mississippi delta genealogy road trip: planning it out


Section of an 1874 Map of Yazoo County, Mississippi with Phoenix area

I hate to moan and groan about one season compared to another, but I’m so ready for Fall. This Florida summer heat has been brutal and we are not even deep into the season. Plus I’m ready for new and inspiring episodes of Finding Your Roots. Really, I’m most excited about my upcoming genealogy road trip to the Mississippi Delta in October. So what’s on the agenda and what am I hoping to accomplish? Here is my loose working itinerary thus far:

Day 1: 14 hour drive day from Central Florida to Yazoo City, Mississippi. Check in to hotel and rest up.
Day 2: Explore downtown Yazoo City by foot in the morning checking out as many historical African-American landmarks as possible (Wash Rose Building, Bethel A.M.E Church, Henry Herschel Brickell Memorial Yazoo Literary Walkway) For the afternoon I’m thinking of checking out the Oakes African American Cultural Center before hitting the road to drive through the Phoenix and Enola areas where my people once lived.
Day 3: Check out of hotel and hit the road for Indianola in the morning. Visit the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center. My grandmother always stated that B.B. King was her cousin although I have yet to tidy up that connection. Have lunch in Indianola and head over to Greenville to check in to hotel for next couple of days.
Days 4 & 5: The plans for these two days are very loose at the moment. One full day may be dedicated to exploring the Choctaw community of Shaw, MS where my grandmother was born and raised. The city is having an annual city wide reunion, so it should be a good opportunity to meet people, including cousins I’ve not yet met in person. I’d like to visit the church where she went to school as a girl and perhaps a cemetery where my ancestors may have been buried. Because we will also be fortunate enough to be around while the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival is going down in Greenville, we may pop into that for our Blues fix.
Day 6: Say farewell and hit the road back to Florida.

It is going to be a short and fast trip, but I’m sure we will find our way to slow it down and relax a bit once we’ve reached our destination(s). For the sake of my mother and two small children who will be in tow, I am omitting research time at the court house and library for a more lively itinerary. Truthfully, I’ve gotten a lot of records over the years through Mississippi vital department, MDAH and with the help of local volunteers. I can’t think of anything I’d need to obtain in the court house at this time, but something always comes up. Unfortunately, if records are desired I’ll have to obtain them another time.

As for what I’ll be bringing along:

1. Portable scanner. This is probably one of the most important items for a genealogy road trip that I can think of. Should I run across someone with old family photos and an opportunity presents itself to make a copy this is one of the easiest ways to do so.
2. Camera.
3. Blank autosomal DNA test sampling kits from FTDNA.
I’m contemplating bringing 3-5 kits. If I happen to run into a relative that becomes interested in testing I’ll have the materials they’ll need right then and there. No pressure, right? :p
4. Healthy Snacks. I’ve been to Mississippi to know that I can’t always find the healthiest of snacks while enjoying the delicious down home Southern that is there, so better safe than sorry.

That’s all that comes to mind for the moment beyond the basics. Is there anything else I may need to consider when packing? How about restaurants and attractions while I’m in Yazoo? Indianola? Shaw? Or Greenville? Any expert opinions are very much welcome and appreciated.

Note: 1874 Yazoo County provided by the Ricks Memorial Library Historian

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