Whirlwind family history information seeking trip

The best way to describe the last several weeks of my life is definitely “whirlwind.” A rush of work projects and out-of-town travel have been keeping me very busy and away from documenting what family history and genealogy research I’ve managed to do in between. Part of my travels took me to one of only two ancestral hotspots in the United States: Detroit, Michigan.

DETROIT clipped from 1937 phone book title

I’d originally planned to do a lot of genealogical research into my recent trip to the area but ended up doing far less than I’d hoped. Part of it was due to time constraints (how dare my still-living relatives want to spend time with me! and how dare my body demand sleep!) and part of it was due to insufficient planning. The initial prep work I did a couple months ago ended up being all that I had to rely on. Luckily, I was organized well enough during that time to garner some very worthwhile discoveries in Detroit. I was even able to enlist the assistance of some still-living relatives which made my adventures less solitary than I was expecting. Though reluctant at first, I think they enjoyed coming along!

In retrospect, my initial research goals were way too optimistic for that specific trip.  Blogging while traveling also takes time… precious time that I instead used to be with family and/or work remotely to maintain an income (darn those real life responsibilities). Of course now, before I can start blogging about my trip, I have to sort through my notes and photographs to straighten out what I’ve learned. And I definitely learned a ton.

The moral of this story is to plan a genealogy research trip WELL in advance. Create and maintain a long list of research goals and figure out what information can only be gained by visiting a specific location. That’s the only way to prioritize and not be overwhelmed. Keeping it up to date will help when travel dates sneak up on you. I sure hope I remember to take my own advice before I take my next trip!

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