To prep for this week I've read Guide to Genealogical Research In the National Archives of the United States by Anne Bruner Eales and Robert M. Kvasnicka. Reading this book was a little tough. Not because it is a difficult read, but for all the record groups mentioned to research. My mind would often wander to various ancestors to whom those records might apply to. I've also spent countless hours on Fold 3, the NARA website, the DAR website, and the Library of Congress website.
The only website I had a little trouble with was the Library of Congress. The holdings there are vast and a little intimidating. I was a little stumped on what I should do during our time spent there this coming week. I found myself wandering around aimlessly on the site. I realized I needed a broader yet specific subject. Sounds conflicting, right? Basically, unless you know of your ancestor being searchable on the site, ie. political figure, military figure, or some other ancestor that is obviously noted, you could meander this site without direction for hours. For a little help I turned to my binder of material from Samford this past June. As I've written previously I attended Course 4 (Elizabeth Shown Mills' class) at IGHR. I looked at the bibliographies included in the binder and that gave me some ideas. During the Samford week I attended an evening session about the Library of Congress presented by John Colletta. The handout for that session has a lot of valuable information. Between these two resources I finally decided to focus on maps. I love maps, even modern ones. They just have so much information on them. This also falls into the broader yet specific category that I mentioned.
So I'm ready... more or less. I've got a ton of notes and probably more items to research than what I will have time for. And those are just the ones I've come up with from home! I can only imagine the other ideas I will get while I'm at NIGR. I've debated about what to pack and what not to pack. I'm worried about having enough room on the way back for the things I acquire while I'm there. I've also made sure there's food, clean clothes, and instructions left behind for everybody at home.
At this point I'm looking forward to a nice quiet hotel room. That will be a treat that I will luxuriate in to be sure!! Oh! And of course I will update you on the adventures throughout the week.