Travel is a wonderful thing to do. Traveling with a purpose like trying to discover more about your genealogy can add new meaning and dimension to your travel.
Research about your ancestor’s homeland is an essential part of any genealogical travel. It is important you do your research on your ancestor’s hometown before your travel to that location. If you are not sure where to start to look, consider getting a DNA test.
One of the best things about genealogical research is that is so much of it is like being a detective. You need to be able to piece together the lives of your ancestors. But like with any detective or investigative work, you need to do a lot of groundwork and research to ensure you have the correct information.
Do Your Genealogy Research
If you want to find your ancestors and travel to see where they had once lived, this takes a lot of time and effort. You need to do a lot of research and investigation before you start on your genealogy travels.
It is one thing to know that your ancestors came from England, but it is quite another to know what town or villages they came from. To run around England hoping to find the grave of a James Johnston would make no sense and would be a futile effort unless you had some basic information on where your ancestor had lived or what church they attended.
If you had that detailed information, then you have a very good chance of not only finding information on that ancestor but maybe even on other family members. Many times when you find a gravesite of one ancestor you will find graves nearby of other ancestors.
Most people will have more than one homeland to visit when they are traveling to find their ancestors. Unless both of your parents came from the same country, and the exact same hometown. There could be several hometowns and villages to even visit in one country or location.
Here is some research you can do about your ancestor’s homeland before you travel:
Homeland Location Research
It is important that you try to get specific records of your ancestor’s homeland location before you start your travels. Come to your travels with that information in hand. If you are looking at the wrong place or worse yet for the wrong person it could end up being a wasted trip.
In some areas of the world, the local records may be the only records you can find on your family’s genealogy. But if you are looking in the wrong place from the start it will be very hard to find anything.
Homeland History Research
Genealogical research is also about the local history of the place you are visiting. Did your ancestors leave their country or homeland because they were starving to death and felt they had no choice? Was it was a war that caused them to flee?
All this kind of local history and knowledge, along with the dates, times, and places they happened are essential parts of your genealogical research. This is why it is always good before you travel to your ancestor’s homeland that you have some knowledge of he history of where you are going.
I find that today discovering new places is easier than it has ever been. There are a lot of wonderful historical documentaries, YouTube Channels, and even books or podcasts. All of these can give you some very good local historical knowledge.
Homeland Culture Research
If you are traveling to another part of the world, it is important that you also do some research about your ancestor’s culture. Shinzo Abe, the Japanese statesman when speaking about our ancestors and our culture has said:
if you really want to understand your ancestor’s lives then it is very important that you also take the time to understand their culture. Culture will help to give you insights into who they are.
Consider A DNA Test
A genealogy test can help you to know exactly where you are from. If you were adopted or your family did not talk about their homeland or where they came or maybe they just have no idea, you may want to consider taking a DNA test. Some genealogists suggest that you consider taking several genealogy tests so that you can compare the results.
For example, we knew that on my father’s side of the family we had German, English, and Scottish blood, but we also had no idea that some French, Belgium, and Danish blood is part of his heritage. Now we know that may need to also look for those records to see what ancestors came from those parts of the world. Knowing your DNA can give you some insights into your heritage.
Here are some DNA tests you can consider:
- Ancestry.com – Ancestry.com has quite a large database of people who have taken their DNA tests. This is good as it means you may be able to find more genetic matches. Many times they will run specials so the tests are not so expensive (59 to 99 USD). Find out more by clicking here.
- My Heritage – My Heritage also has a DNA test and like other DNA providers they will also run some specials from (59 to 79 USD). You can find out more about their test by clicking here.
- 23 and Me – 23 and Me not only have the DNA tests for finding your ancestors but they also have some tests that can help predict your health and fitness issues. Depending on what test you want it can cost from 99 to 499 USD.
- CRI Genetics – CRI Genetics is considered to be one of the better DNA tests on the market. Like 23 and Me they also look at things other than ancestors but also your health and fitness and other traits. Their cost is about 99 USD and they may run some specials. You can find out more by clicking here.
- Family Tree DNA – Family Tree DNA has a very large database of over 2 million records. It is known for their Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA and is the most popular autosomal DNA. You can find out more about their DNA testing by clicking here.
You can read our blog on Genealogy DNA Tests and Testing – Read This Before You Buy by clicking here In our blog you can find out more about each of these companies and to also learn all about DNA for genealogy and discovering your ethnicity.
Travel of any kind is amazing, but traveling to discover more about your ancestors can be life-changing. You will discover and learn things about your ancestors and yourself that can be life-changing.
How Should I Organize My Genealogical Data For Travel?
When you are traveling to do genealogical research you want to be sure to have all your data online. Do not bring any original documents wih you but keep them safe at home.
Any photos of other things you may want to show people you can take a photo of and also keep it online. We really love the free genealogical collaborative program called FamilySearch. If you are interested in FamilySearch you can read our blog on 10 Tips for Preparing A Trip to Find Your Ancestors by clicking here. In this blog, we have listed the reasons why we like the FamilySearch program.
How Can I Find My Family History For Free?
FamilySearch is a completely free genealogy program that is filled with a lot of great family history data and information. FamilySearch has many great features, but one of its best features is that it is a collaborative program. FamilySearch also has a lot of free data that makes it very easy to use their search tools to find your family history for free.