Researching Overseas: Paper Documents vs Digital

When you are planning your overseas trip for research purposes do you bring paper documents or digital copies?

We live in a digital world and I assume that most of  us prefer to keep all things digital. But, how do you handle this for overseas travel? To be honest, when I was planning my trip to Ireland I knew that internet would be spotty at best, and that my current data package would not work over there.

So, I brought paper copies of all I thought I would need. That included:

  • Map of the townland from Ask About Ireland.
  • Spreadsheet of family members found in the local church records (with dates included)
  • Brief family tree so I knew how everyone was related.

For the sake of being honest, this was a small handful of people. So the tree was easy to print. I put these items in a folder for travel and because they were copies, I folded them up and put them in my coat pocket the day we did research. Walking all over Dublin it was not feasible to be carrying a folder from place to place, not to mention that there was always the chance of rain.

I have talked with other researchers to see what they do. Some take a screen shot of the items they need so that they can have access to it on their phone, even though they do not have internet access. We are all different in how we research and what we bring with, there is no right answer. But, I am curious as to what you do. Please share what you do in the comments below.



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  1. I print out descendant chart and the narrative from RootsMagic including index and sources. Then I take to my local printer to have whole thing spiral bound, with card stock covers. Many depositories don’t allow loose paper or just a few loose ones. This way I have everything I need, in one place, and no fear of having page become separated.

    1. Great idea, Ann. I just started using RootsMagic for my one name study. I have so much to learn.
      Thanks for sharing what you do.

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