Ancestral Travel / Finding Your Roots
Updated: Jan 29
If you are like us, and are obsessed with shows like “Who Do You Think You Are” and PBS' “Finding Your Roots”, then you no doubt are interested in ancestral travel. With the popularity of 23andme DNA tests, and websites like ancestry.com, there is no end to investigating your family roots.
Getting information – from churches records to historical documents – is as easy as ever thanks to the growing interest in seeking family roots. And as avid travelers, you know your family history research isn’t complete until you’ve visited your ancestral hometown and explored the place your family lived before they made their emigration journey. There are several tour groups and historians for hire, but sometimes it can be more fun uncovering the clues yourself! This ‘Heritage Tourism’ trend is more popular than ever and travelers are increasingly planning vacations based on their genealogy. In fact, according to a multi-country study done by Ancestry.com in November 2014, online family history research in the U.S. has grown fourteen-fold in the past decade. While 23andMe and ancestry.com are a good place to start to confirm where you family comes from, here are a few tour operators specializing in the field:
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection offers Jewish heritage excursions on its Remarkable Rhine itineraries.
Some operators, like the Ireland-based Adams & Butler have genealogists on staff. Just provide your personal history and the researchers will incorporate a visit to your ancestral village (or even your actual home) into a larger, bespoke Ireland itinerary.
In Sicily, the high-end villa company Thinking Traveller has partnered with Palermo-based Passage to Sicily, a local operator that can take you to your hometown or, perhaps, connect you with distant relatives.
For more than 25 years, Spector Travel of Boston has been curating African ancestry and culture tours across the continent, with a focus on Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. If none of its predetermined programs suit you, the staff can design a custom itinerary.