In a few weeks, I’m headed to the Windy City for a few glorious days of research. With my professional and family life as it is, I have to maximize that precious research time, and an upcoming research trip motivates me like nothing else. Although life has gotten in the way (as it often does) the last few weeks, I’m now focused on completing my research agenda and itinerary. I’ve pondered the genealogical questions I’m hoping to resolve, identified the sources I’m anxious to jump into, and mapped out the different locations I’m headed to.
With a 5-day schedule jam-packed from dawn to dusk (and later), my agenda includes visits to the Newberry Library, Chicago Public Library, Cook County Recorder of Deeds, Probate Division of the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court, Chicago History Museum, local churches, area cemeteries, and South Side neighborhoods. I’ve not even mentioned the Chicago regional branch of the National Archives or the Polish Museum of America!
Yet I’ve also learned from previous trips. Anxious to fit as much as I can into one trip, I’ve often not given myself the opportunity to truly follow a new discovery or pursue an intriguing avenue of research. Perhaps that speaks to something other than my research habits, but on this trip, I’ve allowed myself a “free agent” day where I will go wherever my research from that week takes me.
With my family’s deep roots in the city, this trip is truly just the clichéd “tip of the iceberg.” Indeed, as I’ve written before, all eight of my great-grandparents lived in Chicago at some point in their lives, and all but two of them during the 1909-1915 time period. I could research non-stop for weeks and still barely scratch the surface of my family’s narrative in the city. Given that, I’ll be thrilled with whatever discoveries are made.