Here in the United States we are fortunate to be part of the “great melting pot”, with origins and ethnicities from all over the world. However, we don’t necessarily have the same sense of place our ancestors had, and some people long to make a connection with their heritage. An increasingly popular way to establish and strengthen these connections, is through travel.
A few years ago, a conversation with my mother spurred me to investigate the mystery of her mother’s, my grandmother’s, ancestry. Starting only with her name, the name of her father, and her city of birth, I searched through records, researched locations, connected with strangers (who became friends) in Spain to learn about her life and the family that came before her.
From that information I created a heritage trip for myself and my family.
Together we traveled back through time in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Madrid to see where she was born. We walked the streets of Toledo with a guide and learned that the neighborhood where my great-great grandfather lived and worked had been primarily filled with ceramic artisans, making it likely that he was one as well.
We visited an ancestral small town in central Spain, meeting distant relatives, visiting caves that hold religious importance, and enjoying an authentic Spanish lunch.
Of course, we also took time to visit other sites, riding scooters through Segovia and exploring Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia and the El Born neighborhood.
It was an enriching experience for the entire family in so many ways, but for me the ability to connect with my ancestors in this way was something truly special.
Maybe you have done some research into your family tree, or have your genetic information from one of the popular DNA services and wish to return to the places your ancestors once lived. Or maybe you are just getting started and don’t know where to begin. Perhaps you are part of a religious group looking to travel back to the origins of your religion.
I help people take their unique genealogy and history and bring it to life, whether that means a custom designed tour especially for you and your family or historical guided tours.
Bring me your information and stories, and through a collaborative process, we'll design the perfect heritage tour for you.
Photo Credit: Flytographer Orlando in Barcelona