Kentucky Genealogy and History

Nine Delicious Tips for Your Genealogy Research While on Vacation

suitcase packed

In the Summer of 1982, Bluegrass Roots newsletter featured these tips for family researchers who were using their vacation to find family history. 

It has been rightly said that vacations are the one time when we researchers are likely to have more money than time. Now, it is more essential than ever to know just what we are searching for, the place the information is likely to be found, and the times that facilities will be open for research. With this in mind, we offer some suggestions and tips.

Tip 1: Plan Your Research

There’s nothing wrong with following will-o-the-wisp clues that arise unexpectedly, but time can be spent most efficiently with a plan.

Tip 2: Prepare Worksheets

What do you know? What do you need to find out? Where are the records most likely to be? Be sure that you are headed for the right courthouse. Boundaries changed many times in the nineteenth century. Some counties split, with records in the surrogate's office in one town and in the county clerk’s office in another town.

Tip 3: Check Courthouse Hours

Many county offices and courthouses have summer hours. We recommend calling ahead to check the hours of the office where you will be working.

Tip 4: A Good Map Helps 

Most county highway departments, or Public Works Departments can supply good maps showing roads, waterways, railroads; and maps available from U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, D.C. 20035, and sometimes from local bookstores, are more detailed. They even include cemetery locations.

Tip 5: Check the State Library and State Archives

Many times the manuscript division and the local history and genealogical departments are located here. Check ahead of time to determine what is housed in these facilities.

Tip 6: Visit Large Libraries In The Area

Most public libraries in large towns and cities in the area have a local history and/or genealogical department. Also college and university libraries may contain valuable information for the family historian or genealogist.

Tip 7: Double-Check the Historical Association In The Area

Some historical associations contain extensive collections which are of much interest to genealogists, especially Information relating to the history and development of that area as well as files on various families who have lived there.

Tip 8: Review What Information You Already Have And What You Need To Know

Complete pedigree charts as well as family group sheets. Get a supply of Will and Deed abstract blanks. This will make it easier to summarize the data you find on various individuals you are researching.

Tip 9: Pack A Cemetery Hunting Kit

Know how to search the cemetery where your people are buried. Take supplies to make lettering legible. Consider if you need bug repellent and sunscreen. Also take a tool for digging dirt and grass away from buried tombstones.