The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
“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 visiting the country of your ancestors? What if you could actually walk the same streets as your great-great grandfather or see the home where your grandmother was born? This is something you want to put on your bucket list.
A trip back to the old 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 wherever 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. When you visit the family homestead or homeland, you can further embrace the experience by eating the local food, and drinking 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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