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Monday, March 18, 2013

An article on family heritage travel!

Over the weekend I picked up the April 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler.  If you have not seen or read this magazine and love to learn about new places or fantasize about those bucket list trips, you should pick up a copy.  I picked up this issue specifically because on the front cover I saw the main story was titled “Return to Your Roots.”  Wow, a feature article in a travel magazine about heritage trips.

The article contained 5 first person accounts by writers who traveled to discover their roots.  They voyaged to Northern Ireland, Taiwan, Sicily, Krakow, and Angola.  Each incredibly personal story drawing the reader into their experiences making you want to know what else they may have found or explored.

In the piece on Ireland the author took her whole family on the trip.  They found her great-great grandfather’s farm, and she immersed her boys into the family experience.  In contrast the author who penned the piece on Taiwan talked about meeting with her birth sisters in the Taipei night market.  You next learn about Sicilian Cooking, the legacy Jewish Krakow, and how a surname from the Jamestown Colony leads a man to find his roots in Angola.

It was wonderful to see how they each had a different experience to share with the readers.  There was no formula, no right or wrong way to take a tip.  They were people searching for a connection to their past and were awed and amazed around every corner.   

At the end of the segment was a Genealogy 101 information box.  It made me so happy to see this included in the article as it is one thing to talk about making trips to find your heritage but something else to take on the genealogical aspect of it.  I was impressed by the author’s advice, links, and suggestions.  Makes me think she may have the bug too.

My husband and I have talked about making treks to the homeland someday.  Choosing which one and when seems to be the problem.  We have mostly Irish, Scottish, and English roots but thrown into the mix are German, Swiss, French, and Norwegian; a lot of choices and a lot of varied places to see on that list.  I also want to take our children with us to see new things and learn about the places our family left before coming to North America. 

How many of you have taken a trip to discover your ancestors?  I would love to hear about it and your experiences.


  1. Each one in my generation (-1) has made a trip to Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo, Ireland where the paternal family originally came from. (Only the oft repeated stories document that). It is a very small town. The only Hughes I located had moved in. Each of my siblings made a comment to the effect that they understand why Michael Hughes CAME from there. We have had a century and a half of urbanization in the US. I really wished I had the skills that came later to have really researched instead just touring.

    1. I understand Pat, there are times that I now kick myself for not doing more on my visits to Europe when I was in college. Someday we will make it back over the pond for research this time.

  2. Doesn't it make you feel longing? I also have Scots, Irish, and English roots. A long-ago Fraser ancestor from Inverness, Scotland. I'd like to get more family members interested in visiting the "old country." Maybe our younger generation would be interested!

    That April 2013 issue shows that genealogy is a hot topic!!

    1. I was very excited about a front cover on a magazine that talked about an aspect of genealogy. They quoted an poll from last year that said 4 out of 5 American were interested in learning about their genealogy. That amazed me!

      My visits were always too short for me. I could easily spend a month or more in the UK.