Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

I am going to be taking a break from writing over Christmas. Wishing you and your family (and its roots) a very merry Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thoughts About Tiny Villages and Ancestors

Lately I have been trying to put together a potential escorted tour to Ireland for people with Irish ancestry. One of the difficulties that I run into is that an escorted tour will not be able to hit all the different cities and towns that those ancestors actually came from. Instead, it has to be more of a general overview.

One way of resolving that problem is to have the escorted tour followed by personal time to explore Ireland. That way people can visit their ancestors' villages but also get a good overview of the country they lived in.

While I've been doing this, I have also been thinking about the way it seems that everyone's ancestors came from tiny villages instead of large cities. Why is that? You would think more people would have ancestors from London, for example, instead of some little village way out in the English countryside.

Maybe it is just a perception I have because people enjoy visiting those villages and trying to find their ancestral church or cemetary. It would be interesting, though, to run into someone who's ancestry comes primarily from large cities like Boston, New York, London, Berlin, Dublin, et cetera. I'm not saying I don't like working with small villages. Actually, I like it quite a bit. I'm just making a general observation.

No matter where ancestors hail from, though, their homes are worth visiting. Whether it is a small village or a large metropolis, roots travel is the way to go.

P.S. Don't forget to vote for Roots Traveler in the Family Tree 40!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vote For Roots Traveler In The Family Tree 40

Each year, Family Tree Magazine holds a vote for the 40 best genealogy blogs. The blogs are divided up into eight categories, and you vote for five blogs in each category. You can find the announcement here.

I was surprised to find out that this blog was nominated in the NEW BLOGS category! I don't know who nominated me, but I'm delighted to be among this list of so many great genealogy bloggers.

So now I need your help. Voting has already started and continues until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, December 20. You can vote as often as you want to, so use the old phrase "Vote early and vote often" as your motto.

There are a lot of great blogs in every category. DearMYRTLE has a sample ballot and links to each blog so you can check them out yourself and vote for your top 40!  Now is a great time to discover some really great genealogy blogs. Just make sure you vote for Roots Traveler in the NEW BLOGS category! Tell your genealogy-loving friends and family to vote too.

Here's the link to vote:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Collaborative Roots Travel Map

Have you done roots travel? Share it with all of the readers of this blog. I just put up a page with a map of the world on which I will document the roots travels of readers of this blog.

Genealogy is very much a collaborative effort. This map is as well.  Just advise Roots Traveler of where you have been and your travels will be put on the map. Then, if you are planning roots travel to a particular area and want some advice, you'll know who to contact!

By giving your username and travel locations, you are consenting to have your information placed on the map for everyone to see. But isn't that what genealogy is all about?! Let's see if we can blanket the map with roots travel!

There are two ways to share your information: leave it in the comments below, or email me at info [at] familyrootstravel [dot] com.

EDIT: The map can be found on here permanently so it is easy to find, but I am adding it to this post as well.

View Roots Travel in a larger map

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Ulster-Scots and Roots Travel in Northern Ireland

As a travel agent, I am always interested in learning more about different places and cultures. This coincides well with my interest in roots travel.

This week I found out more about a group of people called the Ulster Scots. These people were from the lowlands of Scotland but moved to Ulster (the settlements were called the Plantation of Ulster) in Northern Ireland. Eventually most of them moved to America. It's a fascinating story, one that highlights the history between Ireland and Great Britain.

I recommend learning more, especially if you think you might have Ulster-Scot heritage. You can find out more about the Ulster-Scots from the great article I read. Or you can go to the website for the Ulster-Scots Society of America or the very informative Ulster-Scots Agency website. The BBC even has a website devoted to the Ulster Scots at Finally, there's a great and informative website put together by the Ulster-Scots Agency on the Plantation of Ulster.

Naturally, this got me wondering whether there was a museum in Northern Ireland dedicated to these Ulster-Scots. Such a museum would be a great place to start one's roots travel. Turns out there is one: the Monreagh Ulster-Scots Irish Heritage and Education Centre in County Donegal. This museum would be a must-stop visit on anyone with Ulster-Scot heritage visiting Northern Ireland.

For a more general look at emigration from Ulster, one could also visit the Ulster American Folk Park. While this living history museum does not focus on the Ulster-Scots, it does talk about the experience of emigration from Ulster to America, so it is definitely a helpful place to get closer to your ancestor's experiences.

It never ceases to amaze me how much history there is around the world. The Ulster-Scots are a part of history I had never heard of, but I am now thinking of including it on an Irish heritage tour I am planning. Not only because I think that Northern Ireland would be a great place to travel, but also because I think it would be a great place to do roots travel for anyone with Irish or Ulster-Scot ancestry. Only by learning about all the different aspects of a country's history can one truly understand their ancestors.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Living History Museums: Museum of Welsh Life

In an earlier post, I wrote about Living History Museums and the benefit they can be to your roots travel. One of the museums I mentioned was the Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans, Wales. This post will review that excellent museum.

The Museum of Welsh Life is, in my opinion, an absolute necessary stop on any Welsh roots travel itinerary. The museum reviews Welsh life at home and work over the last five hundred years. Located just west of Cardiff, the museum is on the grounds of St Fagans Castle on about 105 acres.

The museum has two parts: the galleries and the museum grounds. Both should be visited by anyone with Welsh ancestry.

The galleries include farm vehicles and implements, Welsh costumes and textiles, Welsh instruments, folk customs, and much more. It is a great overview of Welsh custom and culture that will really connect the roots traveler with their ancestors.

The highlight of a visit to the museum, though, is the museum grounds. The grounds include numerous buildings from around Wales. These buildings come from different time periods and regions and have been painstakingly reconstructed on the grounds of the museum. The visitor can see a typical pigsty, bee shelter, farmhouses, cottage, church, and even a row of iron worker's houses. These are just a few of the buildings represented.

Walking through the museum and its grounds is like gaining access to the time of your ancestors. For anyone who wants to connect with their Welsh ancestry, I definitely recommend the Museum of Welsh Life as a stop on their vacation.

Museum of Welsh Life website: