Sunday, August 30, 2009

Need a Break

I had an opportunity to assist a client in planning a genealogy trip. At my regular fee, my client asked me to find direct line or distant relatives in the area, telephone numbers, repositories of family information, and a listing and location guide of sites of interest. This included land sites of his forbearers.

Now this project might not sound like fun for some, but for me, it was a blast and a welcomed break. Besides that, it was an unexpected revenue generator for my upcoming vacation.

After having worked in genealogy dungeons for the past 12 weeks (court house basements, dusty moldy archives and my 13x15 office at a computer, my eyes and back (from lifting 20lbs ledgers of wills, estates and court records) needed the break.

So after reviewing the customer’s folder for Scotland and Schuyler County, MO, clarifying my client’s goal and defining the length of time of his visit, I began planning my attack.

Having never done this for a client, I applied rule Number One: Do it as you would like it to be done! The result was a fifteen page visitor’s guide customized for my client. I began the guide by giving him a weather review for his upcoming trip. And then I addressed his four goals. I had spoken to over 30 people in Scotland and Schuyler County in the areas he was to visit and in doing so was able to identify the experts of Bible Grove, Memphis and Downing Missouri and who were excited about being a host/hostess for his 3 day visit. I attached land plats with sketchy directions to family cemeteries and the original family church, where one of his ancestor’s pictures still hung.

I talked to a half dozen distant relatives and gathered as much as possible about the culture of the area. Many of the members of the community were non-alcoholic drinking church goers, so why not let my client know that suggesting the local bar might not be appropriate.

Upon several references, I was even was able to recommend a local hotel where one of his distant cousins was the operator and a native of Bible Grove.

I guided my customer to the local museums and contacted the Genealogy/Historical Society in advance so they would expect his arrival, this also allowed me to confirm hours open.

And the coups de gras, was my names and address list, alphabetized by both county and interests.

Alpha by First Name
and then by county, for example -

Associations in Scotland County

I have to say that I don’t have aspirations of being a travel agent, but this was twenty hours of remembering why we do genealogy: to get to know just a bit of the path of our ancestors.

Plan a trip for you or a client. Why not follow a bit of their trail?

Accurate, Accessible Answers

1 comment: