Saturday, April 7, 2012

Planning a Research Trip

Have you gotten to the point where you feel you have explored and exhausted all digitized, local records and resources? Perhaps, you just want to go pay homage to the locality of your ancestors? Well, maybe a research trip might be in order.

Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you how rewarding it can be to travel back to the location of your ancestors. In fact, I just got back from one of my many research trips to South Carolina. I was able to find many crucial records that are not available locally or online. As well, it can be spirtually rewarding to step foot on the very ground that your ancestors stepped. Also, actually seeing the town, the home and the area helps to put the story of your
ancestor(s) in prospective.

Here are some tips for planning your research trip:

1)Decide on mode(s) of transportation
2)Decide where you will stay (with relatives or hotel lodging) If you have it, utilize AAA or other discounts
3) Obtain map(s) and directions of the areas you plan to visit
4) Find out the what repositories house the records that you are looking for, i.e, courthouse, clerk of courts, archives building, local library, etc.
5) Find out the addresses and hours of operation of the places you plan to visit
6) Plan an itinerary with an agenda of where you plan to be during the time you are there
7) Make a list of the people you are researching and where each record is possibly located
8) Take folders, plastic coverings, pens, pencils, markers, writing pads, flashdrives, quarters, dimes, paper bills. Other options, scanner, laptop or tablet computers
9) Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. If visiting old cemeteries, you might consider wearing boots
10) Review location policies and guidelines in advance
11) Take a camera, videocamera, batteries and chargers
12) Be extra nice to the staff at all repositories. You may need their help once you've returned home

Here is a small clip from my recent research trip.

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