Category Archives: Genealogy Road Trip Tips

Genealogy Road Trip Tip 22: Duplicate your recordings

Tip 22: Duplicate your recordings. Part of “Genealogy Road Trip Tips: Take Your Loved Ones With You” — 30 posts in 30 days for NaBloPoMo 2016.

If you used video or audio on your Genealogy Road Trip to record oral history interviews — or other aspects of the journey — you should duplicate these after you return and save the uncut version in several places.

Duplicate your recordings when you get back home. Voice recordings and video images from your genealogy road trip are among the irreplaceable genealogy gems you will bring home with you — so take a few steps to safeguard these audio-visual treasures for years to come. By: Karl Baron

Voice recordings or video images of your loved ones and/or their friends, neighbors and associates — along with videos of the area where they lived — are among the irreplaceable genealogy gems you will bring back home with you.

So take a few steps to safeguard these audio-visual treasures for years to come.

Save the recordings on your computer. If you did not do this during your trip, then first thing on your return upload your videos and audio recordings to your computer. Most digital recording devices make this easy — just check the directions that came with your equipment, or do an online search for a step-by-step guide.

Duplicate, duplicate, duplicate! As with your photos, the next step is to duplicate your recordings in multiple places — on an external hard drive at home, another external hard drive that you keep off-site (such as with a friend, family member or at work) and in a cloud storage solution like Dropbox. Having duplicate copies is your insurance in case  your computer or external hard drive is irreparably damaged.

Edit copies, not originals. If you plan to edit your audio or video recordings later, be sure to label the original version and its duplicates as “uncut” so they remain untouched. Then do a “save as” and work from a copy when you edit. That way, if something goes wrong or gets erased during the editing process, you will still have your original, uncut recording to return to.

Stay on top of changing technology. Even if you do a great job of saving and duplicating your recordings right after your trip, digital media changes over time and you may have to redo the process in the years ahead.

Some of my first oral history interviews were done on cassette tapes — which I dutifully duplicated, storing copies off-site. Yet I had to convert these later to digital format to keep pace with changing technology.

Who knows what might replace the digital formats we use today? Your best bet is to stay on top of technological changes and convert your precious recordings to the new technology when the need arises.

Other ideas or suggestions? Please leave them in the comments section.

Up next: Tip 23: File your findings. Please stop back.

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Genealogy Road Trip Tip 21: Type up your notes

Tip 21: Type up your notes. Part of “Genealogy Road Trip Tips: Take Your Loved Ones With You” — 30 posts in 30 days for NaBloPoMo 2016.

The best thing I did as a novice genealogist was to sit down and type up a report after each Genealogy Road Trip I took — and I am grateful every time I refer back to those early reports.

Notes. You may have taken all sorts of written and digital notes during your genealogy road trip. Gather these together into a written report of your trip that you can refer back to in years to come. By: Philip Porter

I never would have remembered every place my travel partner and I visited on our trip — nor all the family history research information we discovered — if I had not immediately sat down and typed it all up on my return.

If you are anything like me, you may jot down notes all over the place — in your trip notebook, on scraps of paper at a library or other repository, on the backs of printouts you brought with you, and on napkins or coasters in a local restaurant.

Your digital notes might also be disorganized from entering them on the fly at a genealogy road trip destination — some in your phone, some on your handheld device, some on your laptop, some saved in the cloud/some not.

As soon as you can after you get back — while your memories are still fresh — organize your trip notes into a written report and (as with your photos) save it in several locations.

Here are a few things to include:

Dates and destination. At the top of your report, put the day, month and year of your genealogy road trip and the destination. On multi-day trips, or trips with multiple destinations, you may want to do a separate report for each venue or person you visit (such as Library, Historical Society, Family Member, etc.).

Researchers’ names. Put your name and the name of your travel partner below the date and destination. This may seem obvious to you now, but at some point you may pass along your research materials to future generations or to a repository, and this will let future researchers know who took part in this genealogy road trip.

Results. Summarize all the steps you took at each venue and anything of family history interest you and your travel partner found. You can organize this by category. For example, if you visited a library, your categories might include City Directories, Census,  Library Family Files, Library Obituary Index, County History, etc. — with a narrative below each heading describing your discoveries.

Prepared-by section. At the end of the report, add a “Prepared by:” section and put your name, your contact information and the date you prepared the report. This will help researchers contact you in the event you share this report with a repository and will also provide a record for posterity.

Attachments. Attach your original notes to your report. That way, if questions arise or you think you may have transcribed something incorrectly, you can refer back to your originals. List these attachments in the report.

Print a copy on acid-free archival paper. In addition to saving the report digitally, print out at least one copy on acid-free archival paper, attach your notes and file it in your location files. I also file a working copy for easy reference in the folders of families that were researched on the trip.

Now that you’ve completed and saved your report, it’s time to consolidate what you learned on your genealogy road trip and add the information to your existing family history records.

Up next, Tip 22: Duplicate your recordings. Please stop back.

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Genealogy Road Trip Tip 20: Back up and share your photos

Tip 20: Back up and share your photos. Part of “Genealogy Road Trip Tips: Take Your Loved Ones With You” — 30 posts in 30 days for NaBloPoMo 2016.

You and your travel partner had a great time — and now you’re back from your Genealogy Road Trip. Time to set everything aside and return to your day-to-day routine, right? Well, not exactly.

Back up and share your photos. Saving your photos in multiple locations safeguards against loss, and sharing images with your travel partner deepens the bond created on your trip. By: Sebastien Wiertz

To make most of the family history information you gathered on your trip, you should take a few steps as soon as you get back to prepare and store everything for future reference.

You also want to be sure that your travel partner has any materials they want from the trip. So first up: back up and share your images.

Back up your photos. Whether you took photos with a phone, a handheld device or a digital camera, back up your photos as soon as you return from your Genealogy Road Trip.

And back them up in more than one place — on your computer’s hard drive, an external hard drive, an off-site hard drive and/or in a cloud service such as Dropbox. You’ve gone to a lot of trouble to get these family history photos, and multiple backups will assure you don’t lose them.

The same is true for images of any documents you scanned on the road. Back these up as well in multiple places — and print out any crucial documents for your paper files.

Share your photos. Your travel partner probably also took photos, and may want to see yours, so share any images of mutual interest soon after you get back. This not only provides another safeguard against loss, but also deepens the bonds created on your trip.

On a family history road trip with my brother Mark, we went straight to a photo processing place on the way home and duplicated everything — his idea and a good one, because the sharing was all done when we parted ways. My friend Jane and I did the same thing  when we got back — one less loose end to tie up at the conclusion of our road trip together.

What’s next? Tip 21: Write up your notes. Please stop back.

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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