Tips from the Pros: Never Been There Before? Give Yourself a Tour

from Paula Stuart Warren, CG

Never been to a research place before? Did you check for a website to learn where to park, see if the catalog or other finding aids are online, or learn if there are tours or classes about using that facility? On location, look for signs about tours, classes, or a video. At the very least, give yourself a tour.

As I write this, I am sitting in the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I haven’t been here since last September. A self-tour was top on my list of tasks for the day. I wanted to refresh my memory about where specific things were located. Next on my list was browsing the labels on the microfilm cabinets; I found a collection I didn’t know was here.

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One thought on “Tips from the Pros: Never Been There Before? Give Yourself a Tour

  1. Good point, Paula!

    I have made several research trips to areas where our families settled, and always try to get a “feel of the land” before I set out. One of the things I do that I find most helpful is to contact the CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) to get a detailed street map, and lists of decent lodgings and good places to eat (this works really well for smaller cities that aren’t normally carried at the bookstore or AAA store). I”ve done this with areas like Beloit, Janesville and Wausau, Wisconsin; Ithaca, NY; and Rockford, Illinois.

    I can then use the street map to try to locate houses where the family lived and take photographs. Cemeteries are usually shown on the maps as well.

    Laini Giles
    Milwaukee, WI

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