If you have been doing genealogy long enough it inevitably comes - the Dream about doing genealogy. Some of mine are rather pleasant, I'm driving through the mountains toward a little town and down below is a beautiful lake or river. I get out and start wandering through the town when I find a small little storefront genealogy society. I go inside and it is just full of all the documents I've ever tried to find. In fact this has happened to me to some degree. I've been through beautiful country in Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky. This is my favorite part of the research trip. I love to visit new places that are off the beaten path. Of course the goal is to find that one piece of paper that proves an ancestor, but don't discount the whole experience.
Take some time to take photos or drive through the countryside. Cemetery hunting is the best way to see where your ancestors lived. I take in everything and take photos of everything, even the little hole-in-the-wall library or the country store I stopped at for directions. It gives me a record of the places I visited in case I want to go back. My first research trip on my own I visited the little town of Williamsburg in Whitley county, Kentucky and then traveled across the state line into Tennessee to Campbell county. What beautiful country! I imagined what it was like for my greatgrandmother, Mary Emily Reeves, to have been born and raised here in the 1840s. I drove around one whole day just looking for where her father, George, was buried to no avail. But when I go back I'll know where to look next. I know he's there somewhere. That trip created an unforgetable memory. I did find that little hole-in-the-wall genealogy society that had a large collection. I spent a whole day there and made loads of copies. I visited the aged courthouse and wondered if my family had ever walked its halls. I also found that beautiful lake just outside of town - in La Follette, TN - where I just had to stop and stare. I use the photo now as my screensaver.
A message for those that just do their genealogy on the internet you're missing something very important just sitting in front of that computer. Take the time and plan that research trip no matter if it's just for a day. I've just spent a day driving to southern Indiana and relish it every time. Take the time and really enjoy the fun part of genealogy. Stop and smell the wildflowers along the way.
See the photo of my Dream Lake at the bottom of this blog page.