So how does one prepare for research in Europe, whether you are going for a brief trip or have the distinct pleasure of being able to actually live in the country?
I would venture to guess that there are differences in how one would prepare. If you are limited to a 2-4 week visit, naturally your goals are going to be more specific and concentrated in a certain area. However, since I am going to be living in Great Britain for the next 3 years, here is how I am plotting out my research:
1. Creating a British genealogical to-do list. I am going through each of my family lines and using the To-Do feature in Legacy. Any family line for which my immigrant ancestor comes from England, and for which I have a specific place in which to concentrate my research, is entered on the list, i.e.:
"North Yarmouth, Norfolk, England - Palgrave family research"
If I have a specific name or goal I want to list, I record that as well, such as "Search for baptism of Anna Palgrave, 29 Oct 1626, and her family".
2. Plotting out my travels. Once I have created this list, I can look at where I will be living (in the Bury St. Edmund area, from which a few of my ancestors originated!), and start plotting out a logical way to travel to each locality for my research. I might consider going to the furthest places first, and working my way closer to home. Or perhaps I will concentrate on Suffolk County, England, before striking out further.
Of course I will plan to do as much research as possible in any given area. For example, if many of my ancestors come from the same county, I will plan for more time there.
3. Creating a greater European genealogical to-do list. I certainly won't miss out on the opportunity to visit Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Italy, just to name a few priorities. If I can fit in time in Germany and France (on behalf of my husband and ex-husband), that would be great!
This is the first logical step in a process that is completely - excuse the pun - foreign to me. I look forward to sharing my British adventures in genealogy over the next three years, starting this spring!
Now, the next step will be to master driving the Rover 400 my husband bought for me yesterday. Don't be surprised if you see on the news that some ignorant American was stuck in a roundabout in front of Big Ben and Parliament, after commenting that she was not only driving on the wrong side of the road, but also on the wrong side of the car. ;)
Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan