Planning a Pilgrimage – Part 1

Last year, I took a three-week trip in the UK, which I call a pilgrimage rather than a genealogy research trip. Rest assured, some research was done, but my plan was to focus more on a place that was important to my family, and to talk to the living relatives that I could visit. The planning started about six months earlier, when I discovered that not one, but two genealogy-related conferences were to happen in Birmingham, where many members of my maternal grandfather’s family lived. Once I decided to take advantage of this concurrence, my detailed planning began.

I like to approach a project like this as I would any complicated endeavour, first considering the big picture — my overall objectives, then designing the details of the experience, week by week and then day by day. As with all travel, you can plan ahead as much as possible, but you need to be prepared for what you can’t plan. I took care of the obvious logistics: plane ticket, hotels, conference registration; then I gave a lot of thought to what was possible on each day, working out things like locations and transportation.

My objectives were threefold: experience the city where my family line lived, meet people interested in genealogy and one-name studies, and spend quality time with my dear cousins. I believe I met all of these very successfully. I came back rested and full of notes and ideas for my one-name study. As I suggested in my previous post, if you are able to budget for a conference this year, combining it with research and exploration of places important to your ancestors can make it an unforgettable experience. More on my planning methods in a future post.

Photo: Open air market in Birmingham, UK. All rights reserved. Copyright 2017 Lynda Chiotti

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