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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, October 22, 2012
Photos and Family History Vacations
Posted by Maureen

Last weekend I spoke at a meeting of the Genealogical Research Institute of Virginia (GRIVA). My last lecture of the day covered family history vacations and discussed ways to use photos of homes, cemteries and other places to create an itinerary. I talked about visiting old family homes in person and virtually (using Google Earth).

I also mentioned what to do with those vacation photos afterwards. I suggested posting them on sites like and

Then I turned the meeting into a forum and let folks share their family history vacation tips. They asked if I would share their suggestions with the readers of this blog and I said YES! So if you're planning a family heritage tour, here are a few things they recommended.
  • Don't forget to visit the courthouse. One woman stressed the importance of looking for legal documents.

  • If you know the name of the cemetery where your ancestors are buried, but you can't find it, try calling the local funeral homes. A man said that a quick phone call helped him find the cemetery.

  • Take pictures of gravestones in the vicinity of your ancestors' monuments. Those folks might be relatives and you don't know it yet.

  • If your ancestors lived along a waterway, try consulting old nautical maps. They often show docks and can help you pinpoint a residence.

  • Look at church windows. Your ancestor may have paid for a memorial window.

  • Call the local public library to see if they have a history/genealogy collection. Verify the hours, too—websites don't always have up-to-date information.

The GRIVA attendees also shared some general travel tips:

  • One woman loves to take Grayline tours of a city to orient herself.

  • If you go to Europe, take a small suitcase. Larger cases are too much work to lug around.

  • Another woman says she travels with old clothes and shoes. At the end of the trip she throws them away, leaving plenty of room for all the trip treasures she's collected.

If you have a family history trip tip, please share it in a comment (below).  

Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • candid photos | house/building photos | Photos from abroad | Web sites
    Monday, October 22, 2012 5:38:36 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [14]
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 6:38:41 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
    Juhuuu, hab mir eure Fotos mal durchgeschaut und bin sehr beiekdrucnt von den Landschaften, We4ldern, Tieren etc. und der Qualite4t eurer Kamera!Ach wie schf6n es da bei euch ist!!!Krass, dass ihr ne Vogelspinne gesehen habt *ahhhh*Die Bilder vom Sonnenuntergang im Parque Nacional Huerquehue und besonders das IMG_1399 gefe4llt mir ganz doll!Viel Spadf beim Vogel-Projekt und bis ganz bald!!PS: Is sau komisch euch auf den Bildern zu sehen, irgendwie hab ichb4s noch gar nicht recht gerafft, dass ihr dort seit =D
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