Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Family History Mission: Some Random Observations

No. 45

Note: You can do a Google search for "A Family History Mission James Tanner" to see all the previous posts in this ongoing series. You can also search for "James Tanner genealogy" and find them.

Time is passing rapidly here in Annapolis, Maryland. We are working on our fourth month on a mission, but who is counting? I thought it might be a good time to review some of my random observations. Here they are:

Driving in Washington, D.C. is like the Polar Bear swim at Scout camp. It is terrible to consider and even worse to experience. We quickly realized how much easier it was to take the train into the city. We also discovered the buses. There is a really convenient bus called the DC Circulator that has a loop route around the Museums and attractions in the Mall area near the Capital Building. It is only a dollar and half price for Seniors with the convenient Senior Smart Trip Card.

Traffic on the freeways when there is room and not completely stopped, travels between 75 and 80 mph even though the speed limit is 65. Since that is also the case in the Phoenix area, we are not overly impressed. However, the speed limits in Phoenix are much higher. In Utah, the speed limit on the Interstate outside of the cities raises to 80 mph.

We are getting used to living in an apartment. The last time we lived in an apartment was when we lived in Panama while I was in the Army almost 50 years ago. Our biggest challenges are one small bathroom and two flights of stairs when we have store purchases.

We love working with the other missionaries. Two couples are finishing their mission this week and going home. But we know there is at least one more couple on the way. We like the cooperative nature of the experience and the collaboration on digitizing problems and procedures. The Archive employees are also very helpful and dedicated.

We are attending the Spa Creek (Spanish) branch and that is another adjustment. It is a very small branch with a Sacrament Meeting attendance of only around fifty people including all of the children. Of course, all the meetings are in Spanish and it is a challenge understanding all of the accents from different Spanish-speaking countries. We are warmly received and have had some very nice experiences.

I have been going to the Annapolis Stake Family History Center every Tuesday and Thursday evening. I have been having quite a bit of success helping others and finding my own records. I am starting to talk to people and meeting them at the FHC for help. That works out very well. We might also have access to the FHC during Sunday School so we can help the Branch members find their ancestors.

The weather here is very different from both the Salt River Valley and the Wasatch Front. The temperature seems to go up and down sort of randomly and there is a lot more rain than we are used to. We are watching some of the flowering plants start to grow and so we think that Winter might end sometime and we will see what the town looks like with leaves on the trees.

Before we came to Annapolis, we kept hearing about how beautiful the city was and that it was quite an attraction. It does have some nice old buildings but the streets are extremely narrow, there is almost no parking anywhere near the old downtown area near the dock, and the rest of the town looks pretty much like the rest of the United States with malls, fast food restaurants, and other businesses. We have found the stores we need for shopping and our apartment is very centrally located.

The apartment doesn't have assigned parking unless you want to pay for a covered space. If you come back late in the evening, we have to park almost a block away from our apartment.

We enjoy working at digitizing the records. The records are an endless source of interesting names and other information. We really appreciate the local volunteers who come to help prepare the records and even help with the digitizing.

I would still strongly recommend a Senior Missionary experience. We have a great time. We would have to grow old and live our lives anyway, so we might as well be doing something useful and enjoyable.

All the missionaries get to work right around 7:00 am despite traffic and weather. This shows me that they are all enjoying their experience here in the Maryland State Archives.

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