GenTraveling and oh, the funny things kids say


Happy Tuesday GenTravelers!

My last post was in honor of the new Netflix movie Guernsey, and although I’m a couple of weeks late, today’s post is in honor of the release of Christopher Robin (Disney’s new movie that was released on August 3rd). Why? Because I’m related to Winnie the Pooh, haha! Let me explain…

Last summer, my mother, my sisters and a few brothers-in-law went GenTraveling to England. Toward the end of our trip we stayed at Ashdown Park Hotel (photo above). We couldn’t go GenTraveling to Kent county, England to research our Ashdown ancestors without staying at such an establishment, right?  The hotel is close to Ashdown Forest and it is known that Ashdown Forest was A.A. Milne’s inspiration for his Winnie the Pooh books.

This Wikipedia article has an entire section about the Milnes, Ashdown Forest and Winnie the Pooh. Here’s just a bit of it:

“Christopher, who was an only child born in 1920 and whose closest childhood relationship was with his nanny, spent his early years happily exploring the forest. It is the Ashdown Forest landscape, and Christopher’s reports of his experiences and discoveries there, that provided inspiration and material for A.A. Milne’s stories. As Christopher Milne wrote later: “Anyone who has read the stories knows the forest and doesn’t need me to describe it. Pooh’s Forest and Ashdown Forest are identical”

So, here’s my funny story of how I’m related to Winnie the Pooh: My sister’s young daughter who was probably in 2nd or 3rd grade at the time, must have overheard us talking about our Ashdown family lines, and the conversation must have strayed to Ashdown Forest and Winnie the Pooh. Soon after this conversation, her daughter was at school and excitedly shared with her teacher and class mates that she was related to Winnie the Pooh!  (And if my sister’s daughter/my niece is related to him, I must be too! Right? haha!)

Oh, the funny things kids say!

Are any of you related to any fictional characters? :o)


GenTraveling to Guernsey Island


Hello GenTravelers!

In honor of Netflix releasing Guernsey today, I wanted to post about GenTraveling there. (I apologize if any of you haven’t read the book and aren’t excited as I am about the movie coming out! Haha!)

Are there any readers out there that are LUCKY enough to have ancestors from Guernsey? If I had family lines from Guernsey, visiting there would be on the tippy-tippy-top of my GenTraveling bucket list!

One lucky guy,  author George Matheson, wrote about his GenTravels to Guernsey in the March/April 2015 edition of YourGenealogyToday magazine. It is an excellent article with lots of tips and advice for anyone planning a visit there.  His excitement about the island is contagious and he begins his article explaining the thrill of finding his ancestral farmhouse:

“Holding an 1878 sepia photograph, I strolled along a quiet ruett (or country lane) until there in front of me was the same image: the old farmhouse in which my grandfather was born, with the steeple of the church in which he was baptized rising in the background.  That was in 2009. It was my first trip to Guernsey and my first taste of the excitement of what is widely referred to as “Genealogical Tourism” or as I prefer to call it “Ancestral Tourism”. It’s a curious notion — this idea of going back to a place where someone on the family tree once lived.”

If you are planning a visit to Guernsey Island, be sure to go read this excellent article.  Mr. Matheson included an entire page of resources, travel tips, accommodation recommendations etc.  I believe he mentioned he’d been back 5 times, so I’d say he is somewhat of an expert.  His closing words sum up many GenTraveler’s feelings as well:

“Genealogical/Ancestral tourism is, for me, not just about finding a farmhouse or a tombstone, but about exploring and enjoying the ‘world’ my ancestors lived in and seeing what that ‘world’ has become.”


So, are you planning your GenTraveling yet? Where do you plan to go? Be sure to share your GenTraveling Bucket list on our Bucket List Page.  GenTraveling: It’s the Real Deal Thrill!






GenTraveling – New Zealand & Switzerland


I read an amazingly incredible GenTraveling story in a news article recently: A young girl travels to New Zealand and meets up with a cousin that her uncle had contacted about family history, then a few years later unknowingly sits right next to this man’s brother on a train in Switzerland!  What are the odds???  My version of the story is obviously lacking many important details.  Go read the full article HERE.

I’m such a sucker for genealogical serendipity!  If you come across any other articles, be sure to send the links my way, ok? Thanks a million!


GenTraveling to Maine


Happy Tuesday GenTravelers!

Look carefully…can you see the established date on this Hope General Store’s sign? Yes, 1832.  I took this photo in May of 2018 on a GenTraveling trip to Maine.  It was a ‘Real Deal Thrill’ to realize I was looking at one of those old-time General Stores which was the hub of the community – where my ancestors most certainly shopped for flour or sugar or other daily necessities.  And how great is it, that it is still standing!?!

