Niche Market: Family Tree Travel
With the advent of internet-driven databases such as Ancestry.com and organizations such as the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. offering the the ability to search national records for information about those who immigrated here long ago, it has become easier than ever to delve into family histories. "Family Tree Travel," exploring the regions where our ancestors once lived, takes learning about family history to a new depth.
Building a trip based on a family's evolution can provide an interesting experience for travelers of all ages. Many ancestry enthusiasts have already done the research regarding where their roots lie; use a timeline of a particular ancestor's life to build a trip. A visit to the town where they were born might include attending church service where were married, staying at a historic inn, visiting the town's history museum or other historic sites, and attending an event that is a local tradition, such as a festival or parade. Perhaps you could even take in a ball game on the field where the pater familias once played Little League! The ancestor's employment, hobbies and civic involvement might all play into the development of an itinerary.
For travelers who are deeply interested in investigating their ancestry, research time at local libraries, immigration and military/VA offices, and even visits to local cemeteries can provide answers to loose-ended questions.
For some, family tree travel might involve a small-town stay. For others, their family's journey might begin in one of the major points of disembarkation, such as New York City or San Francisco, or a major employment hub, such as Chicago. Many of these larger destinations offer experiences that would be an interesting focal point for a trip. The Chicago Genealogical Society, for example, offers programming including lectures and bus tours on a variety of topics. Planning a family tree travel trip around one of these larger cities might allow travel professionals to host a larger group, perhaps who are not all members of the same family, but who enjoy the same hobby: exploring their roots.