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Preparation for My Next Research Trip

Both my Reed and Riddle ancestors lived in the Midwestern states during the 19th century. I have an upcoming trip to tour Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan to visit their locations and do some research in regional repositories. Preparing for a trip of this scale takes some preparation.

We are doing several things to get ready:

  1. I gave my husband/tech advisor a list of towns, farm locations, and research stops. He plotted out a route and schedule, taking into account the days and times various places will be open.
  2. I reviewed the online catalogs for the two libraries I want to visit. We will spend two days at the Allen County library in Ft. Wayne, IN and one day at the library in Akron, OH. I made a list of sources to see at each one. Doing this in advance will allow us to use the precious library time pulling materials and doing research instead of paging through a catalog.
  3. I prepared a timeline for each ancestor I plan to investigate. This lets us see at a glance what information is missing for that person.
  4. I formulated a list of focused research questions for these ancestors. We will focus our research on searching for clues to answer these questions. For example, who were the parents of John Davis Riddle (1821-1896)? Did Daniel Sherman (abt. 1800-aft. 1863) die in Indiana? Illinois? When?
  5. I placed these reference materials in folders, one for each research stop.

With so much information online these days, I already have a lot of information for all but brick wall ancestors. They will be the focus of research on this trip. I may not come home with any new information. These ancestors have been pesky about revealing their secrets so far.

Still, as one seasoned genealogist liked to say, “Until you look, you don’t know what you will find”. We are taking off to do some looking.

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