07 July 2017

Take a Genealogy Vacation This Summer

I take the most exhausting vacations known to mankind. There's no sitting by the pool. There's no lying on the beach.

There's tons of sightseeing and a painful amount of walking. But I love it that way.

My major vacation for 2017 ended on Monday. Now I want to map out some shorter-distance, shorter-length genealogy vacations for this summer. And you should, too.

Last summer my husband and I planned a trip to the Finger Lakes of New York, knowing that my grandmother was born in Hornellsville, 45 minutes west of Cornell. So we booked a hotel in Cornell and made our sightseeing, winery-touring plans.

On the way west, we drove past Cornell and went straight to the house where my grandmother lived as a little girl. It's most likely where she and her brother were born. We visited the local library searching for evidence of my great grandfather. And we walked along the railroad tracks by the station where he worked.

Here's what I learned from that side-trip: Plan better!

Using my family tree software, I can find nearby places I should visit.
Using my family tree software, I can find nearby places I should visit.

We discovered that my great grandfather's railroad station is now a museum, but it wasn't open that day. We drove past the church where one of my great grandmother Caruso's brothers got married, but I didn't think to go in. My great grandparents were probably married there, too. I later discovered on FindAGrave.com that many of my Caruso relatives are buried in that churchyard.

Oh, the horror! I have to go back and spend a couple of days there sometime.

My grandmother's house was almost a five-hour drive away. What can I do that's much closer—that I may be able to do in one long day or short weekend?

Think about your family tree. Which of your ancestors lived or spent any time in a place that's not too far from where you are now?

Is there a graveyard you should visit? Does an ancestor's place of business still exist? Are any of your ancestors' homes still standing? (To find out, see "How to Visit Your Ancestral Hometown at Your Desk".)

If you use family tree software that can plot your ancestors on a map, you've got the basis for planning your genealogy vacation. (See "Mapping Your Ancestors Can Answer Questions".)

In Family Tree Maker, I can drill down from the USA to New York state, to nearby counties. I see lots of houses and cemeteries I want to visit.


  1. Really good ideas. I will think outside the box.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Thank you! With a little planning, I was able to visit St. Raymond’s Cemetery after a November wedding. I found my grandfather’s grave for the first time since his 1992 funeral.