Genealogy Road Trip Tip 5: Make a plan

Tip 5: Make a plan. Part of “Genealogy Road Trip Tips: Take Your Loved Ones With You” — 30 posts in 30 days for NaBloPoMo 2016.

By now, your genealogy road trip should be shaping up nicely — you have a destination in mind, hopefully a travel partner has agreed to go along, you’ve set the dates and called ahead to let folks know you’re coming. Well done!

By: Oliver Tacke
Get out the checklist. A written plan that lists family history goals, schedules adequate research time and includes leisure activities will help focus your genealogy road trip. By: Oliver Tacke

Now it’s time to make a plan that outlines what you and your travel partner want to accomplish on this genealogy road trip — and a day-by-day schedule of what you both will be doing at the destination.

And by a plan, I mean a written plan, on paper or electronic media — with dates, times addresses, places to go, people to see and family history goals to achieve.

A genealogy road trip guide

Think of this plan as your own personal genealogy road trip guide — featuring all the people and locations you want to visit with a sketched out schedule for each day of your trip. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Set goals for the trip. Do you want to locate a probate or land record for an ancestor? Find records from a house of worship? Learn more about a local business where an ancestor worked? See the houses where family members once lived?  Visit an ancestral cemetery? Your goals will help focus your travel plan.

Factor in extra research time. No matter how efficient you are, genealogy research always seems to take more time than you think it will. So if you plan to visit repositories at your destination, add a bit more research time than you anticipate you’ll need so you don’t get caught short.

Get input from your travel partner. You and your travel partner may want to do many activities together, especially if you share ancestors — but allow time for individual pursuits, too. I once traveled to Montréal with a ski-buff friend; while I was at the archive researching my ancestors, she drove north to check out the ski spots. At the end of the day we both had stories to tell — and it added to the ambiance of the trip.

Take in the sights. One of the joys of a family history road trip is to fully experience a destination where your ancestors once lived — including the natural surroundings. So allow some time to take in the sights and talk to the locals to get a sense of how the area may have influenced your family’s history.

Can you think of other items to include in a genealogy road trip plan? Please share them in the comment section!

Tomorrow we load the carry-on with Tip 6: Pack your research materials. Please stop back.

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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