Traveling to Discover Your Family Tree and Your Roots

Traveling to Discover Your Family Roots

Traveling to experience new cultures, people, and places is always an amazing and eye-opening experience. But if you travel to discover your family roots and learn of your ancestor’s stories, travel can be even more meaningful.

We can learn a lot about ourselves and our family roots when we travel and meet family members in faraway lands and places. We can learn from them about the lives of our ancestors who have gone before us. Knowing our family roots can give us a sense of belonging. When we get to know the stories of our ancestors, it can inspire our lives.

There are many reasons why traveling to discover your family roots can be the journey and adventure of a lifetime.

Travel to Discover Your Family Roots

Travel is an amazing adventure. If you do your travel right, you will meet a lot of great people along the way. And in many cases, these will people change your life forever.

But one of the best ways to travel is if you have an added purpose or meaning to your travel. And one way you can do this is to travel to a foreign place and walk the roads where your ancestors have gone before you.

Like any good trip you are planning, the more you prepare for the travel adventure, the better the journey will be. To find out more about how to prepare a trip to discover your family tree, you can read our blog on 10 Tips for Preparing A Trip to Find Your Ancestors by clicking here.

I have traveled to parts of Europe and while I was there met with some long lost relatives. These fourth or fifth cousins of mine had me over for a lovely dinner at their home in Germany. I enjoyed spending the evening with them and sharing all we had in common.

Here are some things I learned as I traveled to discover my family roots:

  • Connection and Belonging – I felt a real connection to the place I was visiting. I was no longer just traveling through a place, but now I felt like I had a real sense of belonging.
  • Discovered Things Did Not Know – I discovered from my relatives about their stories and lives and learned things I did not know. These were things that helped me with my travels and also with understanding my family heritage.
  • Sharing of Things in Common – When you meet with a relative you have never met before, the cultural barriers all go down and are no longer there. You both now share something in common. You share the same blood and DNA.

Discovering your family history and your roots also help to give you an understanding of your own life. Marcus Garvey. a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, said this about knowing our family history:

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

Marcus Garvey

Knowing Your Family Roots Gives You A Sense of Belonging

I count myself lucky as I grew up in a home where my mother told us many of our ancestor’s stories. We spent many Sunday evenings around the dinner table as she told us about those members of our family who had gone before us.

As human beings, we naturally desire attachment, belonging, and a sense of connection. The relationship we form with the people who mean the most to us in our lives can be compelling and enduring. Not just those people who are presently in our lives but also those who have gone before us.

The Family Search website said this about the importance to know where our family roots have come from:

“Knowing our cultural background and where we came from can help us develop a strong sense of who we really are. The way we relate to our family stories and create our own narratives about ourselves helps establish our unique, authentic core identity.”

Family Search Website Blog

Why Our Family Roots and Family Stories Matter?

Our family stories matter, as they help to give us a sense of who we are. For some, the stories may be painful and difficult. But even with the painful and difficult stories, we can learn lessons of survival, courage, and resilience from these family stories.

Our family stories can teach us that even though those who have gone before us may have struggled, they survived. Their survival stories can give us the courage to keep on going when things are difficult in our lives.

These family stories can be an inspiration to us all. Rudyard Kipling, the journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist, said it best when he said:

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

Rudyard kipling

It is the family stories that we remember. It is these same family stories that we retell to others. Dates, times, and exact names of our ancestors may be forgotten, but it is their stories that remain in our hearts forever.

Why Travel to Discover Your Family Roots?

There are many reasons why you should travel to discover your family roots and your family stories. Here are some reasons:

  • Give Your Travel Meaning – Even if you only spent part of a day and saw one family member on a two or three-week trip, it will probably be that one day you may remember most. Traveling to meet or see some family members helps to give you travel some new meaning.
  • Increases Your Understanding – Even if you cannot meet any relatives, it will still help increase your ancestors’ understanding. Many years ago, I visited a small town in China, where my grandfather taught school. This was also where my Uncle and Aunt were born. I saw the house they had lived in and walked the streets they had walked on. I did not meet any relatives on that trip, but I did increase my understanding of my grandparents’ lives in China.
  • Belonging – Traveling to where your ancestors have lived and discovered their stories will give you a real sense of belonging. We are all a combination of our culture, history, and traditions inherited from our families. Traveling back to your family roots will help you see, understand, and experience this on a whole new level.
  • Experience the Stories – Traveling to where your ancestors have lived will also help you learn more about their lives’ stories and experiences. You can eat some of the foods they ate, see some of the countrysides they saw and experience a bit of what their life must have been like for them. This will help you to have more of an understanding of them and their lives.

Travel is an amazing experience in and by itself. Adding a new dimension to your travels to discover your family roots will inspire your journey even more. You will come out of this experience with stories from your ancestor’s lives and with a real feeling of belonging.

Related Questions

How Can I Prepare An Independent Family History Tour?

Before you decide to travel to your Ancestor’ hometown, there are some things you should do to make sure your family history tour is successful. First, you must research as much genealogy as possible before you actually travel. You should then do some local research on the areas you are traveling to; learn about what places you should visit. Also, take some time to study the maps of where you are traveling.

You can read our blog Tips To Preparing Your Own Family History Tour by clicking here.

How Can I Find My Family History For Free?

To find your family history, you should first take the time to do some genealogical research. This would include interviewing your oldest relatives or friends in person or over the computer or phone. Organize your genealogical records onto an online program. Do a lot of your genealogical research online. Consider also getting a DNA Test. Contact and research places you can visit to find the records you are looking for.

You can read more ideas by reading our blog 10 Tips for Preparing A Trip to Find Your Ancestors by clicking here.

Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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