Research Family Heritage on Ancestry.com then Plan Your Vacation

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How Many Branches are on Your Family Tree?

How Many Branches are on Your Family Tree?

I recently read an article about what’s on people’s travel bucket list and “researching family heritage” was one of the top activities. Before visiting a travel planning site explore Ancestry.com  to learn more about your family heritage. You may be surprised by what you find and inspired to plan a vacation to see where your family roots originated.

What do you know about your family tree? My tree is more than a branch-less telephone pole and before St. Patrick’s Day weekend this year, I only knew of a few immediate branches. During that weekend Ancestry.com opened their Irish Collection to free access. I took what Irish family information I had including what little I learned while in Ireland and began my journey. Like all good trips, it led me down an unexpected road.

What I Found One Weekend on Ancestry.com
Unbeknownst to me, someone in my extended family had built a family tree which began with my great-great-Irish grandparents, Patrick and Bridget Gorman, and ended with either my mom or oldest uncle. I don’t know which because it just had one child of my grandparents listed.

For my grandfather with Slovak parents, it branched off and led me to learn about some of his family. Intrigued, I registered for the free, two-week trial which provided me access into a message board. There, I found a distant relative had posted information about my grandfather’s family including the name of a relative who, at the time of the post, was still alive and this distant relative had been in communication with her.

Waterworks flowed from my eyes. This was the FIRST time I had ever read anything about his parents, grandparents and this distant relative who is probably still alive. Born in the United States, my grandfather grew up leaning English and Slovak but he never spoke Slovak in his adult life. I was told it was because it wasn’t accepted to speak another language other than English. The irony is, while his family was trying so hard to fit into America, their culture wasn’t passed down to those of us who wanted to know about our family heritage.

I wish I could tell you this Ancestry.com finding led to a joyous overseas reunion, but my research pretty much ended there, for now. I didn’t fully use my two-week trial because work and life got in the way. Thankfully, Ancestry.com makes it VERY easy to cancel the two-week trial. Even though I needed to provide a credit card at registration, my card was never charged and I could cancel my membership online which I really appreciate. Typically, companies that offer free trials make you call and talk to a specialist trained in making you say “yes” when you really mean “no.”

My Grandpa B. Served in WWII with the Coast Guard

My Grandpa B. Served in WWII with the Coast Guard

What Does Ancestry.com Offer?
That online journey made me realize I found something truly valuable to my heritage that I didn’t know was missing. If I dig a little deeper, what else can I find on Ancestry.com?

Well, Ancestry.com membership offers:

  • Access to the largest collection of genealogical data available online which includes billions of historical records from around the globe.
  • An easy, simple way to organize, grow and share your family tree online.
  • Ability to explore your family’s homeland and find immigrant ancestors.
  • Connect with other members.

AARP Members Can Save on Ancestry.com
Membership has its privileges and AARP members receive 30% off the Ancestry.com World Explorer Membership. This allows users to explore their family’s homeland with access to all international and U.S. records on Ancestry.com. Already an Ancestry.com member? Contact them directly and they’ll apply the discount when your membership renews.

Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel of what’s been a very busy winter and spring, I’ll be re-evaluating my Ancestry.com membership to see what else I can learn about my family tree. I hope to return to Ireland soon to learn more about my Irish heritage and hope to journey to Slovakia to meet family.

Do you have an interest in traveling to your family’s motherland?

Disclosure: I attended Life@50+ as a guest of AARP Member Advantages. They have not reviewed this post and opinions are my own.

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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1 Comment

  1. My sister in law started researching my dad’s family and we found out everything he had told us about his dad wasn’t true. We always thought his dad was a Russian Jew and apparently they actually were Romanian. Its a bit shocking to me, since I have learned to think of myself as a quarter Russian, but also because the story of Romanian Jews during the Holocaust is especially horrible. My grandfather was gone by then but I can’t help but wonder what happened to his family.

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