Wow. You’ve started gathering information on your ancestors and all kinds of questions start popping up and you decide you want to take on traveling for adventure in exploring where they lived and learning more of the history of their origin. Even traveling within the country can be quite an expense. I hope to share with you a few ways that you can cut your cost in your travel exploration.
Make A list
I have been putting together a travel plan for myself. My hope is to next year visit Germany. I have three family lines that originate in Germany, BLUM, MOSSINGER, and NUTSCH, so I am gathering information on the cities that I would like to visit and what I will want to explore while I am there. My traveling buddy is so understanding when it comes to my genealogy search that he has agreed to go with me but insisted that I know
where I want to go,
what I want to see,
and who we plan to visit ahead of time.
Basically I’m doing research to find the names of the cities and villages that I want to visit and making list of exactly what I want to see while I’m there. In my records I have quite a bit of information gathered on the area and I know what I want to visit when I get there. There will be of course things that you have not thought of until you get there so make sure to plan for enough time.
One thing especially, I was told by Great Uncle Martin after his visit, was that he ran out of time while visiting the church records or could have gotten back a lot farther. (He got back into the 1500s) Keep in mind how old your cities are that you are wanting to visit. Write out a list of all the people you want to explore information on while you are there. Find out where you might find those records in advance and make arrangements ahead of time for your visit so you are sure you have an appointment if needed. You can find a bit of information on the German Church Books here.
KNOW YOUR HISTORY
Knowing a bit about the history of the area during the time your relatives lived there will be of great help to you also. I have been reading about the history of Germany for years but have been refreshing my memory so I will be prepared for the questions that I’m sure will come up. I also write down my questions when I think
of them in a notebook that I can take with me. Even if I find the answers I’m sure there are going to be things I will want to see based on some of the questions. There are some great books on the subjects at
Write out a list of all the people you want to explore information on while you are there. Make a spread sheet or fill out your pedigree charts with as much information as you know on them and keep notes of what it is you don’t know so you will have it handy to do your search.
Organize your family members into towns and groups so you don’t miss anything while you are in the area. Too many times I have found after I returned from a trip that there was more information available to me and I missed it. (I am NOT the ORGANIZED genealogist!) Yet, this realization causes you to make another trip! Nothing wrong with that RIGHT?!
Do you know if you have relatives there that you can visit? I know that my BLUM family line still has relatives in Germany so I am already building a relationship with them so that I might pay them a visit. Having relatives in the area that you are wanting to explore will make your visit to a new country a little less stressful. They will be able to guide you or even accompany you to areas that you would otherwise have to find on your own. Before my great uncles died, they made a tract back to Germany and were able to get around quite easily with the help of the relatives there. There was also a great reunion planned for them to get to know the younger generation that they had yet to meet. I so wanted to visit Germany when my sons were there in the service. Exploring the family history with them would have been such a wonderful experience and perhaps some of my addictive behavior would have rubbed off on them!
Language could be an obstacle. This might be something you might want to address in advance. Having one person that speaks your language could help tremdously.
Don’t forget your passport!
Give yourself plenty of time to get your passport so if there are any problems you won’t feel the pressure. Several years ago my mom, my sister, and I planned a trip to Portugal and Mom had a bit of a glitch in getting her passport due to the fact she was born at home. I don’t recall what the procedure was exactly, but give yourself plenty of time. If you don’t already have a passport, don’t fall for the online ads claiming they will help you. It isn’t that hard to do it yourself and you will save yourself the fee they charge for their “help”.
PLANNING YOUR BUDGET
We all know how expensive it is to do anything these days so plan your budget carefully. I have found that having a membership to a private travel platform will cut your traveling cost and your hotel cost in half.
Do a little comparison shopping and you will find awesome deals. The membership cost will more than pay for your savings.
I do hope this gives you some value. Please leave me a few comments and tell me where you are going to to.
The Pierce Family Historian