We stayed at the Plaza Hotel (at Temple Square) which I can recommend. They have a free shuttle to and from the airport, reasonable rates, large clean rooms with a fridge, coffee maker and microwave, outdoor pool, fitness centre, free wi-fi and a very reasonable restaurant attached to the hotel. As an example, the breakfast buffet was $5.99 for seniors over 60 with their other items all priced reasonably. The hotel is a two minute walk to the LDS library.
I am only going to discuss British Isles research here but Barbara did some North American work and found the other floors of the library to operate similarly to the British Isles floor. There are five stories to the building with the welcome area, theatre, class rooms and lunch room on the main level. The upper two floors are for North American research with the microfilms and books on separate floors. International records are on the B1 level and the British Isles on B2.
The library is organized into separate areas for micro form and book research. Books are arranged by their call number and are self service. There are large tables to use for reading and every station has an electrical outlet and wired Internet jack. Wi-fi is also available anywhere in the building. At the end of each stack is a red shelf for returning books which are the only item you don't replace yourself.
There is a map area with very large scale maps of every area of the British Isles and large tables on which to view them.
The microfilms are located in a large collection of standard microfilm cabinets and are completely self-service. You are encouraged not take more than five rolls at a time which you also return yourself when finished. The carrels are spacious with an underneath shelf for personal items, a writing area big enough for a laptop, a power outlet and a light. Special high magnification readers are available for the 16mm films which were filmed at 42X and higher but most are the normal top down type readers with manual winders.
There are lots of computer work stations available everywhere in case you need to access the library catalog or any of the on-line databases such as Ancestry.com or the Godfrey Library collection.
Finally, there is a print area adjacent to the main research room with film scanners that will allow you to print to paper or copy to a flash drive. Basically, when you find an item you want to print you remove the two spools from your reader, so you don't lose your frame ,and take it to a scanner station where you load and copy it. There is no limit on the number of copies you can make but use of the reader-scanners is limited to 15 minutes at a time when they are busy. Printing costs 5 cents a page and copy cards are available from a vending machine.
To prepare myself for the trip I decided to concentrate on Uckfield and its adjacent parishes. I started by using Parish Locator (available here) to identify the parishes around Uckfield and their relative distance and direction. Although Parish Locator is used to determine the distance between two parishes there is a radius feature which I use the most.
Next, I went to Hugh Wallis' website to identify the parishes that have been extracted into the International Genealogical Index or IGI. If you are unfamiliar with the IGI, there is a great explanation of it here.
It is at the bottom of the above image and you specify the miles in the yellow window. Once you choose the Parishes within Radius button the results look like a spreadsheet but are listed alphabetically. Since I wanted them by proximity to Uckfield I chose to save the results as a CSV which can be imported into Excel where I sorted the results by distance from Uckfield.
Hugh Wallis has created a database of all IGI batch numbers by location and is available here.
As you can see from the above spreadsheet, I added a column to show the batch number associated with the parish. My objective was to concentrate on those parishes that didn't have a batch number which I could access from home.
For those parishes without a batch number, I consulted the LDS Library Catalog and printed out the film number and related information about the type of records available and periods covered so I could prioritize my research. Some records overlap civil registration which started in 1837 so there isn't much point in looking at them unless you think there might be more information available on the original. Sometimes a birth date is included whereas the IGI only records the baptism date.
The same logic applied to marriages which I could access from the Sussex Family History Group's marriage index CD. Why duplicate what I can get at home, although, I now wish I had taken the CD with me. Therefore, I concentrated on transcribing the baptisms and burials from the parishes with no batch number working our from Uckfield.
It pays to have a research strategy as you'll find your time rapidly disappearing and that 30 minute warning about closing time comes all too soon, especially when you are just starting a film. I should have mentioned earlier that the library is open from 8a-5p Monday and 8a-9p Tuesday to Saturday.