By Shannon Combs-Bennett, Student
When I started out on this genealogy path I thought I had a pretty good grasp of what it took to visit a research facility. Boy, was I wrong! True, I knew how to use most search features on the computer, plus a card catalog, but there was so much more to a trip than I realized. I wish I knew about the course Planning a Research Trip Including Preparing for Salt Lake City before I took my first major research trip.
That is not to say that if you think you are an old hat at research this course won’t be useful. Far from it. I am sure this blog post will prove to you that there is something for everyone in this course.
My first big research trip (away from home) was to the Allen County Library in Ft. Wayne, which was also at the same time as the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference that year. I was making it a comprehensive trip, since I am from Indiana, which meant that not only did I visit large and small repositories, family members, and dozens of cemeteries. It was a great time, but it could have gone so much better. How do I know? Well, I am still working on processing the data from that trip since I saved information in so many different ways and places.
The first two modules of this course were fantastic in walking you through what to expect, how to prepare, and what to do when you get home from your trip. All those things I didn’t really take time to think about before my first trip. Like how to transport my research home safe and sound.
For my trip I was lucky enough to be able to stay with family. Many people when they take a research trip will not be so lucky. It was a nice touch that our instructors talked about how to learn more on where to find good lodging, navigating a new place, and other details that may normally fall through the cracks.
When I travel it is usually with my family and I try to do activities outside of research with them as well. However, one tip from the course that I thought important was to consider attending a local genealogical or historical society meeting. There you might meet someone who is familiar with where, or even who, you are researching. Those types of networking opportunities are wonderful, and I encourage you to take advantage of them.
I’m looking forward to what more I can learn from Planning a Research Trip Including Preparing for Salt Lake City.
See you online!