Family vacations are becoming a trip to find your roots.

find your rootsA trip down memory lane is no longer just a pleasant, nostalgic mental journey. Increasing numbers of genealogist are packing their bags and traveling to the lands of their ancestors to find their roots.

“If you’re interested in making such a trip, you’ll need to gather as much information as possible. “Start with what you know, and that’s you,” said Diana McCain, head of the research center at the Connecticut Historical Society. She suggested noting dates — birth, marriage and, in some instances, death — for you, your parents and close relatives, as well as searching your attic for newspaper clippings, obituaries and diplomas. Glean as much information as possible from living relatives. Ask them to relate old family stories, and if they know of any distant relatives who may still live in your family’s native country.”

“If searching for roots in the United States, you’ll need to determine where to find the records of births, marriages, deaths and property transfers, among others. Depending on the state and time period, it may be the county, town or state government or a combination of them that has the records. “Each state has unique resources,” Ms. McCain said, “and while there’s a tremendous amount of information online, there are vast collections of records that are available only on microfilm or in their original paper form in a government office.” Once gathered, the documents can provide an array of information about ancestors.”

“If your travels take you to a non-English-speaking country, consider enlisting the help of a local bilingual guide who can do some groundwork before your arrival. Travel agents and tour operators can help find someone for hire; the Association of Professional Genealogists ( is another source for finding researchers.”

Taking a trip to do genealogical research to find your roots can be a rewarding experience and is the highlight of many genealogists’ vacations. Whether you travel 30 or 3,000 miles to do genealogical research, preparation is the key to success.

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