DNA tests are becoming a popular way for people find out about their family’s origins. Increasingly, they are planning genealogy-related ancestry travel.
Maybe you’ve been searching for your ancestors for years. Or perhaps you recently received an inheritance from a relative in another country. Ancestry trips are a great way to feel better connected to your family and learn more about your roots. Here are some travel tips to consider.
Hire a travel guide or go with a group
With DNA home testing kits readily available, there are more travel groups designed specifically around ancestry travel. Check with a travel agency if you’re interested in traveling with a group tracing their ancestors in the same location. You can also look for groups on social media who are planning ancestry trips.
If you prefer a private experience but want the benefits of a guided tour, consider hiring a guide who specializes in genealogy.
Contact a genealogy library or historical society
If you’re planning to learn more about relatives in another city or state but don’t know anyone there, a genealogy or historical society is a good starting point. Most of these places have public records that you can view. The people who run these places are good at research with very limited information.
Whether you’re planning ancestry travel as a day trip or a weekend, it’s always a good idea to call ahead and see if someone is willing to meet with you when you arrive. Some historians may even start doing a little research for you before you visit.
Make copies of any family documents you have
Birth certificates, family photos and a family tree are all valuable documents when tracking down your ancestors. However, you should never take the original documents with you when you travel. Make copies of important documents and photos and leave the originals in a safe place at home. Even if you’re only traveling a short way, you don’t want to lose original family photos or other important documents.
Keep in mind that if you want access to family
records or other information you may need to show proper documentation or
identification, so make sure a copy is fine.
Prepare yourself for the unexpected
Other people’s success stories of tracking down their ancestors are inspiring, but it’s important to remember that everyone’s journey is different. During your ancestry travel, you might find all the information you want (and more), or it might feel like a bunch of “dead ends.”
Tracing your history takes time. With careful
planning, you might have great results, but it may also take a few years to get
the whole family picture. Don’t give up after your first search.