Thursday, August 11, 2016

Making the Most of Your Research Trip Part 2

By the second day of my research trip in Pennsylvania I was much more familiar with the area and had a better sense of how long it would take me to get from point A to point B, thus I could organize my day efficiently.
Before any trip I plan extensively from home so I don't waste time and miss resources while I'm on the road.  Sometime I get lucky and connect with "boots on the ground" folks who are willing to provide me needed information immediately.  In those situations, I like to take a minute to visit in person when I arrive to personally thank them for their help.  That was on top of my agenda for the day.
I rose early and didn't want to wait around for repositories to open so I drove to nearby Greencastle where a Dunkin Donuts had just opened.  I bought a box of donut holes with the intention of bringing them back to Waynesboro and giving them to the office staff of a church who had so graciously emailed me copies of original records.  Those records took me back a generation and I was very greatful!
Not a lot of traffic so I arrived back in Waynesboro 30 minutes before the church office opened.  That was fine, though, as I had previously identified on a map the location of where 3 of the people I was researching owned a business in the mid 1800's on Main Street.  I had a copy of the map in my phone download so I could bring it up and orient myself to what the present area looks like.  Since the business day hadn't begun I was able to park easily and snap photos of the lots.  All of these lots had been verified by deeds (remember, I had first gone to the Court House and had from home, rented Family History Library films).

I also like to take photos of the view from the lot.  Why?  This gives me a sense of what the ancestor may have seen from their land.

Of the 3 lots, one still viewed mountains off in the distance.  I could imagine the Rebel Army swarming down on the night of 3 July 1863.  How did I know that had happened?  Before the trip I had read several histories of the area available on GoogleBooks.  I also had the Civil War claim of one of the individuals and two newspaper articles by eyewitnesses of the events of that evening.  The day I visited, thank goodness, the view was not threatening!

I still had time before the church opened so I drove by two other churches .  I took pictures of those places, along with closeups of the visible cornerstone.  This told me that one of the churches was indeed built at the time the ancestor lived in the area.  The other church cornerstone clearly showed a later date.  This was important because it confirmed that the church bought the lot from another church that had previously used the space for a cemetery.  The bodies had been removed to another cemetery in the 1920's.  Two known people I was researching had been reinterred due to that real estate sale.
Stopped by the church office, dropped off the donuts conveyed my appreciation and was off to visit cemeteries.  Check back for more!

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