Thursday, October 29, 2009

CVGS Program on "Genealogy Vacations"

Some guy named Randy Seaver presented "Genealogy Vacations" to 30 attendees at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society meeting on Wednesday. The talk started with a review of what a National Lampoon's Genealogy Vacation movie might look like - the Griswolds take off for Salt Lake City with the kids and grandma, but not her dog. Mr. G. finds generations of ancestors at the Family History Library, and the rest of the family is really bored at the motel ... but Mr. G. insists on a side trip to Phoenix AZ where grandma keels over and dies when Mr. G. discovers, and then tells her, that her mother was they bury grandma right there in Phoenix. Mrs. G. runs off with the solemnly dapper funeral home director, the kids take off for a bus tour to Disneyland, and Mr. G. spends extra days at the state archives.

And can't you just hear the complaint from the bored teenager - "We spent two days in Phoenix and all I got was this lousy gravestone rubbing - not even a T-shirt."

Randy's program was really in two parts - first, how to succeed in taking genealogy vacations - where and when to go, what to do when you get there, be sure to check repository hours and access rules, figure out what unique resources they may have, etc. Family reunions and special family history trips were addressed, as were technology tools and using the Internet to plan the ideal genealogy vacation.

The second part was pretty much a travelogue from Randy and Linda vacations taken in 1990 to New England, 1993 to England, 1999 to Scandinavia, 2004 to the northeast, 2008 to New York and the TMG cruise, and 2009 to the FGS Conference in Little Rock while visiting friends. He used lots of pictures, itinerary maps, and told many genealogy research stories - most of them with a lesson learned.

The takeaways from the talk include:

* Blend family visits and tourism with genealogy research to keep everybody happy.

* Try to meet as many family members as possible - share information with them, see their pictures and hear their stories.

* Enjoy the historical places, and learn the local history and customs.

* Search for unique records at every repository you can find, because that may be the only place they are located.

* Leave time in the schedule for opportunity to knock and be taken advantage of - find the distant ocusins, go to the cemeteries, research that elusive ancestor, browse the stacks.

* Technology will fail - have backups, chargers and cables.

* Good luck in genealogy research is often the residue of plans made and opportunities taken.

1 comment:

Kathryn Doyle said...

I've heard of that guy - Randy Seaver. Sounds like he gave a great talk! Wish I could have been there. Didn't you take a photo together?