Want to trace your family’s roots but don’t know where to start? These tips will help you plan a successful family history trip.
Ready to trace your family’s roots? Uncover the places and stories of ancestors before you with these essential tips for planning a memorable history trip. Researching genealogy can help reveal fascinating details about past lives, while local research lets us connect even closer to where our families have been.
Before setting off on an adventure to discover who we are as individuals and members of society, make sure that each stage is planned properly – from researching ancestral information beforehand through mapping out important locations during your travels!
Table of Contents
- Do Your Genealogical Research Before You Travel
- Research Online Local Sources For Your Destination
- Have All Your Research Information Organized
- Study The Maps Of the Area You Are Traveling
- Related Questions
Do Your Genealogical Research Before You Travel
Exploring your family history can be an eye-opening journey! Before you take off, make sure to do some research and arm yourself with plenty of knowledge. That way, when you arrive in a new place or country related to your ancestry, the experience will feel even more meaningful.
You can read our blog on some practical steps to prepare to start on your genealogy and family history travel, 10 Tips for Preparing A Trip to Find Your Ancestors, by clicking here. This blog post has many practical tips on things you must do before considering traveling on a family history tour.
Research Online Local Sources For Your Destination
There are many countries where genealogical records are not online, and to do any significant research, you may need to travel to the country or location. This can even be the case in some places in the United States.
Vietnam and Vietnamese genealogical research is a perfect example of this. Most Vietnamese family records are in the hands of the family clans. So if you want to find your Vietnamese genealogy, you may need to travel to Vietnam. You can read more about this with our blog Vietnamese Genealogy, Searching for Your Family History in Vietnam, by clicking here.
Some Possible Places To Research Before Your Journey
Here are some places you should check out for the local records when you are searching for your ancestors:
- Genealogical Societies, Organizations, and Libraries – Many places have Genealogical Societies, Family History Organizations, or Genealogy Libraries. Many of these societies, organizations, and libraries have paid or volunteer patrons with a lot of local genealogical and historical knowledge. You can try to search for these online. Many societies, organizations, and libraries also have websites, newsletters, and other information.
- Historical Organizations – Besides the Genealogical Societies, Organizations, and Libraries, you can also check out the historical organizations in the area. Though these historical organizations may not have actual records, they usually have some local historical knowledge to aid you in your search. Some of them may even have a local museum that you can visit with some information and genealogical data.
- Check out Repositories, Archives, or Churches – Many Repositories, Archives or Churches may have genealogical records. You may need to make an appointment in advance in many of these places. Try to get their information before you travel so that you will know if you need an appointment.
- Local Cemeteries – Try to find some information on local cemeteries and see if your ancestors are buried there. There are a lot of great websites that now have information on cemeteries and graves. One of the best websites to find this information is Find a Grave. You can find out more by clicking here. If you can find the grave of one of your ancestors, you may also find other family members buried near your family member when you go to the cemetery.
- Local Courthouses – Many of the local Courthouses also have some records that may not be online. It may be hard to get information for some of them beforehand, but you can try to find out what they have.
- Local Government Organizations – In some countries, some records may be kept at local government organizations or even police stations. This is why doing as much research ahead of time is important since you need to know if you need to contact local government organizations. Some of these local government organizations may also require you to prove you are related to the persons you seek to find. So it would be best if you knew this ahead of time to know if you needed to prepare or prove anything before you travel there.
Have All Your Research Information Organized
Make sure you have all your travel information in order before hitting the road! Research beforehand can save you many headaches – and time- while traveling. And having it organized means that finding the info will be quick and simple, so nothing holds up those exciting travel plans!
Types of Information to Organize Before Your Travel
There is a lot of information you should gather before your travel, especially if you are traveling to a foreign country. We have listed some basic information you can organize and gather before your journey.
The basic information would include:
- Contact and Address Information – It would be good to contact and address who to contact and where they are located. This will save you a lot of time when you get to your destination.
- Open Hours – You should also know what hours and days they are open.
- What Information They May Have – It would be good to know the information the organization may have for you to look at. This way, you will know if it is worthwhile to see them. I have often found that you may need to go there to know what information they have.
- If An Appointment is Required – It would be good to know if an appointment is required to view the information you want. If possible, you should try to make that appointment before you travel.
- If Other Data is Needed – It would be good to know if any other data is needed for you to get the information you desire. It would be best to try to prepare all this before you travel.
- Translation – For some places you visit, people may not speak English. Today, you can use some translators for general translations, but if you need to read some old records and are not experienced in this, you may need to hire a local translator. You can try to check out the websites Freelancer.com by clicking here or Smartcat by clicking here to find a translator.
Study The Maps Of the Area You Are Traveling
Take some time to study some maps of the area. I love to be able to study maps of the location so that I have a sense of direction of where I am going or what the area is like.
You can find a lot of information from old and new maps. If you have old addresses, land, or other records, you can also locate the areas on the map your ancestors lived.
Type of Online Maps You Can Check Out Before Your Journey.
Here are some very good online maps:
- Google Maps – Google Maps is one of the best online maps around. You can find out more about Google Maps by clicking here.
- OpenStreetMap – This global map has a lot of data about roads, cafes, trails, and cafes. You can find out more by clicking here.
- Bing Maps – Bing Maps is powered by Microsoft and has a lot of information. You can find out more by clicking here,
- Michelin Maps – This map is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Michelin Group, and they have good maps for Europe. You can find out more by clicking here.
- Mapquest – Mapquest is an American mapping service owned by AOL. You can find out more by clicking here.
Unearth the secrets of your past on a genealogical tour! From getting to know an area through its sites and culture to uncovering fascinating stories about ancestors you thought were lost in time, this adventure promises plenty of surprises.
Don’t just take our word for it – plan ahead so you can experience all these unique discoveries yourself!
Should I Get My DNA Done Before I Travel?
Before you travel on your family history tour, we find that getting your DNA done by one of the qualified genealogical DNA companies is a great way to confirm where your ancestors are from. You can read our blog 10 Tips for Preparing A Trip to Find Your Ancestors by clicking here. We have listed out the major Genealogical DNA companies.
Should I Interview Any Living Relatives Before I Travel?
Before you go on your family history tour, we suggest you take the time to interview some of your oldest family members and friends who may have valuable information to help you with your research and travels. You can read our blog 10 Tips for Preparing A Trip to Find Your Ancestors by clicking here. to find out tricks and tips on how to properly interview your oldest living relatives before you travel.