Throughout November 2016, if all goes well, Molly’s Canopy will feature 30 posts in 30 days on how to plan, embark on and reap the rewards of a family history research trip to an ancestral location — and how to entice your loved ones to join you on the genealogy journey.
But isn’t everything online now?
“Road trip?” you may ask. “Isn’t everything online now?” Well, actually, no.
Despite the regular digitizing and indexing of records — from military, census and land records to older probate records and obituaries — the majority of family history documents still exist in paper form, and often at the location where they were generated.
Of course, there are many ways to access them. Copies of records can sometimes be ordered through archives and other repositories. A local genealogy society may have volunteers willing to do look-ups. Or a professional genealogist can be hired to conduct research on your behalf at the locality.
Yet there are intangibles beyond the records that only a genealogy road trip can deliver — including the joy of sharing your heritage quest with friends and family members who come along for the ride.
The road trip experience
If your ancestor’s home is still standing, wouldn’t you love to see it? How would it feel to sit in your ancestor’s house of worship? Or at a desk in the school your ancestor attended? What about hearing the water cascade over the falls near their ancestral home, which formed a natural backdrop to their lives?
This blog was launched during a 2014 road trip with my friend Jane Latour to U.S. Civil War reenactments of battles my Union Army ancestor fought in — which I had long studied. But no amount of research and reading could fully capture the sounds of battle or the drifting gun smoke that clung to our clothes long after the fighting ended — shared experiences she and I still treasure.
You just had to be there.
And you can get there, too, with Genealogy Road Trip Tips: Take Your Loved Ones With You — 30 posts in 30 days for National Blog Posting Month during November 2016.
Please join me tomorrow for Tip 1: Pick your destination.
© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.