When is the last time you were a tick mark? It serves many purposes.

I am at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City for several days. There are still some open seats here for you. The microfilm readers and computers are busy. I see many people pouring through books that are not yet digitized. It feels good to be back here.

When is the last time you visited a library, historical society or archive? I know some readers may be house-bound and frustrated that you can’t get out, but for the rest of you, you are missing some great research.

An in-person research visit does serve a variety of purposes:

  • You find materials that are not online (and may never be!). It might be a book, film, or a file folder of family information.
  • You become a tick mark on the patron count that shows those in charge the repository is still viable. This even means the little local history room in the rural county library. It can affect funding or even keeping it open.
  • You view your research in a different setting. Often that leads to more research ideas, perhaps a breakthrough.
  • You might discuss some research with someone sitting across the table from you and make a new genealogy friend. Heck, that person may even have a connection to your Carpenter family back in Pennsylvania.
  • No buzzer tells you to take the laundry out of the dryer.

Where are you going this week or next? I challenge each reader to research at a library, courthouse, archive, or historical society at least once a month. I will update you on my research visits in a few months. We need to keep these places open, accessible to researchers, and well-funded. Be a tick mark.

© 2015, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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