Family History Journey: Visiting Ancestral Towns

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My paternal great-grandmother’s line has a long history as founders of the town where she was born. Her parents were born there, my grandmother was born there, and my father grew up in the same place, before emigrating to the U.S.

My grandmother, who still lives there, lives minutes away from the house where she grew up. Each time we visit her, it’s like going back in time to see the places where she spent her childhood as we relive my ancestors’ history.

As a child, I remember visiting my family and hearing my grandmother’s stories. As I heard the history, I was also seeing the places her stories described. It’s exciting to add those geographical locations to the history of our ancestors.

Even if your family has emigrated to a new town or country, it can be exciting to plan a family trip to visit ancestral towns. While there, you can visit the important places in your ancestors’ stories, such as where they lived, where they went to school and more.

In the past, we’ve offered tips for visiting ancestral towns and planning a family ancestral trip. In these towns, find libraries, an historical society or even a local museum to learn more about when your ancestors lived there and to provide perspective for your family history.

Visiting these towns is a great way to look deeper into your own family history. Take photos of the places your family lived and discover new information to enrich your family tree.

Have you traveled to your ancestors’ towns? Share your own experiences – and tips – in the comments below.

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  • Linda Winters Vallee


    March 6, 2015

    My grandmother was the one who asked me in early 1980 to help her put a small family tree book together for a Family Reunion we were having in 1984 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I forgot that she had nine children of her own …. and then there were the grandparents and grt grandparents …. and so it began. She was born and raised in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba and her family were early settlers there! I was so lucky to have her with me until 2000 as we walked the streets and through her I was able to find places that will always be ‘home’ to me.

  • Janice Costello


    March 6, 2015

    My Grandmother was born in Whitburn Scotland, 12/13/1897 and came to the US when she was three. Her name was Anna Robertson Aitken.

  • Julie Bauer


    March 8, 2015

    This spring I am visiting PA towns where many ancestors lived, died, founded churches, got married, built portions of Penn State, and are buried. Three were Revolutionary War soldiers.

  • Doris Hartin nee Chamberlain


    March 12, 2015

    I never knew my Grand parents but as a child i did meet my Fathers kin and also my Mothers, in my teens a neighbour who was elderly told me my Grandfather who was an Oil and Colour man used to supply the people of the area with household goods including the big house where i grew up in Hackbridge Surrey uk i can remember as a child when Princess Marina was married my father and i were at the Gate to Buckingham Palace i was on his shoulder as the coach came out