GenTraveling – Should we travel to unpleasant locations?

andersonville

Hello GenTravelers!

If you’ve traced family members back to the nineteenth century, odds are you have some ancestors who fought in the Civil War. I hope you are planning a trip to where they actually lived.  But what about where they actually died?  Many family historians have ancestors that died in places like Andersonville Prison in Georgia.  Do you have any desire to visit there? Nearly 13,000 prisoners died there. Were any of them your ancestors?

Conditions in the Andersonville Prison were atrocious. Understandably, prisoner Robert H. Kellogg wrote, “Can this be hell?” because scenes like this were common:

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There are many such historic sites that conjure up unpleasant feelings. Do we visit these locations in order to firmly remind ourselves of the horrors that occurred there, and to do all we can to never allow those horrors to be repeated?  I hope so.  Just be sure to plan some other wonderful (and uplifting) locations on the itinerary for that GenTraveling trip as well!

Where have you GenTraveled to, that you would consider ‘unpleasant’?

Good luck for successfully researching your ancestors – and be sure to let me know where you are planning your next GenTraveling adventure!

GenTraveling to Open Air Museums

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Hello GenTravelers!

Isn’t it thrilling to go GenTraveling?!?  To visit your ancestral lands?  Yes, it is the real deal thrill! But some travelers can be discouraged because their ancestor’s former village is now a fast-pace urban area where is it nearly impossible to imagine what it may have been like when their ancestors lived there.

Thank goodness for museums that help bridge that imagination gap! I recently read of the Rhenisch Open Air Museum in Kommern, Germany which includes four villages that help family historians, and others, get a sense of what life used to be like. Their website (link HERE) mentions they have over 65 historical buildings!

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And Kommern isn’t the only city to offer this type of essential GenTraveling experience.  Apparently there are many throughout Europe. You might want to read travel expert, Rick Steve’s article, “Time Traveling at Europe’s Open-Air Museums“.

So, I know you all are planning your next GenTraveling trip, right?  In addition to court houses, libraries and archives, be sure to see if any museums are in the area and add a visit there to your itinerary!

Best wishes for successful research, and be sure to let me know where you plan to GenTravel next!

 

Goals, Goals & GenTraveling

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Since January 1st, I’ve read some terrific blog posts with some awesomely ambitious genealogical goals for 2019.  I was totally inspired!  (If you too want some inspiration, you can visit   The Genealogy Girl and/or Andersonology , and there are many more – just search them out!) Although it’s January 22nd, there’s still time to make a few new year’s resolutions, right?!?

After reading these inspirational posts, I came up with a very long list myself, but I don’t think I’ll publish it – because that’s a LOT of pressure, haha!  But I’m happy to say that I’ve already crossed off one of my goals:

*Attend a week-long genealogy institute course  {CHECK!}

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Last week I attended SLIG2019.   It was great! And now that goal will probably be a yearly goal from now on! Why?  Because I’m sold on the value of the course. The level of instruction was deep and concentrated (it’s a 5-day/all-day course), and the instructors are all experts in their field. I highly recommend it! The hardest part was deciding which course to sign up for!

To give you a taste of what is typically offered, here is what SLIG offered this year:

Course 1: The Family History Law Library  

Course 2: Beside, Through, and Beyond the Golden Door: Immigrants to the United States After 1890  

Course 3: Metes & Bounds Land Platting  

Regional Research

Course 4: Bridging the Gap: New England to the Midwest, 1780-1840  

Course 5: Researching New York: Resources and Strategies  

Course 6: Advanced Southern Research and Sources  

Ethnic Research

Course 7: 1619-2019: Four Hundred Years of African American Genealogy  

Course 8: Exploring Native American Research  

Countries & Languages

Course 9: Gothic Script and Fraktur: Reading Records of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, and the Czech Republic, plus German-American Church Books and Newspapers  

DNA

Course 10: Introduction to Genetic Genealogy  

Course 11: A Practical Approach: Establishing Genealogical Proof with DNA  

Methodology

Course 12: Researching Like a Professional  

Course 13: Burned Counties and More: Overcoming Destroyed, Missing or Non-Extant Records; Sources and Techniques/Methods  

Course 14: Advanced Genealogical Methods  

Writing & Summarizing

Course 15: Writing a Quality Family Narrative

 

So that goal is checked off! Yeah!  My other goals are, of course, to travel to various places where my ancestors actually lived.  You can be sure I’ll post about those trips!

How are you doing on your goals? Let me know, because one can’t have too much inspiration! Maybe I’ll add to my list, or get busy on next year’s list already!

Have a great week!

GenTraveling into the New Year

gentravrootsbrances

Hello GenTravelers! Happy 2019…(12 days into it)!

This year I hope to dedicate more time to this passion project (this blog about GenTraveling). It really does give me a boost to read about people’s GenTraveling adventures, to plan my own adventures and to research good tips and tricks on how to make traveling to ancestral hometowns successful.  I declare that, on average, I’ll post about once a week this year!

I’ve been traveling – but sadly, not really GenTraveling.  I recently captured the above photos of roots and branches on a trip to New Zealand and Australia (my ancestors are not from those areas, so we didn’t hit too many archives). So, even when I’m not specifically GenTraveling, I’m always thinking along those lines!

I also got thinking that a passion project should have a manifesto.  Here is what I came up with:

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I hope 2019 will bring many GenTraveling excursions – and not just excursions – many successful experiences in expanding my family tree, as well as getting to know more about the ancestors that are already on my tree!  The same hope goes for all of you, (if you dig that sort of thing too! :o)  GenTraveling: It’s the Real Deal Thrill!

 

GenTraveling and oh, the funny things kids say

Ashdownparkhotel

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

guernsey

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.”

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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

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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

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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

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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

fridayfinds

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!