What do genealogists do on vacations? I'd never really given it much thought until I saw a message to a mailing list by a genealogist today who stated that he was going on vacation. He specified that there would be "no libraries, no courthouses, and no cemeteries." That got me to thinking. When is the last time I took a vacation that met all three of those criteria? I think the answer is "before I started researching the family history."
First of all, I'm a librarian. I love books, and I love to see what other libraries look like. I also like to go in and browse the history and genealogy shelves. If I haven't taken my laptop along on a trip, I may go in to use a computer to check email. (I'll admit that I haven't done this much since wireless has become widely available, but I have done it in the past.)
Courthouses. While I'm slightly less likely to visit a courthouse than a library or cemetery, I have visited courthouses either along the way or near my destination on probably 75% of my vacations of recent years.
Cemeteries. I honestly cannot think of a single vacation that I've been on where I haven't gone to at least one cemetery and probably more than one. They are like magnets. I like to go to them even if I know of no relations buried there. You can sometimes find unusual markers. If I've got a few minutes to spare, you're likely to find me stopping to check out the cemetery. I know a well-known genealogist who was speaking at the FGS conference in Boston in 2006. He had no New England ancestors of his own. While he was out walking around Boston, he found a stone in a cemetery he visited which interested him. (I think it was in Old Copps, but I don't remember for sure.) He went back and researched that individual and her family. I'm not the only genealogist who can't resist a cemetery visit!
In a couple of months, I'll be headed to the Bahamas for a few days. While I don't really have anything that I need to research while there (and my niece who is accompanying me would definitely not want to spend time researching since she's not into family history), I've already read about an historic cemetery that I want to visit. If we happen to see a library, I'm likely to go in just to say I was there and to see what the similarities and differences are between that country's libraries and ours.
In short, I just can't imagine a vacation void of libraries, courthouses, and cemeteries--at least not since I began researching the family history. Of course, those of us who work full-time, welcome the opportunity to use our vacations to further our research.
What about you? Do you visit libraries, courthouses, and cemeteries when you vacation?