Genealogy Road Trip Tips

By Family Tree Editors Premium
Who better to ask for genealogy travel advice than veteran research road trippers? Family Tree Magazine Facebook fans shared these tips.
• Picture the places. Make a list of the ancestors you plan to research. Under the name of each person who lived in that area, list addresses obtained from census records, city directories and other sources. With the list, a map and a camera, you can compile a pictorial view of your ancestors’ lives. » Frances L. Sheldrick
• Take Plenty of pictures. If you take pictures of everything, you won’t go home and say “Why didn’t I take a picture of X?” » Lori Thomas Halfhide

• Create a kit. I keep a “genealogy to-go” bag that’s ready to walk out the door with me. [It’s] stocked with office supplies, batteries, business cards, address labels, a digital voice recorder, a magnifier, sticky-notes, a small power strip, etc. » Peggy Clemens Lauritzen

• Use a USB flash drive. Many libraries have computers attached to their microfilm or microfiche machines, so you can save record images to the drive. If they have a scanner, you can scan documents to the drive as well. » David Brinkworth

• Figure on tech failures. When planning a trip to a remote cemetery, don’t assume your cell phone will have a signal. If you need a list of names or you’re planning to fulfill photo requests on Find A Grave <>, bring a printout or make sure the list is stored on your phone, not in the cloud. » Mary Sonier

• Buddy up at cemeteries. I don’t recommend visiting cemeteries alone, especially small, out-of-the-way ones. I’ve had a couple of uncomfortable encounters in cemeteries I had thought were perfectly safe. » Mary Hogan-Smith

• Prioritize. See what things [repositories] have that aren’t online, and make those items your priority. » Christine K. McCloud

• Talk it up. You may find more kin [at your destination]. I asked a postmaster for directions to a farmhouse, and she was another great-great-grandchild of the same man my hubby was. » Lori Thomas Halfhide

• Practice politeness. Being polite is a key that opens many doors. I’ve found that just by using “please” and “thank you” and being respectful, I’m given access to many of those old records sitting in musty rooms. » Traci Crewse Bohannon

• Don’t forget your forms. Take a notebook for general notes as well as a pre-prepared sheet to record info and important source info. It keeps you from forgetting anything if you have a form to fill out. » Linda Ferry Mecchi

From the July/August 2014 Family Tree Magazine

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