Certain times during your research you have to allow yourself to back away from the computer, pack a bag, get in the car, on a train or fly to your destination. If you want to be successful in your genealogy research you will first have to develop a research plan to follow. Planning a trip can be exhausting, but with a good plan your road trip can be a successful experience and you will accomplish your goals. Recently, I traveled by car (with my 81 year old Mother) from Virginia to Michigan, driving over 2,000 miles. During the trip, I made a stop in Medina County Ohio. Below are some basic tips to help you plan for your next genealogy road trip:
· Determine your goals for the trip. Is it to visit the community where your ancestors lived, did they homestead, attended school, etc? I decided to travel to Benzie & Manistee County, Michigan visiting the family homesteads and my goal was to make a stop in Medina County Ohio to see the land where my great great grandparents (William and Mildred (Brand) Davis purchased 25 acres in 1858 before moving to Michigan.
· Determine what items you need to take with you, such as a camera, map of the area, laptop, ipad, recorder, notebook, stickies, pen and or pencils, etc.
· Make a list or chart with columns that tells you, what you are looking for, basically your goals, what you wish to accomplish on this road trip. Include on the chart the location of property, a complete address, areas of interest, and the people contacts you have made, include telephone numbers and time of meetings. Make sure you have a column for notes and to check off if item was completed. It is a good idea to make contact to the local historical society or genealogy group, tell them you are traveling and planning a stop in their area. You want to ask them if they have any information that will help you. Don’t forget to take notes.
(I contacted the Medina County, Ohio Historical Society, informed them of what I am looking for and asked for assistance. They graciously set a time to meet at the local library, which also provided access to maps and local information)
· Include on your list items from your research file that includes background information on your ancestor, such as birth, parents, occupation, a family group sheet and any notes from your files.
· Pre-planned research-view internet sites, blogs, books and guides on the area, i.e., rootsweb, historical societies, local government pages (court house, tax office, etc), learn about the community so you have some awareness of where you are going. Make note of the open and close times of where you will be visiting.
· Once you return from your trip, review your list of goals and check off what items you were able to accomplish. Begin to organize your findings.
· Plan to share your findings, challenges, successes in a blog, with your family or with your genealogy groups.
Planning a Genealogy Vacation http://genealogy.about.com/od/research_trips/a/planning.htm
Genealogy Road Trip http://www.familyhistoryexpos.com/wordpress/2010/03/genealogy-road-trip/
PLANNING THE GREAT GENEALOGY ROAD TRIP by Danita Smith
Plan a genealogy road trip http://www.examiner.com/genealogy-in-atlanta/plan-a-genealogy-road-trip