There’s been lots of discussion about genea-cruising lately in GeniAus’s great hangouts. In all of our
angst thinking about packing and gadding around while on board a cruise, have we not placed enough emphasis on what we might do with our spare time when not absorbed in conferencing or chattering networking with our genimates?
So a few reminders of things you might want to keep in mind while on your genea-journey. It doesn’t matter whether you’re cruising, travelling overseas, or doing an interstate trip. These are some of the things I’ve experienced while researching here, there and “everywhere”.
Are you going to visit a library or archive in one of the ports/cities?
Have you checked what you need to take you?
Do you need a passport photo, for example? I found out yesterday that you do need one to use the History Centre in the Tasmanian Archives. I got caught out in Edinburgh on my last trip and wasted time toddling off to the photo centre nearby for my pics. Actually I think Jackie is correct and I’ve misinterpreted what the archivist said “photographic ID and also something with your current address – drivers license is good” – I saw them as two different things but seems likely they’re not.
Maybe there’s a sign-up form you can fill out before you get there. I sometimes use that jetlag arrival time to sign up for membership and get my bearings. I’m then good to go the next day.
Check out the Catalogue
When I’m organised (which isn’t on every trip!) I try to have a running file of research activities, or specific mysteries I’d like to resolve using particular records. It makes it easier to maximise your effort, so if you’re waiting for document delivery you can skip through a microfilm which are usually accessible.
Archive catalogues can be somewhat opaque, but somewhere on their website there should be guides to their most-used resources, and they’re well worth reading, before, during, and after your visit.
I love having my family stories and information on the computer so everything I have is with me. But sometimes for all the joys of technology it’s easier to have this (or part of it) in hard copy while you’re in the archive. You can always tear it up and throw it away if your packing gets too heavy.
This was something that had dropped off my radar as it’s a while since I’ve needed to do it. Not all documents in archives or reference libraries are held on site. If it takes a day or two (or even an hour or two) this can really put the kybosh on your research plans…I’ve been caught out not planning when visiting John Oxley library, for example.
Yesterday I spoke to the Tasmanian Archives people via online chat and was reminded to do this. I’ve ordered up a swag of stuff in the hope of any tiny clue about my Florentia ambiguity.
Check which repositories are open when, as well as where they are, how to get there, and phone/email contact details. Plan your research around that to maximise your time. I put all that in a document and discard it when we move on to the next place.
Libraries often stay open later than archives, even if it’s not the reference section, so you can fit a little more sleuthing in there after business hours. Check out the university libraries as well as they often have great books, newspapers and journals which are very useful – and they’re usually open later. You might be surprised by what records have been deposited with them. For example in Glasgow I visited the university library to look at a shipping company’s records – I didn’t find what I was hoping for, but at least I eliminated one possibility.
If you’re planning on visiting any genealogy societies, don’t forget to take your home-state card with you as they may have reciprocal rights.
Clothes and Shoes
Good shoes for cemeteries are a must and after tearing one pair of trousers on a cemetery fence in Ireland I won’t travel with only one spare pair of trousers.
No doubt there’s something I’ve forgotten but these are the tips that have helped me in my genea-journeys over the years. I’m lucky on this cruise as, apart from Hobart and Sydney post-cruise, I have no pressing need to do research. I’m going to have fun hanging out with “old” mates and meeting a new cousin.
Credits: GeniAus has invented so many great genea-words for us to describe what we do. Not to mention all the hangouts that she’s introduced us to. Thanks Jill!