Since our trip to Maine was sort of a side-jaunt from our travels to Canada, I didn’t research Maine’s historical buildings – it was just a happy coincidence that we drove past this wonderful site.  But lesson be learned for future travels:  Check out the registered historical buildings where you’ll be going! It’s a fantastic boost for imagining your ancestors climbing the steps of an old store, home or church when you already have a  clear vision of the buildings they might have visited.

Many old buildings are listed on Historical Site Registers – others may not be.  But the local historical society could surely tell you where the older structures are located.  Of course, you’ll want to do as much research before your travels as possible.  Obviously, some buildings will have more significance to your family than others.

Yes, all of these reminders are common sense!  But sometimes common sense goes out the window when there is so much to find, to see and to do (which is always the case when you’re on a GenTraveling research trip)! What particular buildings do you hope are still standing where you’ll be traveling next?


GenTraveling and linguistics


Fair warning:  This blog post, as it relates to GenTraveling, is well…a bit of a stretch! :o) But really, if you think about it, language sort of travels, right? Words morph into other words all of the time!

I recently listened to a podcast where a linguist explained how Bob became the nickname for Robert and how Meg became the nickname for Margaret.  So, since these words (names) that are relevant to genealogy do some traveling/morphing, I thought I’d share this podcast with all of you, just because I found it interesting – even though the GenTraveling theme is a bit of a stretch.  You don’t mind do you?

Here’s the link to the podcast…(the name morphing explanations starts at about the 8:55 minute mark).

Lexicon Valley Podcast

After you have a listen, how about you go find all the Robert (Bobs) in your tree and start planning a GenTraveling trip to where they actually lived? :o)


GenTraveling – Friday Finds


Hello! I have some Fabulous Friday Finds to share with you!

All over the internet, there are articles about places where you might want to GenTravel to or some other aspect about GenTraveling! Each Friday I hope to share links to some of those articles. There might be one link, or if my time management skills are stellar that week, and I have time to hunt for more, I’ll link to more than just one. :o)

Here is this week’s:

This GenTraveler visited Williamsburg, Virginia multiple times (who says you should only go to your ancestral stomping grounds only once?)!  On her second trip, she had learned more about her genealogical connections to Williamsburg.  That’s how it goes – more research means even more reasons to return! If you have Virginia roots, you might want to go read about her travels.

Have a great weekend! Best wishes for finding those ancestors.  Are you planning your GenTraveling yet? Where do you plan to go? Be sure to share your GenTraveling Bucket list on our Bucket List Page.  GenTraveling: It’s the Real Deal Thrill!

GenTraveling – the chance to put things in context!


One of the best things about GenTraveling is the ability to put things in context – that extra bit of information that helps you understand your family history more completely. Before my GenTraveling trip to New York last year, of course I had done my homework.  I had located Margret Lewis’ gravestone on Find-A-Grave. This was the photo that was uploaded to the Find-a-Grave site:


In the same cemetery, there was also a gravestone for a Maggie P. Lewis – (was this the other unnamed daughter that was mentioned in the father’s obituary)??? If I would have relied only on the website details, I would obviously determine that there was not a connection between Margaret and Maggie since it recorded Margret as having died 8 months before Maggie would have been born:


However, after careful study of the uploaded Find-A-Grave photograph, it was determined that there was an error in translation.  The inscription was difficult to read, but after the Welsh word “Bu Farw” (died), the next word clearly starts with “Rha…” then 15, 1876. “Rhagfyr” is Welsh for December, – not February.  Therefore, if Maggie P. Lewis was born in October of 1876, it is possible that her mother could have died in December of 1876. With further research, I concluded that yes, Maggie was the daughter of Margaret Lewis.

This was the photo that was uploaded to the Find-a-Grave site for Maggie:


So I had done my homework before my trip.  I was pretty confident of my conclusions after I had analyzed all the data I could find online. But wowza! The photo that I personally took on my research trip (the photo at the top of this post) certainly put things more in context!  Compare the two photos from Find-a-Grave to the top photo. From the GenTraveling photo, you can see how closely Maggie’s stone is tucked up against Margaret’s.  Look at the size and proportions. Obviously I was even more convinced that my conclusion was correct after my GenTraveling trip!

Can I just say that Find-a-Grave is awesome!  But GenTraveling is even MORE awesome!?! It’s the Real Deal Thrill!