Friday, October 22, 2010

Why Roots Travel? Part 1

The internet has made obtaining genealogical records easier than ever. With the click of a mouse, a person can find out all sorts of information about their ancestors and the places those ancestors lived. Pictures of gravestones in cemeteries around the world can be found online. You can contact people in far-off places and they can take pictures of places related to your ancestors, upload the pictures, and email them back to you.

So why roots travel? What does roots travel have to offer that can not be found online or at your local family history center?

1. Roots travel creates a powerful connection to your past. 

When you are physically looking at the church your ancestors were married in, the feeling that you get is a connection much stronger than looking at a photograph. You are standing there, where your ancestor may have stood an hundred years before. It's almost as if your ancestor is standing there beside you acting as tour guide to their past, which is also your past. The place you are seeing had a part in shaping your ancestor's life, and therefore yours as well. It is an amazing and awe-inspiring feeling.

2. Roots travel creates a powerful connection to your travels.

We all know what it is like to travel the tourist trail. We walk through the horrendous lines into overcrowded museums that funnel everyone into the gift shop at the end. But roots travel is different.

Roots travel is almost always off the tourist trail. Somehow, everyone's ancestors seem to have come from tiny villages spread across the countryside. You have to travel closer to the ground. Bed and breakfasts are a common place to stay. And when you get there, there is no audio-guide. Your genealogical research is your guide. You walk where your ancestors walked. You talk to the locals; maybe you find the local historical museum. But it's all connected to you. This place you are visiting becomes your temporary home - a new consciousness seeps into you as you realize you ARE Irish, or Scottish, or wherever it is you are visiting.

Roots travel makes connections, and those connections are powerful.They are connections that shape your feeling for your family and for your ancestors. A picture is worth a thousand words, but but being there in person? That's priceless.

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