Summer Genealogy Research Trip Anyone?


I don’t know about you but the best kind of summer holiday is a holiday that is either a genealogy research trip or at least a trip that expands your family history. But before you hit the road there are a few things that should be done to ensure that your trip will be as successful as it can be.

Accommodation and Transport

  1.  Book accommodations either at a central location or near that one special location where you’ll spend the bulk of your time. When booking your accommodations be sure to consider how you’ll be getting around. Are you driving your own car or is there easy access by buses, light transit or is Uber available?
  2. If you will be using a bus or light transit find out how you pay. Can you purchase a pass, card or will you require change?
  3. If are driving your own car be sure to have change available for any tolls.
  4. If you’re staying with family you may want to bring them a gift. It doesn’t have to be huge; maybe an assortment of family photos that they don’t have.

The Research

  1. Identify all the possible locations you will be able to research at; such as libraries, archives, and historical societies. A simple Google search should help.
  2. Check each of the locations in advance to see what records will be available. Find out if you have to pre-order anything and what the hours of operation are. Don’t get there only to find out that you needed to request material weeks in advance.
  3. Make a list of the things you want to look at.
  4. I like to use a program called Scrapple to keep everything organized. Scrapple is a mind mapping software that you can use to plan the locations you want to go to and what you hope to find there.
  5. Or create a research plan of your goals but don’t make your schedule so tight that you don’t have time should you come across something that needs to be followed up on.

Tools for the Trip

  1. Flip-Pal® I never leave home without my Flip-Pal. You never know when you’ll have an opportunity to scan a family photo or just take it along to the local library.
  2. RESTORE I’m not sure if you’ll need it for your trip but you’ll want to have RESTORE to perk up some of those family photos when you get home. Not sure if RESTORE will do the job? Then try it for 10 photos absolutely free. All you have to do is use this link and you can fix 10 photos before you have to purchase your own copy. To try it out click HERE or if you want to purchase it you can find it at Shop the Hound.
  3. Zcan+  I don’t use my Zcan+ every day but I use so often for that quick scan that I need. I don’t have to get caught up with scanning the entire document. I can scan just a few lines that I might need and with OCR I can scan anything text and it recognizes it in 199 languages.
  4. Rocket book – my rocket book is a great tool.  You can write your notes and then easily move them into your Google Drive, Dropbox or Evernote account just by taking a photo of the page in your book. They are reusable just by putting them in the microwave. Yes, that’s right; the microwave.
  5. Powerbank – I don’t know about you but my phone always picks the most terrible time to die. But I never worry anymore because I have a power bank in my purse now.
  6. DNA kits – If you’re going to be going to a family reunion or even if you may just stop in at an extended family member’s house on vacation, you might want to consider taking a DNA kit. Don’t miss the opportunity to offer a DNA kit when they ask you to explain DNA to them. If you only can choose one then I would suggest an AncestryDNA kit. Why, because once the results are available you can transfer the raw data to so many of the other companies. But what I do is when each of the companies has sales I take advantage of the special price so I have a drawer of all the DNA kits. AncestryDNA (Canada)pssst.. there is a Canada Day sale this weekend, AncestryDNA (US) watch for a 4th of July Sale (I’ll tell you on our Facebook page), MyHeritage, 23andMe, Living DNA and Family Tree DNA. Family Tree DNA is also the only place you can buy a Y-DNA kit. So if that family member is key on your male line you’ll want to get at least a  37 Marker kit.  
  7. Don’t forget a magnifier for those hard to read documents.
  8. Camera or cell phone to take those special photos.

Once you have a plan and get yourself packed then all you have to do is head out and have fun.



  • Mimi Miller says:

    Thanks for the ideas. I am taking a trip across the state to research my maternal great grandparents who migrated there from Ontario/Michigan. I would like to add one more tip which has been extremely helpful for me. I joined the genealogical society in that area and a woman there has pre-researched for me, gave me hints on all to go and even sent me some free passes for,the local museum. What a gem these ladies are. And yes, I joined their local group.