Before you travel ten or even hundreds of miles to find the library or archive in the hometown of your ancestors, make sure the records you seek aren’t as close as your computer or down the street at your local library.
I had planned one research trip to New England and had extensively researched the various libraries and record repositories to find what I was looking for. One of my stops was to the regional library. I spent half a day looking through their microfilmed church records. When I arrived home, I learned that the records I sought could be viewed on microfilm from the local LDS family history center or acquired by interlibrary loan.
Searching for family records in your ancestor’s origins should only be undertaken after you are sure you cannot acquire the records through readily accessible means. You won’t want to spend hours and hours in an old church or archive and find out later that the records you needed were just minutes away. Try to identify which records, books, and histories have not been microfilmed or are not open for interlibrary loan.
Okay, you have done your homework and confirmed that you want or need to conduct field research. Now what?