30 June 2014

Road trips ... a popular summer genealogy research activity!

Copyright 2014, Diane L Richard -- Alaska

With the kids out of school, warmer (if not hot) temperatures, and July 4th on the horizon – it’s time for a Road Trip!  A genealogy or family history oriented one.

Many of us piggy-back, when possible, a genealogy research or a “let’s visit where the ancestors lived” trip with a vacation. We are already on the road traveling, we might even have built-in research buddies traveling with us, or it’s an opportunity to share with the family some of the more interesting bits of the family history as we visit the cemeteries where they are buried, the churches they attended, possibly the houses where they lived, etc.

To get the most out of such a research trip, planning is key!  I was reminded of this recently when I read Genealogy Roadtrip: 10 Tips for Researching at a Library or Archive (Ancestry.com Blog). Many of these same tips apply even when your road trip does not involve a library or archive. What to Bring When You Hit the Road for Genealogy (Genealogy Insider) also has some useful tips.  Not into reading, then check out this “Wordless Wednesday” post on the Michigan Family Trails blog about Diane Gould Hall’s first genealogy road trip (though the post is wordless, her “written” tips in answer to a question are definitely worth reading.)

If you are not planning a road trip yourself, you may find that a local genealogical society is planning one!  The Iowa Genealogical Society recently did a road trip to the Midwest Genealogy Center (Kansas City).  Speaking of the Midwest Genealogy Center, read Planning for a Trip to any Genealogy Library, Specifically Midwest Genealogy Center (Genealogy Decoded) – the article has great tips for any research trip, regardless of destination!

Maybe hearing from someone who recently took a genealogy road trip will inspire you to embark on your own. Read Genealogy Road Trip (Mid-Continent Public Library website) or Genealogy Road Trip! (Christine Bell, LDS Blogs).

As a person who loves to drive, I always find road trips fun.  Not everybody feels the same way (my husband is very glad that I like to drive as he doesn’t!). So, if you don’t like to drive, find a road trip buddy or take advantage of a planned trip set up by a genealogical group or similar (there are still openings for the fall NGS SLC trip (Unfortunately the Fort Wayne and DC trips are both sold out.  Check this page for all NGS research trip offerings). 

If you absolutely cannot physically get to where you want to visit you might find photographs posted by others (both modern and historic) or be able to take advantage of the Google street view feature to “virtually” travel to a locale that you would love to see.

Wherever you go, wishing you a safe and happy trip ...

Editor’s Note : Upfront with NGS discussed this previously in June 2013 in Frugal Alternatives to a Genealogical Road Trip [note that the link to the article on which the title is based no longer work though the links to the 1st three road trip articles also still work !]

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