(+) Turn Vacations into Genealogy Fact-Finding Trips

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

This is an update to an article I published two years ago. Since I am in a hotel room in Scotland right now, it seems like a good time to add several new ideas to the original article.

“If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium.”

Where will you go on your next vacation trip? A trip to New England? Washington, D.C.? How about to the beach? Or how about a European vacation? How about taking a trip to the town where your grandparents grew up or a visit to the country of your ancestors? Wouldn’t you like to actually walk the same streets as your great-great grandfather or see the home where your grandmother was born? This is something you probably want to put on your bucket list.

A trip back to the home town or to “the old country” can be an immensely satisfying experience. Those who prepare for the trip usually report they have great memories and photographs of the experience.

While it is always worthwhile to visit town clerks, courthouses, libraries, and other repositories where your ancestors lived, you also will want to spend some time looking for old cemeteries and perhaps for the land where the old homestead stood. This provides an interesting look at history and the hardships your ancestors faced, even if the old farm is now a shopping center. Few activities are more thrilling than traveling to your ancestor’s village or gravesite. Standing where your forebears walked long ago is an amazing experience. You always should try to visit the family homestead or homeland, eat the local food, and drink the local beer, wine, or beverage of choice.

Of course, you will also want to find distant cousins, if possible. There is an interesting difference between Americans and many Europeans. Americans typically look back to find ancestors while Europeans often look forward in time, wondering what happened after people went to America.

Here are some suggestions.

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