To celebrate the successful completion of my thesis and master’s degree, I took a relaxing last-minute heritage trip to Thetford, Vermont, home of my Loyalist ancestor.
The main focus of the trip was to take some well-earned relaxation, but I chose to go to Thetford so I could make it a heritage trip. Usually when one takes a research trip, hours of preparation go into reviewing online categories and deciding which repositories to visit. While I recommend preparation, due to the last-minute nature of this trip, I was not prepared and was ok with that.
I arranged to spend a few hours at the Thetford Historical Society (which is a gem and well worth your time) and have a few hundred pictures of documents, although most are secondary, unfortunately.
The bulk of my time in Thetford was spent relaxing (to celebrate the thesis being done) and driving around to get a sense of what it might have looked like during the short time he lived there. The area is mostly heavily wooded, just as it probably was when he lived there, as it was a relatively new settlement in the mid to late 1700s. Getting a sense of the lay of the land will hopefully prove to be very helpful once I begin researching.
I visited the cemetery, although I don’t think any of my family is buried there as the Sumner family was only in the area for a few years.
Don’t delay visiting the home towns of your ancestors just because you haven’t put in hours of preparation. If the chance to visit comes up unexpectedly, just go. You will feel the power of walking in the general area where they walked, and having a sense of the lay of the land may prove fruitful in future research.
Have you ever embarked on a last-minute trip, where the itinerary included something related to your research? How did it go?