Combine hobbies with GenTraveling!


Hello GenTravelers!

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve been having a BLAST reading posts about road trips from Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” prompts.  Here’s another one that was SO inspiring at My Family’s Branches and Twigs.

It was a great post, but what inspired me was the thought of combining our hobbies with GenTraveling.  Now, I combine my hobby of traveling with my hobby of doing genealogy;  but Barbara goes one step further and combines travel, genealogy, AND riding motorcycles with her husband!

This got me thinking of all the different ways someone could combine their hobbies with GenTraveling.

My husband’s hobby is cycling (not the motor kind), but maybe we should plan a cycling tour with one of our GenTraveling excursions?

I guess I also typically combine my hobby of photography with my GenTraveling.

What are some of your interesting hobbies (other than family history)?  And is there a way for you to combine that hobby with GenTraveling?  I’d love to hear how creative people can be in combining their interests! (This might be dangerous! Something might sound so great that I’ll want to pick up a NEW hobby.  Like I need any more!!! Haha!)



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!


GET SMART and go GenTraveling

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Hello GenTravelers!

I was chit-chatting with a colleague the other day and she mentioned that it seems people think that eventually, computers, coupled with DNA, will be able to solve all our genealogy puzzles. Really? What do you think?

Soon after that conversation, I had the worst cold I’ve had in a decade and all I could do was sleep and watch Netflix.  So, while I was watching the action spy comedy, Get Smart, this scene sounded familiar (I hope you can read the caption):


Yes, we LOVE computer algorithms! We LOVE and appreciate all the digitization of historical records! Yet, human genealogists with hunches is where the real work gets done! So, I had some fun genealogizing the caption. And, you know me – I’d also say human genealogists that travel to where their ancestors actually lived, they get the real work done too!

Good luck with your research and best wishes for lots of (spot-on) hunches!

GenTraveling to Saint-Malo

st malo

Hello GenTravelers!

I recently read an excellent blog post at A Life Lived Full about traveling to Saint-Malo, France.  Joanne, the author, mentioned she wanted to visit Saint-Malo because her imagination was initially captured by reading about it in All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, but also because she has a family connection from that area.

If you have any plans to go GenTraveling to that area of France, be sure to take a peek at Joann’s post.  She gives an excellent overview of this fascinating walled city.  She has my attention! My husband’s roots (pretty far back) are from France.  I had to google how far from it was from his ancestral hometown of Lantheuil to Saint-Malo – only 2 hours!!!  My travel brain is spinning-planning-dreaming!


Saint-Malo also has ferry service to Guernsey! I’ll have to make a stop there too since I’ll be in the vicinity!

If you’re planning GenTraveling like I am, start your planning by familiarizing yourself with Saint-Malo at Wikipedia (link HERE), and be sure to do as much pre-research as possible.  See what records might be available in the area by visiting the FamilySearch Wiki (link HERE).  Perhaps your people may be in the France, Brittany, Church and Civil Records, 1521-1896 database on FamilySearch!

Let me know if you have French roots and if you’ve ever traveled there, or plan to. Best of luck with your research!


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!


Oopsies while GenTraveling


Hello GenTravelers!

Many of you probably know about, and may participate in, Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” prompts.  Lately, I have been having a BLAST reading a whole bunch of family history blogs about the recent theme of Road Trips (because, you know, I’m kind of into that sort of thing). Most posts were simply remembering road trips taken with family members, but my favorites were, of course, related to GenTraveling.

I had to share this one that I saw on a message board at


Oh! Yes, GenTraveling can often present us with opportunities to say “Oopsie” – or “we were in the wrong dang town!”  I’ve had a few minor “oopsie-moments” –  unfortunately, nothing too embarrassing (cuz that would be a good story!).  But, how about any of you? Any GenTraveling Oopsies you can share with us? I’d LOVE to hear about them!


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 to Norway


Happy Tuesday GenTravelers!

I’ve been making future plans for a GenTraveling excursion to Norway.  My hubby’s roots are from Norway and I’d love to visit there someday…eventually…sooner than later!

You know the famous line from Field of Dreams — “Built it and they will come”, right?  Well, I believe the same concept applies to planning GenTraveling excursions.

Plan it and it will happen!

And the reverse is also true:

If you don’t start planning it, it might never happen!

Nearly a million Norwegians emigrated to the United States in the 19th and early 20th century.  Lots of people have Norwegian roots and would love the Real Deal Thrill of GenTraveling to Norway.  Myself included – even though my Norwegian “roots” are my husbands!

Since I don’t have a firm date set for this excursion, I’ll just start with a digital folder of things to research, archives to visit, places to see, etc. And I always start with the basics of the language:


This website {HERE} has sound clips of how to pronounce the most common words that I might need while traveling in Norway.

