Preparing for Research Trips-My way

1st Five Generation Ancestry Tree
1st Five Generation Ancestry Tree

I have posted on Facebook that I have been reviewing my family tree so that I will have an idea of where I need to expand my research. Bright Shinny Objects and who belongs to who has side tracked me more than once. I decided I needed to figure out a way to note someone as a direct relative at a glance. The screen shot above is my first five generations.  This should help when I go to a repository during my research trips.

You can see who my direct lines are by the darker photo on each generation. That photo will stay as the profile photo from now on. I may add other photos to people in the future, but will not change my direct line photo. The direct line photo has multiple purpose for me. Here is the photo I created.

Tree Under Review Contact me for Sources
Tree Under Review
Contact me for Sources



  1. It tells me at a glance it is my direct line
  2. It tells me when I have more than one direct line under the same surname (see photo below)
  3. It tells people who look at my tree that it is under review
  4. It tells people to contact me for sources if the need it
  5. If people contact me for sources, I can determine if they will be a cousin line that I might need information on
Emery multiple direct line in each generaton
Emery multiple direct line in each generaton

This photo shows where several I have several direct lines in one generation.

The other thing I did, besides enter information into my excel research log and family tree, was to create index cards for each direct line surname. I then photographed them to keep on my IPhone for my research trips. If they are in the photo section of my phone I do not require access to a computer to capture the information I may need. If they have internet I can access my Ancestry tree for more details. In either case I have enough information at my fingertips research my direct line.

Abbee Line (1)
Abbee Line (1)

The index card includes birth/death date, place of birth/death, and spouse of my direct line, sometimes noted for 2 spouses if both spouses have a direct line child, and if they died in the service of their country, I note that instead of place of death. The reason is I will probably not find any other family members in that place. I most likely have already recorded their service record in my file. If I haven’t it is a red flag to search for military records.

This index card answers several of my research questions at a glance.

  1. When they were born
  2. Where they were born
  3. Who the parents are
  4. Who they married
  5. Where they died
  6. When they died
  7. Who is the direct line child

It tells me where I may have blanks that need research. Isaac Abbee is missing a place of death. Susan Swetland is missing date of death and place, this indicates a possible remarriage with a different surname. If you notice on the index card that I did not indicate place of birth and death for the spouse. That information is on their direct line surname index card.

So I need to fill in the blanks. Try to answer the Why, Where in (sources), What and How questions. In other words fluff out the story of my ancestors.

I am now ready to begin my research trips. I just need to grab my research bag with portable scanner, more blank index cards, research log,  oh, wait a minute, all of that is now in my IPhone. What a great invention. It allows me to scan (photograph), take notes, and look up my research notes at a glance when internet service is or not available. My large backpack of a research bag has now been downsized to the size of a wallet. Did I mention the GPS mapping capability of the IPhone? I should have for two reason: I can find where I’m going and I can enter the coordinates for my cemeteries or ancestor’s home when I take the photograph.

I am one happy person ready to begin my research.



2 thoughts on “Preparing for Research Trips-My way

  1. These are really great ideas. I love the idea of using the ancestors photograph to flag information. I can see a picture of some sort to depict military service, place of birth, and even your under review disclaimer. Where are you going on your first trip?


    1. I’m not sure if I am going back to Sutton or Warner, New Hampshire or maybe both just to do the cemeteries for my first trip. I haven’t made my annual trip to my parents grave this year. I had to postponed both trips earlier.

      Thank you for the kind words.


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