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Frugal Alternatives to a Genealogy Road Trip

Road TripThere are many genealogists who wish they could spend the summer traveling on a genealogy road trip. Unfortunately, not everyone can drop everything to do it. Travel expenses might not be in your budget this year. Or, perhaps your employment situation is not allowing for a long vacation. Instead, try some of these alternatives to a genealogy road trip.

Use Google Earth

Google Earth enables you to “go anywhere, on any device, for free”. Download it and select your virtual destination. Visit the places where your ancestors lived from the comfort of your home.

Google Earth also offers a virtual trip of 3D imagery of Rome, San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles. It will show the city as it would look if you were flying over it. Add the Google Earth Plugin, and you can travel back in time and go on a virtual visit of the neighborhoods that your ancestors lived in.

Visit a Family History Center

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has many Family History Centers. FamilySearch has a search engine that will point out the Family History Centers that are located near you. You do not have to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in order to visit a Family History Center.

Genealogists can receive one on one help at a Family Research Center. They can also gain free access to many subscription genealogy websites. Bring along your genealogy research for best results. Take the opportunity to learn more about the difficult to find members of your family tree.

Request Copies of Documents

You cannot travel to the depositories that hold the vital records of your ancestors right now. There may still be a way to bring those documents to you. Check the website of the place that holds the documents that you are searching for. Send them an official request for a copy of those documents. There may be fees involved, but the overall cost will still be less than what you would spend on a genealogical road trip.

Use Your Email

Email is an excellent way to reach out to family members who live far away. If you do not know the email address of a particular family member, you might consider reaching out to them via Facebook. Ask for copies of some of the old family photos they have. It has gotten really easy to send digital copies of photos through email. Ask your relatives to email you a family story. Return the favor by sending out the family photos and stories that you hold.

Image by William Warby on Flickr.

Related Articles:

* Picture Postcards

* Traveling to Visit Long Lost Relatives

* Database of Mormon Pioneers

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