May 23, 2017

Road Trip to the Past - Day 2: “Archival Fail” or “Dusty Books to Tasty Treats”

The Pennsylvania state archives were housed in a tall, unremarkable, windowless building in downtown Harrisburg. We arrived well prepared, ready to give assignments and go our separate ways, like the Scooby-Doo gang searching a haunted amusement park. But we were quickly informed that old newspapers were kept in local libraries and that our research avenues here would be limited. But the friendly, helpful staff turned us onto where we found a few nuggets of information we didn’t previously have. Not having done research recently on my own family tree, I was unaware and unfamiliar with this new site. But the recent boom of interest in ancestry and family history has provided more places to do remote research. While this was research we could have done prior to our trip, we were thankful to have done it now.

So we called it a day (as far as family research. No one in our family tree lived in this area) and decided to take advantage of being near Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Being out of season, Hershey Park was closed. But you could still visit the Hershey Chocolate Tour. The “free” tour was tantamount to Disney’s “It’s A Small World After All” – an automated indoor ride through the “virtual” chocolate making process with animated tour guide characters. But we each got a mini Hershey bar at the end of the ride! There was a tour through the real chocolate factory that was more expensive. But we were satisfied with just a taste. We did indulge in a chocolate milkshake on the advice of the front desk person at our hotel.

TIP: Do research about libraries and archive locations ahead of time. Most do not allow certain materials inside their facilities. And you will likely need change to print or make copies.

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