Here is my list of websites to become familiar with while I’m planning:

The Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library in Madison, Wisconsin

Norway’s Digital Archives

A website with Biographies of Norwegian emigrants

And since I understand it’s super important to try and find out the farm name of our Norwegian ancestors, I found this resource helpful:

Historical Details about Norske Gaardnavne (Norwegian Farm Names)

That’s what is in my planning folder so far.  I just started the process, so if any of you have any great resources, travel tips for Norway or general advice, please send them my way! Have a terrific week and good luck climbing those family trees!


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 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! 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 are this week’s:

India (specifically, the village of Osian): This article at Binny’s Food & Travel Diaries is about a GenTraveling trip the author went on with prize money she won from another article about a GenTraveling trip. So you get to read about 2 awesome trips! And her photos and advice about traveling to India are terrific! I’m happy I found this site and I’m sure you will be too!

Scotland: This fun article (Home and away: That time I crossed the pond to find my Scottish roots) tells you about the author’s GenTraveling excursion in hopes to find some Lindsay family connections and has some good advice on visiting castles.

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 with the 6 Degrees of Separation Meme


As many of you may know, I’m sometimes pretty liberal with my definition of GenTraveling (as demonstrated in this post…and this post, and…okay, I’ll stop!)

I think we ALL know that while doing genealogy research, we can easily “travel” off-topic and end up, well who knows where! Occasionally the term used to describe this common divergence  is “I went down a rabbit hole”, or other similar genealogical-relevant verbiage.  Today, I want to make light of this unproductive tenancy – which I’m sure is familiar to genealogists everywhere!

So here is my version of the popular six degrees of separation meme:

#1. Death Certificate:  Today I was analyzing a death record that had very little useful information on it (lots of “Not Known” in the boxes!). The informant (if you could really call him that) was the Lowville NY County Home “keeper”. So, I went Googling…



that search connected me to #2. Poorhouse History where I saw an old postcard with a picture of the institution of where the fellow I was researching apparently died:


A related search sent me to the #3. National Archives where a web page explained a great project that will make almshouse ledgers available:

“In October 2015, under a grant generously funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the New York City Municipal Archives embarked upon a large and exciting new project: processing, preserving and cataloging the Almshouse Ledger Collection. This historic collection contains over 400 handwritten volumes pertaining to city-run institutions including the Almshouses, Workhouses, Lunatic Asylum, Penitentiary and various hospitals, which all found their home on Blackwell’s Island, now Roosevelt Island. The span covers the years 1758-1952. This important project will ensure that the Almshouse Ledgers are preserved for future generations of researchers, scholars, genealogists, educators and anyone interested in social, cultural and medical histories during this period of great change and growth in New York City.”


At the bottom of the National Archives page, there was this:


which sent me Googling about #4 Nellie Bly because I’ve never heard of Nellie – (have any of you???)  Apparently, she was a journalist who went undercover in a New York state asylum to investigate reports of brutality and neglect of its patients.  She wrote articles about it, which turned into a book entitled “Ten Days in a Mad-House“, then a movie, etc. etc.{find info about Nellie HERE}.

Another version of the movie just came out in January of 2019 called “Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story” and the character Nellie Bly was played by actress…

#5 Christina Ricci


and speaking of Christina Ricci…did you know that in 2006 she was on #6 PETA’s worst-dressed list, so after that we stopped wearing fur!  {HERE’s that 2006 list}

That, my fellow GenTravelers is how you go traveling WAY off topic! Those are the 6 degrees of separation – or aka unproductive genealogical researching! Haha!

If you want to participate in this meme, write up your own blog post about your 6 degrees of separation and be sure to send me a link!

Now, get busy and do some REAL research! :o)



GenTraveling to Upper Canada


Hello GenTravelers!

Well, my next GenTraveling excursion is coming up shortly! It is currently snowing here in my neck of the woods, so this chilly-looking photo of Lake Ontario seemed appropriate.  However, I’m hoping for MUCH warmer weather in a few weeks.  The plane tickets are purchased, the itinerary is sketched out, my list of repositories that I want to visit is….well, long and getting longer!

We (my hubby and I) will be GenTraveling to Upper Canada. You know, I remember being confused when I initially came across that term – it seemed so backwards that “Upper” was being referred to that area of the map – anyone else??? If so, here’s an explanation (per Wikipedia HERE):

The “upper” prefix in the name reflects its geographic position along the Great Lakes, mostly above the headwaters of the Saint Lawrence River, contrasted with Lower Canada (present-day Quebec) to the northeast.

But…back to my GenTraveling plans – the plan is to to circumnavigate Lake Ontario! Fun eh?  We’ll start our journey in Toronto, then travel King’s Highway 33 (aka Loyalist Parkway):

In 1784, following the American Revolution, the United Empire Loyalists began to arrive in Upper Canada, hoping to settle the frontier near Cataraqui (now Kingston). With the help of the military, the loyalists blazed a trail west from Cataraqui to Bath, a distance of 25 kilometres (16 mi). This trail would become a section of Highway 33 nearly 150 years later. [source]

I have loyalist ancestors that I need to research, so we’ll stop in at The Lennox and Addington Historical Society.

