Tips to Get Ready for a Genealogy Research Trip

By Diane Haddad

Genealogists including yours truly are headed to Fort Wayne, Ind., Aug. 21-24 for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) annual conference.

Fort Wayne’s Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, of course, has the top public library genealogy collection in the United States. Its resources cover not only Indiana, but also the entire United States and even beyond.

I’m not sure how much genealogy research I’ll get to do there, with getting into town at the last second and leaving as soon as the conference concludes. But I’m doing a little prep work in case I can sneak over to the library during the Genealogy Center’s extended research hours.

I’m using materials from our Genealogist’s Research Trip Value Pack for help getting ready:

  • The Genealogist’s Research Trip Planner ebook with guides to visiting popular genealogy research destinations such as courthouses, cemeteries, the Family History Library and FamilySearch Centers, plus advice for packing, saving money and more.
  • two of our popular pocket references: The Family Tree Pocket Reference and The Genealogist’s US History Pocket Reference

  • the easily searchable, printable and portable Family Tree Magazine 2012 Annual CD
  • a sturdy padded binder where I can keep my online catalog printouts of materials I want to view, along with notes about the people I’m searching for in each resource. There’s an included notebook, plus pockets for pens and pencils and my handy ruler/magnifier.

Here’s the binder stuffed with my stuff; it will come to you with the notepad but otherwise empty and ready for your stuff.

As a bonus, The Genealogist’s Research Trip Value Pack comes with a 25 percent off coupon to our Organize Your Research With Evernote on-demand webinar.

The Genealogy Center is super-strong in its collection of family and local histories, so I’ll use the online catalog to find any I should check while there (many also are digitized at, for those of you watching from home).

Another helpful tool is this web page listing the Genealogy Center’s resources by place, with call numbers.

I hope to use the library computers to search PERSI. PERSI, aka the Periodical Source Index, indexes genealogy and history journals published in the US and Canada for the past 200 years. Genealogy Center staff create PERSI from periodicals at the library, so it’ll be easy to request copies of articles while I’m there. (Read more about PERSI here, and how you’ll soon be able to search it at

Will you be at FGS, too? Stop by to see us in booth 519! Get an exhibit hall map and a directory of exhibitors here.