This past week I had the privilege of meeting two wonderful ladies who I first "met" in the AOL Genealogy Community at a local Family History Center (FHC). It was great to meet them in real life, and I hope they had as good a time as I did!
The night before we were to meet, I sat down and organized my information and identified my research goals for the next day. I even developed a "Reseach Goals" form to use to help me clarify what information I had and what information I was seeking.
It is quite difficult to see the fields of information this form calls for in this picture. It requests the date and place of research, the target of the research for whom this form is intended, the goal of this particular research effort (what information is being sought), current speculations about the research target, the source or foundation of those speculations, and potential resources. It also leaves room to identify if and where the inforomation was found.
I was SO PROUD of this form and for filling a few in for my "research targets". I was ready to conquer the world (or at least the FHC). Alas I was so intent on preparing this form and completing them for the ancestors I'm seeking, I failed to be prepared in terms of having pre-searched familysearch.org from home. Thus, I didn't have any idea if any documentations were available on the FHC microfilms/michrofiche files or anything. Sure, I could do that at the Center when I got there, but when I GOT there .... the place was PACKED! Nearly every computer was used, and when I was able to get to one, the only film I found referenced in their collection was one that was not available at t his FHC! But that's okay, I can go back another time and order it. I was able to get an idea of the books available at the FHC and became familiar with how the Center works.
If you haven't been to an FHC yet, I would strongly recommend you see if they have one near you and drag yourselves over there if they do!