Leaving Illinois to head to Michigan, Ohio, and parts North and East.
The headstone ready for mounting for Lee Alfred Wilcox, paternal grandfather of Jean and her brother Bob Wilcox:
Cemetery gate where the Lee Alfred Wilcox headstone was placed (and the stone in place), just prior to the departure from Illinois:
New York - Watertown, Jefferson County - promotion for presentation on the Freeman and Wilcox families who lived in the area in the mid-1800s
Freeman graves - the Freeman Cemetery, Brownville, Jefferson County, NY:
Ceremony to recognize Private Edward Freeman of Col. Klock's Militia, Battle of Sackets Harbor. War of 1812 marker placed by the Daughters of the Veterans of the War of 1812 and Daughters of the American Revolution:
Visit to Mohawk Valley, Ostrander Cemetery, Danube, NY - location of graves of Isaac Freeman and wife Marion Gallup:
Military headstone for Jean's step-great-great-grandfather, Private Philipp Wolbert (Civil War), received before her arrival but not to be placed until weather permits:
Military headstone for Jean's great-grandfather, Private Frederick Mueller (Civil War), received and placed after she had left area. Weehawken Cemetery, North Bergen, NJ:
Kingston harbor, Sloop Clearwater, not ready to sail yet due to inclement weather:
Visit to Martin Guitar factory, Nazareth, PA (where Jean's guitar was manufactured:
Visit to Civil War Battlefield at Gettysburg, PA where Jean's great-granduncle Private Charles John Trapschuh of the Wisconsin 26th Infantry was captured and sent to Libby Prison. Memorial marker at that approximate location during that battle recognizes the losses of that unit:
Impromptu visit to the Conrad Weiser homestead, Berks County, PA. He was Jean's 7th great-grandfather:
Slight diversion along the Blue Ridge Hwy to visit Schuyler, VA and the Walton's Mountain museum, created in recognition of the work of Earl Hamner on that, and other, TV shows and movies (this is the "recipe room" - check upcoming podcast on moonshining for explanation of the parts of the still):
Stop at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, to visit the grave of Jean's 2nd great-grandfather, Captain Nathan W. Wilcox, Missouri Engineering Regiment of the West, Civil War (stone placed in 2010; new flag placed on this visit).
Ready to do your own on-site trip? Here are some suggestions:
A. Things to consider
1. The dates & length of time for the trip
2. The places you plan to visit (then reduce your expectations significantly!)
3. Means of transportation to destination
a. By air: Determine airport destination(s), checking on the possibility of arriving & departing from different locations (check on car rental expectations & requirements)
b. By vehicle: Plan route in advance but allow for changes
Reminder: Most courthouses & many archives don’t allow cameras on site; if you have a camera phone, it may not be permitted inside.
B. People to contact
1. Genealogy libraries/librarians
2. Historical society personnel
3. Cemetery sextons
4. Vital records offices
5. Church officials
7. Local Family History Centers
8. Possible relatives or former neighbors of ancestors (to interview)
C. Things to pack
1. Papers and records
a. pedigree charts & family group sheets
b. copies (not originals) of documents being researched
c. Letters (esp. copies of correspondence with on-site personnel, etc.)
d. lots of paper, pens/pencils, highlighters
2. Technological equipment
a. cameras (digital & other backup)
b. audio recorder
c. video/digital recorder
e. netbook, laptop, or tablet, flash drives, extra discs, cables, ?
g. PDA/pocket computer
h. cell phone, smart phone
Make appointments & arrange stops in an order that culminates in cemetery visits (don’t start at the cemetery).
3. Additional equipment for graveyard excursions
a. long sleeved shirt(s) & trousers
b. boots, high socks
c. garden & rubber gloves
d. insect repellant & sunscreen
e. old towels
f. small scissors
h. bottled water (with sprayer attachment)
i. soft brush
j. small reflective mirror or cookie sheet
k. light-weight foil
l. corn starch or powder (without additives)
m. spiral notebook & pencils
n. copy of genealogy on handheld device
o. digital camera with GPS
-Check the latest carry-on & baggage regulations for the airline you are using.
-Plan to purchase whatever possible when you arrive to keep baggage light.
II. ON-SITE VISITS (be sure to ask in advance about hours of operation)
A. Historical Societies & Libraries
1. Often societies & libraries are open by appointment only or for limited hours; be punctual and don’t stay after their posted closing time
2. Be mindful of the rules of the establishment (signing out material, no food or drink, cotton gloves for document-handling, etc.)
3. Be considerate, especially when people go out of their way to accommodate your needs
4. Make donations to the historical societies, churches, & libraries
5. Offer to send your compiled findings for their files (and follow through)
B. Vital Records Offices, Courthouses, & Archives (see above suggestions)
C. Churches (see above suggestions)
D. Ancestors’ Residences (be sure to have permission before entering property)
E. Cemeteries (recognize that some are on private property & require permission)
F. Tourist attractions and sights of the area
1. if this is your ancestors’ hometown, visiting the local museum & learning about area history will help you connect with your ancestors’ lives
2. buy some postcards
3. take photos of the area as well as tombstones
4. meet the residents . . . you might find a distant relative!
Reminder: Clean up after yourself (at research facilities, cemeteries, and other locations)
III. AFTER THE TRIP
A. Organize/transcribe notes
B. File findings
C. Develop film and catalog photos or transfer photos to your computer
D. Send thank you notes and promised reports to the contacts you made
E. Make a list of the things you want to accomplish on your next visit to the area
Short list of Suggested Readings:
Carlberg, Nancy Ellen. Cemetery Research. Anaheim, CA: Carlberg Press, 1782 Beacon Ave., 92804; 2000.
Carmack, Sharon DeBartolo. Your Guide to Cemetery Research. Cincinnati, OH: Betterway Books, 2002.
Keister, Douglas. Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography.
: Salt Lake City
Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2004.
Creative Continuum, 2002.
American Automobile Association (AAA; in
Auto Club of So. Calif. ) Calif.
Books on the history of the states, counties, and cities you are interested in.
Chamber of Commerce in the cities you will be visiting.