My research trip preparation

Preparing for a genealogy research tripI leave today for my research trip to the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri. It’s about 3.5 hours from my home in St. Louis. I am really excited!

When I initially decided to take this trip, I felt a little anxious. I didn’t know what I would research and I knew that without a plan, I’d feel overwhelmed and incompetent the minute I walked in the door. Then I’d berate myself for not making the best use of my research time. And I’d wonder whether I could have done more.

So you know what I did to counteract that? I actually created a plan! I spent a good amount of time this weekend going through the holdings of the library online and checking my family tree to see what documents I needed. It was loads of fun to discover what I need when I have the potential to get the actual information.

Is started with a simple Pages document (Pages is the Mac’s version of Word) where I just kept a running list of what I might find and where. Then yesterday I created a Numbers document (you guessed it, Numbers is the Mac equivalent of Excel), sorted by family branch, of the info I need and where I might find it.

Because of other obligations today, I won’t get to Independence until late afternoon. The library is open until 9. My plan is to check into my hotel, grab something to eat, then go to the library to get the lay of the land and plan my day tomorrow. I’ll have a full day there tomorrow and will be able to go back to research in the morning and early afternoon on Wednesday.

I’m meeting my friend and fellow researcher, Lori Krause, whom I met at RootsTech (thanks to this blog) for some research and dinner tomorrow. Life is good!

Next week, I’ll post the list of items I brought and let you know whether I used them and what items I wished I’d brought.


  1. Have a great trip! I find that taking the time to get familiar with the catalogues, etc. before a library or archives visit is always worth it, as is preparing my research plan.

  2. Vickie Sheridan says:

    I’ll be anxious to hear how your trip went. Since I’m in St. Charles it is definitely an easy trip. I am interested to know if you find info there that you were unable to find on Ancestry or other online sources or even at local library sources . Have a great trip!

    • Thanks, Vickie! I’ll definitely do a post-mortem post on this trip. When I was researching the holdings of the library, I noticed that they mentioned when a resource was also available on Ancestry or elsewhere on the internet. So I focused on the resources that aren’t also available online.

  3. I love reading your blog and the journey you go on with it! I look forward to hearing how you get on. How did you go about with your plan for your trip? I need to do some planning for trips to the local family history library as at the moment I am failing when I get there with my research!

    • Thanks for your comment, Marion. I’m trying to get out the door now, but I’ll try to create a post detailing what I did to plan for the research trip. I want to explore the family history library here in St. Louis, so I’ll think about preparing for that (and writing about it.)

Leave a Reply