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Generally, I “work best under pressure” – but what that really means is that I procrastinate and then am amazed at what I get accomplished in the final hours before a deadline.  So in an effort NOT to feel overwhelmed on the way to the family vacation to Russell County, I’m going to try to think through my options over the next couple of weeks to be as organized as I can once I get there.  I want to make the best use of my research time and not feel guilty for being away from my family during our trip.  Who knows, maybe I’ll get a hint or two from someone who lives in or researches in Russell County.

It seems like a pretty safe bet that I’ll be able to find many tombstones in the cemeteries of my ancestors.  After visiting Concordia Cemetery in Chicago with over 80,000 graves, I feel hopeful that finding gravestones will not be as tricky.  Although I do worry that a cemetery might not be well maintained since this will not be as urban an area as Chicago.  Actually, I’ve always pictured Russell County as being pretty “countrified”, so I may be very surprised when I get there!  Luckily for me, the Russell County Historical Society has completed a couple of books in the last few years of tombstone transcriptions, so I’ll begin with a visit to the Allen County Library to go through those books to make an Excel spreadsheet of the cemeteries and the stones I’d like to photograph.

I’ll also do my best to make a map of the cemeteries using Google Maps.  I have visited the Kankakee County, Illinois Genealogical Society web site and it contains maps showing the locations of all of the county cemeteries.  It would be great to find something like that for Russell County as well!  Perhaps I’ll find something along those lines by doing a PERSI search.

But I think the very first thing I’ll do is to print out my 5 gen charts and use my highlighter to organize my thoughts on exactly what I’d like to find and where I’d be most likely to find it.  I see a new Excel file coming!