to 1920s and ‘30s Ireland, when Medieval Historians and Celtic scholars were expert witnesses in the Fisheries cases.

I look forward to returning to Salt Lake City in September this year, when I’ll be teaching the Irish track, in the British Institute course.


By, Fiona Fitzsimons



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