Friday, November 19, 2010

The Most Important Thing to Remember in Roots Travel

Put yourself in your ancestor's shoes to have a great roots travel vacation
So you want to go on a non-research roots vacation, where you would like to connect with places associated with your ancestor? That's great. Of course you want to have a great time. Luckily, there is only one thing you have to remember to make sure you have a wonderful trip. What is it?

Put yourself in your ancestor's shoes and try to see the world through their eyes.

Remembering this one thing will be the difference between developing a deep connection with your ancestral travel and merely taking another trip. Roots travel is about more than just checking off a list of tourist sites. It is even more than checking off a list of places your ancestors may have been. That's why it is so important to keep the above advice in mind.

Take a moment when you arrive at each destination to think to yourself, "This is where my ancestor came from." When you go into a church associated with your ancestor, don't just think of it as a place they went to. Sit down in a pew and think to yourself, "My ancestor may have sat in this very pew. Maybe their kids were baptized in that font over there." If your ancestors were married in the church, imagine the wedding party moving down the aisle. Become a part of that history for just a minute.

When you see a building that may have been around when your ancestor was there, don't dismiss it because you don't have a specific connection. Instead, think to yourself, "My ancestor may have seen that building every day. I wonder if she ever entered the building, or stopped and spoke to someone outside of that building." You have created a connection by placing yourself in your ancestor's shoes and seeing the world through their eyes.

Even if you know your ancestors were farmers, if there is a local castle or stately home, take some time to tour it. Imagine to yourself your ancestor, gazing up at the building wondering what went on inside. Now you, hundreds of years later, are fulfilling that dream for them.

If you try put yourself in your ancestor's shoes and see the world through their eyes, you will create connections that you hadn't even anticipated. Those connections will be powerful. It takes a bit of imagination to put yourself in their shoes. It takes a willingness to accept not just what is known, but what is possible as well. You may not know whether your ancestor sat in that specific pew or stood in front of that particular building, but it is possible. By accepting the possible, you open up the wonderful possibilities in the world of roots travel.

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