Genealogy Road Trip Tip 4: Call ahead

Tip 4: Call ahead. Part of “Genealogy Road Trip Tips: Take Your Loved Ones With You” — 30 posts in 30 days for NaBloPoMo 2016.

Once you and your travel partner(s) have set the date and destination for your genealogy road trip, it’s time to call ahead and let folks know you are coming.

Land line phone keypad. Establishing person-to-person contact by calling ahead can open doors at your genealogy road trip destination and set a positive tone for your visit. By: Andrew Malone

This may seem like an old school tip when so many interactions today are through social media , text and email — but there is still nothing like person-to-person contact to set a positive tone for your visit and open doors when you arrive at your destination.

Calling ahead is a great way of introducing yourself to those who may be able to help you with research and logistics during your family history trip.

Contact research repositories

First on your list to call should be offices, archives and other repositories you plan to visit at your destination. Check their hours of operation and procedures online — then make a quick call to double check that they will be open during your trip.

While you’re on the phone, ask if there is a librarian, archivist or office staff you should ask for when you arrive — they may even come to the phone. This gives you a chance to introduce yourself and let them know when you will be in their area.

Reach out to relatives and neighbors

You and your travel partner(s) may also want to reach out to any relatives who live at or near your destination. Do you want to do an oral history interview with an elderly relative? Might some of your extended family have documents, photographs or stories they would be willing to share with you? Calling ahead gives them time to be prepared — and to locate precious family history items.

And don’t forget about the neighbors. My oldest brother and I went on a family history road trip to visit our childhood home, which had been damaged by flood waters and was scheduled to be torn down. We called ahead and arranged to meet some of our former neighbors — children we had grown up with who were now adults like us, along with a couple of their moms — and had a wonderful time sharing stories and touring around our old block together.

Take your list with you

Above all, keep track of your calls — and be sure to pack your phone list and any notes when you gather materials for your genealogy road trip. You and your travel partner(s) will want to have ready access to the information at your destination.

Please stop back tomorrow for Tip 5: Make a plan

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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