We live in the information age which makes it convenient to conduct genealogy research without the need to leave your home. Most of the records and data are stored online and can be accessed whenever you need them. No matter how easy it may be to find information about your family, you are probably thinking about visiting your ancestors’ birthplaces once in a while. In this article, we will share some useful tips to help you plan your first genealogy research vacation.
What Is Genealogy Travelling?
Before we get down to the tips that help you plan your next trip more efficiently, let’s figure out what genealogy traveling is and what types of genealogy vacations are there. Genealogy traveling usually refers to a trip you make to visit your ancestors’ homeland and conduct your family history research. There are two main types of such trips:
If you are planning to visit the land of your ancestors where you have never been before or don’t speak the local language, it might be better to book a genealogy tour organized by the locals. Such trips are usually focused on visiting local libraries, archives, and even cemeteries where you can find information about your ancestors. These types of tours can be group or individual ones.
Independent genealogy trips
If you are not a fan of working with tour operators, you can plan a trip of your own. You are free to visit any places you want without following a strict tour plan. However, it is still important to plan your trip in advance to make sure you have everything you need to feel comfortable during your vacation.
Tips for Planning Genealogy Research Trips
Even though genealogy vacations have a lot in common with regular trips, there are some things you should think through before you get on a plane. These tips will help you get started.
Plan your genealogy trip ahead of time
All of the genealogy research trips should be planned in advance. There are so many things to think of: from getting proper travel documents to booking a place to stay. With the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting our lives, make sure to check whether you need to get a vaccine or be tested for infection before your trip according to the specific restrictions of the country you are planning to visit. You also need to decide what places you want to visit and what genealogical goals you pursue.
Conduct research before the trip
Doing research while being in the place you’re visiting for the first time is not the best idea. We recommend learning as much as you can about your family before you go on a trip. For example, ask some of these family history questions to your family members to find out more about your ancestors’ past or any other information you can use during your trip.
Make copies of your family history documents
Don’t take original documents related to your family histories such as records or family pictures. Make copies to take with you, especially if you want to show them to local researchers.
Find a guide
Get some help from local researchers and guides to show you around the area or drive you to the place you need. Guides can also help you with the translation, especially in small villages where people don’t speak a word of English. Try contacting genealogical societies in the area to find a local guide.
Pack your luggage wisely
Besides clothes and toiletries, make sure you take all the necessary research materials such as a laptop, camera, maps, and a notebook to make notes along the way. Pack only stuff you will need and leave extra space in your luggage to bring back mementos.
Even though you are taking this trip to do research and learn more about your family’s past, you should still take it like a real vacation. Relax and be opened up to every opportunity this road trip can offer you.
Once your trip is over, use all of the data discovered and pictures were taken to create a unique family tree with the Treemily builder. Share your findings with the entire family like if they were on vacation with you.