October is Family History Month, and with it there’s ample opportunity to dig deeper into your family roots. An estimated 80 million Americans are following that interest, making genealogy one of the most popular hobbies in America. For travelers, a focus on genealogy can also translate into a deeper travel experience — check out these tips from genealogist D. Joshua Taylor of FindMyPast.com for uncovering your family history while traveling:
• Contact the local genealogical society in advance of your visit, they might have evening hours or be willing to open their doors for you to help with your research. Local volunteers often know cemeteries, historic sites and other key areas.
• Use old city directories at the public library to find the address where your relatives might have lived. Go visit (but be sure to check older maps in case street names have changed).
• Search for local newspaper indexes – or the newspapers themselves – at local libraries.
• Take some crayons and large paper along to make rubbings from gravestones. Preserving symbols and inscriptions can be a wonderful “keepsake” when you return home.
• When visiting capital cities, visit the state archives or historical society to conduct research. Always, always, always check the family files at local archives and societies. They often contain one-of-a-kind resources not found online.
• It never hurts to schedule a few moments with distant relatives – who knows what letters or diaries they might have!
• Keep coins nearby – many local libraries and other repositories require payment for copies in change.