Family History Research

Preparing for research trips

on July 19, 2010

Next week I hope to take two research trips, one to the Newberry Library, and one to IRAD at NEIU and from there stop across the street at Bohemian National Cemetery and then drive to St. Adalbert’s to cemetery hop. I decided since I have so many things I want to research on those trips, I am going to take my nine year old son along to help. He is in the gifted reading and writing program at school and I’m sure these new research skills he will learn will help him in 4th grade. He isn’t so thrilled but if I can find one or two things in the research that will grab his attention, it will be fine.

So of course, I begin the task of outlining all the things I want to find out while researching, starting with the trip to IRAD and cemeteries. We all know being organized before a trip helps immensely when researching.  One of the things I organized last night is an Excel file of my burial lists. I have one file with several tabs. The first tab is my entire genealogy file list of people, birth and death dates, burial place and grave location. Of course not every person has a burial place listed yet and some have a place but no grave location. Subsequent tabs are broken out by cemetery. On those tabs I added a column called DC (Death Certificate). I want to start tracking everyone for which I have a death certificate which will make my many lists of “want to find certificates” less cluttered. Those need to be condensed and made ready for another trip to the Illinois State Archives anyway.

When that task is complete by this evening, I hope, my next task will be to create a file for all my Naturalization documents. I envision this as another Excel file with a master tab listing, and a tab for those I have documents for broken out by name, date of birth, date of arrival, Ship Manifest, Declaration date, Petition date, Naturalization Date, Notes.  Maybe I can get my son to help fill this file in. He thinks it is interesting that we cannot find ship logs for some of our ancestors and at times he seems determined to find them.

And finally, before my week ends, I hope to also have a file listing of people to search for in Probate records at IRAD.  Many things to research in one day, but with some help, hopefully I can make a dent in the lists. Whatever is left when we return home will be made ready for another research trip soon.

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