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.
- Define where Mecca is. Locate maps of area, location of archives & record centers, to provide easy access from hotel.
- Consider hotel rates vs different times of year. Rates can vary greatly.
- Define your goals for trip. What exactly is it that you hope to accomplish by traveling there to research?
- Figure out the best location for acquiring the records you need. Check for historical societies, newspapers, libraries, archives etc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.