Most families have a legend or two about a distant relative who was an outlaw in the Wild West or the head of an Irish clan back in the 12th century, but few people ever venture to the stomping grounds of their kin. However, with the prevalence of DNA testing and the continuous digitization of family records, genealogy travel has become more accessible than ever. Have you ever thought about tracing your roots, but weren’t sure how to begin? Here are a few tips to get you on the right track.
1. Do as much research from home as possible
Sometimes, you can get started with as little as a last name and a vague idea of your roots. This might be enough to get you going on sites like Ancestry or Find My Past, and from there you can explore online archives.
2. Consider traveling Stateside before crossing an ocean
If you begin hitting walls, it may be time to branch out from the comfort of home and visit courthouses and other record-keeping facilities to find more recent ancestors. Because the trail is less cold in the more recent past, traveling to places in the United States could provide you with a wealth of information.
3. When you think it’s time to return to the motherland, pick the right one for you
Chances are, you have roots in several countries. While traveling to one of your family’s historical homes to uncover even more of your past can be thrilling, you might run into a dead end, especially if you’re looking for a particular ancestor. Just be aware of that and pick a destination you would like to explore outside of ancestry-related research.
4. Pick the right people to help guide you
Local knowledge can go a long way, particularly if you’re facing a language barrier. You can identify local historians or partner with an agency that specializes in genealogy travel to help further your search. These entities can scout the location ahead of time and begin making contact with archivists and other record-keepers, so that your search can progress more fluidly.
5. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey
Getting swept up in the researching process and driving towards an ultimate destination is all part of the fun, but don’t forget to enjoy the steps along the way.
If you would like some assistance in identifying reputable genealogy travel agencies or individuals, feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing about your ancestor search!
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Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.