Genealogy Road Trip Tip 11: Focus on the main event

Tip 11: Focus on the main event. Part of “Genealogy Road Trip Tips: Take Your Loved Ones With You” — 30 posts in 30 days for NaBloPoMo 2016.

Each genealogy road trip is likely to have a main event — the one key happening that can only be experienced by traveling to the destination.

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August 2014: Union Army reenactors, Governors Island, New York. Historic reenactments, parades and commemorative events are usually time sensitive and location specific, making them must-see main events if they occur during your genealogy road trip. Photo by Molly Charboneau

The rest of your trip itinerary — including research goals you might be able to accomplish without visiting the locale — should be scheduled around this event. Here are a few examples:

Historic commemorations. Historic reenactments, parades and commemorative events are usually time sensitive and location-specific — making them must-see main events if they occur during your genealogy road trip.

An oral history interview with an older family member. How many times have you wished you had interviewed your grandparents when they were living about your family’s history? If you have an ancestor or collateral relative who is getting up there in years, interviewing them face-to-face could be a main event for a genealogy road trip — a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear, in their own words, about their life and learn details about your shared ancestors.

Visiting an ancestor’s home. Census and other research often yields addresses of houses where ancestors’ once lived — and it’s sometimes possible to find images of these homes online. But seeing the residence in person during a genealogy road trip will leave a lasting impression of the neighborhood where your ancestors lived — something documents and images can never fully convey.

Local research venues. Sometimes locating and copying vital records for an ancestor could be the main event — especially if the records are not available elsewhere. Other times, visiting an ancestor’s house of worship and obtaining those local records may take priority.

Each trip will be different. But focusing on a main event — something that can only be happen at your destination — will help you achieve one primary goal on your genealogy road trip.

Thoughts? Please leave a comment.

Then stop back tomorrow for Tip 12: Scenic side trips.

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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