We’ll continue on and hopefully hit some waterfalls:

ontario waterfalls

We’ll explore the Thousand Islands region, then head down to New York (where I have MAJOR research to conduct – wish me luck and much success!),  we’ll head west and hopefully hit some lighthouses. I LOVE photographing lighthouses. By the way, did you know there is a Lighthouse Society?  Who knew! (I might have to join). Plus, they are nice enough to keep a list of Lake Ontario lighthouses up on their website. Thanks Lighthouse Society! [Link HERE] This is Sodus Point lighthouse and I even had a distant cousin live in Sodus Point for a while.  Possible research there too!


Next up is Niagara Falls and then back up to Toronto.  We’ll have gone full circle! I’m totally excited!  We’re going to pack A LOT into those 8 days!

Now, excuse me – I have a TON of prep-research to do!  Have a great day and good luck climbing those family trees!


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 with Google Maps


Hello GenTravelers!

How many of you are like me – who LOVE to go GenTraveling, but some months it seems like its just really hard to get away from your every-day responsibilities?  Those are the months when I get to do all of the pre-travel research and prepare as much as possible for a successful GenTraveling trip – when that eventually happens!

One tool I use A LOT is Google Maps….

  It’s like virtually GenTraveling!

Isn’t it amazing that when you find your ancestor’s address on a record, you can (sometimes) go and see the actual house they lived in?!?  I love it!

At the RootsTech conference last month, I attended a class on this very subject. It was taught by Amy Carpenter and she did an excellent job! I now know that I should take a much deeper dive into Google Maps!  She even graciously posted her presentation slides on her website (HERE).  You should go take a look!

Google Maps is fun, but it’s also a great research and analytical tool to connect people with places and places with people.  Let me know how you’ve used it in your research!

Have a great day and good luck climbing those family trees!


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 to 221b Baker Street


Hello GenTravelers!

This post will be a bit different because I feel a slight rant coming on!  OK, I’ll just get this off my chest:

What genealogical expert deemed “Negative Evidence” to be the two words “educated” family historians should use to refer to evidence that isn’t found in a particular record set when one would expect it to be there???

Why do I care?  I guess because I’m a simple gal who likes to keep things simple.  There is just too great of a chance of “Negative Evidence” being confused with “Negative Searches” (aka NIL searches) which are two very different things!

A few years ago, I watched a webinar by Judy Russell called “No, no, Nanette! What negative evidence is…and isn’t”  The webinar was excellent, as ALL of Judy Russell’s presentations are!  At the end of the webinar, Judy was taking questions from participants and even she got confused! Now, if you don’t know Judy Russell, she is highly respected in the genealogy industry – for good reason! She’s brilliant!  The day after the webinar, I got an email from the webinar organizers explaining that Judy realized that she mis-referenced something as “Negative Evidence” when it was actually just a “Negative Search” (or visa versa, I can’t remember)…but she wanted to corrected herself.  I say, if such terminology sometimes confuses the tippy-tippy-top experts in the field, we should come up with new terminology!

Alright, another rant: It’s my pet-peeve when people go on rants, and just do it to complain.  Usually they don’t offer any solution to the problem! Therefore, in order to not be a hypocrite, I offer this new terminology:


Yeah, yeah, it has more syllables, but tell me, would that new terminology get confused with “Negative Search”?  Not nearly as often (if at all, I would think, but that’s just me). So, how to get an entire industry to change its ways????  Who are the genealogical powers-that-be that could wave a magic wand and make everyone suddenly change their terminology? Sadly, I just don’t know.  If YOU do, (and if you agree with this rant), you know what to do, right?

But whew! I feel much better – thanks for letting me get that off my chest! :o)

So, by now you’re probably asking why we were originally going to go GenTraveling to 221b Baker Street!  Well, because one of the very good examples in Judy Russell’s webinar about Negative Evidence, I mean counter-expectational evidence was a story from Sherlock Holmes himself:

The Dog That Didn’t Bark:

“[T]he Inspector’s … attention had been
keenly aroused. … “Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my
“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes. [A. Conan Doyle,
“The Adventure of Silver Blaze,” The Strand Magazine (July-December 1892) IV: 645,

Judy went on to explain that counter-expectational evidence is “the absence of what should happen under a given set of circumstances” (You can read her free webinar notes HERE) – it was great!

If you ever get to travel to 221b Baker Street, you’ll find a great museum with lots of history and if you have the Doyle surname in your pedigree, maybe you’re somehow related!  (Then you’ll know where you got your keen genealogical puzzle-solving skills from!)

Alrighty! Good luck with all of your research – all that finding of direct evidence, indirect evidence and even counter-expectational evidence and then start planning your GenTraveling trip to where your ancestors actually lived! (And of course, pop in and tell me all about it in the comments below, or at least with a link to your site!)

Have a great day!