Preparing for a Research Trip: Repository Visits

I, for one, cannot wait to get back to researching in various repositories. Seeking out elusive ancestors and learning about history firsthand is so much fun. Here are some tips for taking trips to repositories.

Repository Visit Tips

Before you go to a repository, check the website for maps, location, hours, closures, and parking information. Also, check the rules for what you can bring and/or do while you’re there, and then bring the appropriate items:

  • Can you use your own notebooks or will you be given archive-assigned loose paper?
  • Can you bring in your bags, backpacks, or briefcases or will you be assigned a locker? 
  • Can you use pens or is it pencils only?
  • Is photography allowed?
  • Can you use laptops, tablets?
  • Do you need to request items from storage ahead of time?

Check the online catalog and plan what you want to see specifically. Create a list of call numbers, manuscript names, folder numbers, and/or microfilm numbers. Be sure to ask questions of the archivist or librarian. They often know a lot of information that you might not have been expecting.

What’s in the bag?

  • Don’t forget plugs, chargers, cords, batteries, etc.
  • Change or bills for copies if needed
  • Is there a snack room available? Bring water, snacks, and/or lunch.
  • Flash drives, thumb drives
  • Office supplies: sticky notes, paper clips, folders, sheet protectors, large envelopes
Research room at the Hancock County, Ohio courthouse

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