02 February 2011

Wisdom Wednesday - Research Trips

Each year in mid January we start discussing our vacation plans for the year.  Usually has something to do with research trips.  The genealogists trip to Mecca - where ever that might be for you.  For me, its where I really need to travel to for research. For things I can't get on line or at my local libraries.

I'm a big believer in planning & to do lists.  For me the success of my trip totally depends on pre-trip planning. 

Below are some tips I believe help make your research trip to Mecca the best it can be.

  1. Define where Mecca is. Locate maps of area, location of archives & record centers, to provide easy access from hotel. 
  2. Consider hotel rates vs different times of year. Rates can vary greatly.
  3. Define your goals for trip.  What exactly is it that you hope to accomplish by traveling there to research?
  4. Figure out the best location for acquiring the records you need. Check for historical societies, newspapers, libraries, archives etc.
  5. Contact those institutions or their websites for more info.  Email with your questions if not answered on website. Pay attention to hours & days available. It may impact your travel plans.
  6. Spend some time in your data base determining which families you will be working on & what it is that you are looking for.  Going in with no plan usually results in no gain.
  7. Posting notes on listserves for that county may get you information on best times to visit record centers & libraries as well as information on where to eat,  area's of town to avoid etc.
  8. Assemble all your information in a bound notebook along with your detailed to do list.  Bound is best so there's no mix ups!  You can see my post on the research notebook here.
Happy Researching!


Dee said...

Great tips. I'll definite be referring back to this post before I leave on the 2 research trips planned for this year. The first is in April, when I'm going to south Georgia to research my mom's side of the family. She's going to so it should be interesting.

The second trip will be sometime this summer. I'm going to West Virginia to research my dad's side of the family. I plan to visit with my great grandmother since she has boxes and boxes of family photos and knows who everyone in them is.

Karen said...

Dee, WHat part of south Georgia are you going to be visiting? If you are looking for newspapers for multiple counties - try using the Univ. of Georgia library in Jackson county. Copies are 9 cents each and they are open almost constantly except for holidays! I'd love to hear what counties/surnames you are working on in South Georgia - we might be related!