Most people are privileged enough to have at least a brief knowledge regarding their ancestry and roots. In fact, some people have been born and lived their lives not far from where several generations of their own family have been born, lived and died. However, a good share of the country’s population lives miles from where their ancestors even back one generation lived out their lives. Although the current responsibilities of careers and family keep people at a distance from ancestral cities or towns, people may find it inspiring and beneficial to venture on pilgrimages to places where grandparents or ancestors of past generations lived.
Choosing a Destination
Traveling to each spot where ancestors once lived is usually impossible, but one or two destinations may seem attractive above the others. Budget and time limitations must come into consideration, but going back to a location however humble or changed can be extremely rewarding.
Some planning is needed when the destination is chosen, and deciding who should go along on the trip is important. People can go alone, but sharing the experience with someone else is usually wise and much more enjoyable. At an age when they can understand, taking children is excellent because they can learn more about your past and their own.
On quests to find roots, having some information like addresses and dates are helpful. The addresses can lead to the house or the lot on which the house once stood. Knowing when ancestors lived in a place, people can look up or research in the local library and museums about the history of the area around the time when a grandparent or aunt moved to the area and lived. Finding specific sites can be as easy as looking for a bridge that a great-grandfather once built or where Uncle Henry had his law office.
Such a trip should not be a whirlwind, unless not enough time is available. Taking time to study the old streets and local historic landmarks helps a seeker to see what their ancestors saw. If the homestead has long disappeared, some other local historic buildings may have been standing during the lifetime of those ancestors. Even in large modern cities, some historic sites remain to tell the story of the past. Even if the family lived out of the town, they most likely made their way into town and saw those very same buildings.
If not many buildings remain from the time when the relatives used to live in the area, the visitor can still explore the area. The hills and other landscape features are usually the same. Some trees may still be standing that were growing long ago. For addresses in the heart of the city, entire streets may have changed. Still, visiting those same addresses and walking on the walkways in the area where a grandfather or great-grandmother used to live and work is uniquely special, a worthwhile experience. Then, taking in some contemporary attractions will help make the trip memorable like art galleries and performance arts venues, theme parks and public gardens.
Inspirations for the Future
Walking and driving tours are helpful, but so is staying in the area. Visitors can eat at local restaurants and stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast close to the family’s previous address. People can learn more about themselves by taking time to get to know the town, city and countryside where ancestors once lived their lives. The lengthy look into the past teaches about the future and inspires.