Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Festivals and Fun

If you are planning a trip to visit your roots, it's a good idea to check out whether there are any local festivals you might be able to plan your trip around. Local festivals can give you a flavor of the area that you won't necessarily find in the cemetery or the local church.

An example of such a festival is the National Eisteddfod held every August in Wales. This festival celebrating Welsh heritage and culture travels to a different town every year but consistently showcases Welsh culture, music and visual arts. Not only that, but the entire festival is held in Welsh. But I don't understand Welsh, you might say. That is part of the point. You want to experience everything the destination has to offer, whether in English or not.

You can usually find out about a festival by googling the place you are going or by contacting the local tourist bureau. The tourist bureaus always have a wealth of information and you should be contacting them anyway before your trip.

So make your roots travel something to celebrate, by celebrating your heritage at a local festival.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Lusitania

On my recent trip to Ireland, a tour I was on stopped at a small cemetery outside Cobh. In the cemetery there are three mass graves for passengers from the Lusitania whose remains were never identified or never retrieved by relatives. 1198 people died, of which 148 were buried in this cemetery.

The Lusitania was a passenger ship torpedoed early in World War I. You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

Tammy over at Genealogy Pure and Simple has given me the "One Lovely Blog Award." I'm not sure what makes my blog lovely, but I am honored to accept this award. However, there are some requirements (one of which I'm going to break).

Now to accept the award the rules are as followed:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.

2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.

3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I have to admit that when it comes to these things, I tend to be a bit of a party pooper, and this time is no different. The thought of highlighting 15 blogs is a bit overwhelming, so I'm only going to highlight 4 blogs at this time, but they are definitely worthy of the award.

1. London Roots Research
2. Welsh Genealogy
3. The Scottish Emigration Blog
4. Heritage Happens

These are definitely blogs to read, if you have any English, Welsh or Scottish genealogy, as I do. They are well written and interesting, and they could all be called lovely.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Some Ireland Photos

Below are some photos from a recent trip to Ireland, researching a few places for the Irish Ancestry Heritage Tour I am putting together.

Blarney Castle

Cobh Heritage Center

Irish Emigration from Cobh

Ring of Kerry

Bunratty Folk Park
Irish Cemetery
Cliffs of Moher

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Things to Ask Yourself When Planning Your Roots Travel

Roots travel takes planning.  You need to at least know where your relatives lived, of course. You might also want details of what church they were christened or married in, what street they lived on, or any number of other interesting tidbits.

So if you are planning an ancestral trip, you'll want to ask yourself a few things:

1. Do you plan on researching on the trip?

Roots travel can be for research purposes or it can be just to get a feel for the area your ancestor lived.

2. Will your roots travel be the main focus of your trip, or will it be a side trip during your vacation?

Be realistic when planning your vacation --do you have enough information to keep yourself busy for the whole trip? If not, can you plan it as a side trip (i.e. vacation to London, but with a side trip to Steeple Ashton).

3. Will you be specific or general?

Do you want to get an overview of the country, county, city and culture? Do you want to visit specific places connected with your relatives or ancestors, such as a specific house, street or church. You need to decide before you leave on your vacation what you want to see so you can plan ahead. For example, if you want to visit a specific church, you might want to find out when it is open.

4. What are your expectations?

You may find that the street your family lived on is now a factory. Will you still feel fulfilled? Do you have more general places you can visit if the specific places are not available.

5. Are you ready to immerse yourself in the culture?

Some people travel without ever immersing themselves in the culture. As a roots traveler, you don't want that to happen. You want to immerse yourself in the culture, warts and all.  You want to take the opportunity to eat with the locals, etc. Whether it is the Southern U.S., England, Germany, or Japan, remember that your ancestors came from the place you are visiting. You have a heritage in that culture. Make it part of your own inner cultural self.