I have been so busy since getting back from my roadtrip I haven’t had time to sort out and assimilate all of the information I gathered. So for this blog I will tell you about the trip itself. We left the 17th of July and returned the 25th. Along for the ride were my children; Virginia (15), Joel (6), and Leif (9mths). Our first stop was York, Nebraska – about a 7 hour drive from home. We arrived Sunday evening, checked into the Hampton Inn and then ate at Applebees. Monday morning I headed straight for the county courthouse. I spent most of the morning in the records office looking through marriage records, land records, and cemetery records. I copied alot of old land records and enjoyed handling the old heavy records books. Then I went to probate upstairs and had several wills copied. After lunch at Runza’s I went to the library and searched newspaper microfiche, York County Obituary books (thanks to the Genealogical Society), and several York County History Books. Back at the hotel I gathered the kids and we drove around York then drove thru Burger King to grab dinner and head out to my cousin Traci’s home in a town nearby. We spend a couple hours at her house reminiscing about grandma and grandpa. This was the most time I had ever spent talking to Traci in my life. She is about 6 years older and we just never had spend very much time together.
After a good night’s sleep we loaded up and headed toward Omaha. I let Virginia drive (she does have her permit). We got into Omaha and parked in front of the Library. The kids went to the Starbuck’s across the street while I ran in for a quick look to see if I could locate an Obit for my gggrandfather Daniel Gotcher. No luck but I did talk to some local genealogists researching there that clued me into the fact that the home address on the death cert. was actually a hotel – so maybe he didn’t live in town? After that we drove on to Aunt Terri’s house in Anamosa, Iowa. My Uncle Larry built this beautiful house there and it was a real pleasure to be able to stay there. Terri is an awesome genealogist and has done extensive research on my maternal line. She graciously allowed me to spend the next day poring through her records and copying what I wanted. She even has a laser printer. She also put up with my kids interrupting her beautiful, serene home and she fed us. While there we visited my 81 year old grandfather and Aunt Rosalie came over for a meal and then took Joel to do some chores with her. Joel loves Aunt Rosalie and Uncle Ivan’s farm and especially loves tractors. Uncle Larry has an old tractor and took Joel out for a ride on it when he got home from work.
Thursday morning we loaded up again and drove south east toward Illinois. We stopped for a bathroom break at a Davenport gift store then drove onto Mt. Sterling, Illinois. The temperatures were in the triple digits but we stopped at the library in town and the kids went for a walk then came into the back of the library and played while I looked through newspaper microfiche and county history books for any mention of Jason’s maternal Fore ancestors. We left just in time to catch the courthouse before it closed and I found and ordered copies of birth and death records for the family. I found out there that A.H. Fore died during the 1918 outbreak of the Spanish Influenza. A stop for dinner and we drove on. We made St. Louis at about 7pm and decided to visit the arch. The “egg” ride up was a bit disturbing but the view from the top was awe inspiring. We stayed at another Hampton Inn and ordered pizza delivery.
The kids had really been good and put up with alot of boredom. To reward Virginia for being the caretaker on this trip I took her to Nashville. As a music lover she has always wanted to visit Nashville. I told her we would go there for the weekend but she was to take care of all the details while we were there. She reserved the hotel and decided what we were going to do while there. We checked into the Millenium Maxwell Hotel Friday afternoon then went out to tour Music Row (actually named Broadway). We found while down there that there were very few eating establishments that allowed under 21 in after 7. We did find a place to eat then went back to the hotel. Saturday morning we hopped the shuttle and went downtown where we got a trolley tour and tickets to 4 places. The first hop off was The Parthenon. The only reason we knew of this place was from the movie, Percy Jackson and the Olympians”. It was a beautiful site and we enjoyed some time outside waiting for the next trolley. Then we saw the music studios and hopped off again at Ryman Auditorium and then the Country Music Hall of Fame. By this time the kids were tired and hungry so we headed back to the hotel promising ourselves to tour Opryland before we left. The kids had room service while Ginny and I readied ourselves for a night on the town. I had hired a babysitter for the night through a friend at church who knew someone. She was great with the boys. Ginny and I left early enough to be able to go into Torchy’s, a famous honkey tonk. Then we browsed several souvenir shops before heading over to the Bluebird Cafe. We got there after the first show had started so we waited inside the door for the end of the first show and the beginning of the second. Turned out good because we got to hear some “newer” songwriters that way. We were seated for the second show which was three older (as in been in the music business awhile) songwriters – Pam Rose, Randy Sharp, and Maia Sharp. They were singing in a round and just went round and round singing songs as they went. It was a beautiful evening and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Sunday morning we left and drove west toward Arkansas. Our goal for the day was to find Izard County, Arkansas and procure a motel for the night. My last research stop was here looking for Jason’s paternal Banks ancestors. The town has one motel and I think there may have been only one other occupant. We ate at a mexican restaurant next door then watched TV and went to bed. I got up the next morning and once again headed to the courthouse. I asked about records and they showed me a computer first but when I told them I needed records before 1930 (which to a genealogist isn’t that far back in history) they took me to a back room with unorganized old record books. There I found some land records. I had a hard time finding records because the courthouse had burned down twice and now the records are copied and stored in Little Rock. After talking to the ladies in the records office where they showed me land plats, I went to the library where I found some local census records and cemetery records. After that I found a lady recommended to me that was an expert in local genealogy. She didn’t know my Surname but told me some about the area they lived. The area around there is extremely windy and hilly which we discovered later that afternoon when we drove west towards home. Because there was no straight shot home, and no large highway either we decided to head to Branson and then catch I-44 home. The roads from Izard County to Branson were rollercoaster quality. We were all carsick by the time we got into Branson. Going through Branson was a great idea because it gave us the opportunity to experience Landry’s – Home of the throwed roll. The kids really enjoyed that. From there it was a 4 hour drive home and we were very glad to be home.
Overall it was a memorable vacation. I gathered alot of information and learned how better to plan for my next research trip. Not having kids along would make it easier but I enjoyed the memories we made along the way!