Research Trip: The Don’t Overs

Sometimes when kids play games, they have rules that either allow or prohibit “do-overs,” that is, the opportunity to make the play again. In this post, we present the “don’t-overs” for genealogical research trips.

1. DON’T OVER-pack (Photo Grrl!): Remember, you’re not going to Mars. If you forget something, you can probably get it wherever you are. You don’t need a hundred changes of underwear or any other clothes. You can wash clothes just about wherever you are. Leave some room for things you might want to carry back. The airlines will charge an additional fee for overweight luggage. Amtrak won’t charge an additional fee, but will make you unpack and re-pack overweight luggage.

2. DON’T OVER-work yourself: Set reasonable goals with a reasonable schedule. Don’t schedule yourself with constant tasks from morning to night. Leave time for rest and relaxation and fun, and socializing with friends and family.

3. DON’T OVER-socialize: If you spend too much time socializing with friends and family, you’ll see your research time disappear rapidly

3. DON’T OVER-look your normal routine: Go to bed and get up at the usual times as much as possible. Have meals at your usual times.

4. DON’T OVER-analyze your evidence while still in the field. Analysis will possibly lead you to other resources in the field. But over-analyzing will take up time that could be better spent on information gathering.

5. DON’T OVER-collect information. Make sure that you are collecting valuable, relevant information and that you’re not just taking pictures, for example, for the sake of taking pictures.

6. DON’T OVER-plan: Be flexible and you’ll learn more and have more fun.

7. DON’T OVER-spend on tourist-y, faux historical items. Get the real things or don’t get them.

8. DON’T OVER-extend your travel: Know your limitations. If three days makes sense, just stay three days.

9. DON’T OVER-accept information just because it comes from “locals”.

10. DON’T OVER-impose your own culture and values where you’ve gone in a way that disrespects local traditions and customs.

We inadvertently violated several of these. We (Photo Grrl!) overpacked. We took far too many clothes and things we didn’t need. It was a hassle dragging around all the extra bags and at one point, we had to hold our breaths as one bag just barely made the Amtrak 50-lb. limit.

We weren’t clear with our friends and relatives about the fact that we needed some time when weren’t socializing to get some important research done. We kept saying “yes” to all the invitations that came our way. As a result, we lost track of our usual routines and meals came late and once in a while, we forgot to take medicine.

We probably tried to do too much. Fortunately, it worked out well in the end.

[On reflection, I’d add another one: DON’T OVER-do what seemed like a clever idea at first; you know, the “don’t-over” as opposite of the “do-over.” Oh, well!]

OFF

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Craig


August 2007
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