Sunday, September 11, 2016

Planning a Genealogy Vacation? Leave Time To See The Region, Too!

Near the Village of Dunfanaghy, County Donegal, Ireland,
An Hour West of Ballindrait
What if you could actually walk the same streets as your great-great grandfather, or see the quaint little cottage where you grandmother was born?  Genealogy vacations are becoming more and more popular, and here is my dream version:

Now that we have identified the village of Ballindrait,County Donegal, Ireland, as where William Miller's grandfather, David, came from, my fondest dream is to visit there someday. But Ballindrait is an hour inland from the coast and I've been in love with the sea since childhood.  So after wrenching every last bit of genealogical information possible from the environs, I would be heading for places like Dunfanaghy (above) or  Brinlack (below) faster than you could sing "Danny Boy"!

Brinlack, County Donegal

Our daughter visited Ireland a few years back.  I got a call from her and she said, "Mom, I love you, but I'm never coming home!"  She, too, had become mesmerized by the west coast of Ireland.  Oh, how I want to pack my bags right now!

Sightseeing aside, to get the most out of a genealogy vacation, Gena Philibert-Ortega in a guest blog post for GenealogyBank says:  "...figure out what family history research can be done while you are there. Identify nearby libraries, archives, and museums and what resources they have. Make sure to exhaust online digitized items that you are able to access from home so as to not waste your time while you are there. Email librarians and archivists with questions about on-site research. You might even consider contacting a local genealogist in the area for a consultation, or to get help navigating repositories while you are there. There is a real benefit from working with someone who knows all of the ins and outs of an area and the repositories (source:

Also, advises that "As you do your research, fill in genealogy charts as completely as you can; scan non-digital family records and photos into your computer. Ensure all information is stored in one location or printed out so that you can access it during your trip" (source:

One other idea:  Try finding distant cousins while there.  They could be a treasure trove of family information.  Getting an Ancestry'DNA test is a great way to find these relatives.

Well, I'm inspired!  I'm going to start my family history trip piggy bank soon.  And maybe we'll meet over stacks of histories at a local Irish library...or possibly while beach-combing in Derrybeg!

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