A Guest Submitter who is a "Seasoned Genealogist" shares her genealogy travels and experiences.
"The Genealogy Trip That Wasn't"
Guest Submitter: Genetripqueen
I began doing genealogy in December of 1998, planning, naively, to visit my ancestral homeland during my upcoming trip to Ireland in the summer of 1999. I had little to go on except the names of my Great-Great Grandparents and that they were from County Tyrone.
Sadly, I did not find out enough about them in the six months before my trip to “walk where they had walked”, nor have I found that information since. My frustration with that search, though, didn’t deter me; it simply sent me in new directions.
I had started out doing research the old fashioned way, using Soundex and printed indexes for census records, and borrowing census microfilm under Interlibrary Loan (ILL). This was long before the age of computers and the instant gratification that is now common. I sat in front of a microfilm reader at the library, for hours and days, paging through census records. I became hooked on genealogy as I found that the town in Iowa where my Grandmother was born was filled with names I recognized, mysteries and revelations. That winter, I paid attention to librarians, volunteers and fellow researchers, and began learning research techniques by trial and error. I was soon spending my lunch hours at the local Family History Center. Thus began my obsession.
Over the years, I have pieced together most of my family history. I have had my share of successes and continue to have my brick walls. I have learned many lessons in my research. It is my hope that by telling of my genealogy trip experiences; sharing ideas and tips I uncovered along the way, I can help those who are just beginning genealogy to avoid some early pitfalls. Since my research now spans 12 ½ years, my experiences may also hold wisdom for those with expertise of their own.
To clarify, the trip to Ireland in June of 1999 did happen, and was fabulous for many reasons. I do not consider that to have been a genealogy trip, however. While I was able to spend some time in County Tyrone and to explore the Ulster American Folk Park, the focus was not research. I hope to go back someday in search of my Irish roots, on a trip devoted to research.
The Ulster American Folk Park is an open-air museum in Castletown, just outside Omagh in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. The Park explores the historical link between Ulster and America, focusing particularly on the lifestyle and experiences of those immigrants who sailed from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
I became hooked on genealogy research trips, though, in July of 2000. I went on my first research trip to the town of my grandmother’s birth, the burial place of her Grandparents as well as several other sites. It was great fun. There is nothing quite like the awe of finding an original document or standing on ancestral land. There have been many trips since, and my next several trips are perpetually in the planning stages. Stay tuned as I recount my adventures. They are filled with frustrations, triumphs, rookie mistakes, fascinating places and wonderful characters. You’ll soon see why small town America has become my favorite destinations.