Question of the Week: If you could time travel, where/when would you go?

+14 votes

imageIf you could time travel, where or when would you go?

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in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
I can think of two places/times I'd love to go.

One would be in the mid 1800s in the geographic area divided by the Catawba River, western Gaston County/eastern Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. My grandparents, bless them, talked so often with me, sharing stories of people they knew who lived back then and stories of others they did not know, that I feel like I know them. My grandparents were 2c1x, and born across the River from each other. They rooted me in their time period and their places. That's why I feel so out of place in my generation.

Second one: 1970s at my childhood home with my iPad (can I take my iPad, too?). I sit down with my dad and get him to tell me stories of his wartime experiences. I was too self-absorbed and foolish to ask when I had the chance.

29 Answers

+30 votes
I would visit every "brickwall" ancestors and ask them to give me a source for their life events so I could quote them here!
by Jonathan Boyer G2G6 Mach 1 (17.4k points)
Jonathan, you hit the nail on the head. I agree with this approach.
yes please! Don't forget to ask them for a photo before you return to 2021!
Now, that would be an adventure!
Yes, that would be wonderful! I would take my camera with me!
Well, now I don't need to answer, because you literally took the words out of my mouth!  (or out of my thoughts, it hadn't really gotten to my mouth yet.)  Anyway: Right On!
+18 votes
I would try to go backward in time step by step and visit and talk to all my ancestors one by one. And if it were possible, I would take a photo of each one. Since most of my ancestors are from the north of Germany, I would not need to change much in terms of location.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
+18 votes

First off, I'd use the Tardis. She may not take you to where you want to go but she takes you to where you are needed. That and the delorean's reentry is a bit problematic. Plus she has a translation field which would allow everyone to appear to speak the language of the user. That's going to come in handy given where I'm going.

I would go to early 1900s San Pietro a Maida, Italy to knock out several brick walls there on the Coppola and Gullo lines. Of course I'd have to be careful and not corrupt my own personal timeline. 

The Time Lords are always antsy about that....

by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (458k points)
I'd also want to go in the Tardis, to make use of the translation circuit!

Have you got the Doctor's phone number? I seem to have lost it. (Preferably the Tenth...)
+14 votes
If my return would be guaranteed, I would go to the 1360s (aftermath of the Black Death) in Wiltshire.

A - I have some information about  a family of ancestors who lived there then, but would like to tie up some loose ends.

B - I would like to observe the changes in society due to the loss of 30% of the population.
by Janet Gunn G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
+17 votes
My first stop would be the building where they housed the 1890 Census. Since it was destroyed by fire in 1921, I've plenty of opportunities between about 1900 and 1920 to break in, photograph the entire thing, and escape with no one any wiser. I'd then have to return and publish the whole thing so that we can get it properly indexed.

I'd also like to visit fledgling New Amsterdam in the 1600 - maybe around 1640, where my ancestor the carpenter got off the boat. I heard it was not much to look at until Mr. Volckertszen got off the boat in the 1630's, but he sure built a nice place out of very little and it did nothing but grow. It would be nice to ask him about his deeper ancestors, as the information from the 1500's back seems to have been mostly lost to history. Plus I understand he was a true character in every sense of the word. "Not Safe" would be how I'd consider him, as he'd be just as likely to punch me in the nose than to answer my questions. But it would be worth the risk.
by Scott Fulkerson G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

"My first stop would be the building where they housed the 1890 Census."

YES!  And I would be more than happy to help! That blasted destroyed 1890 census is a huge roadblock in the research of my 2nd great-grandmother brick wall. 

Where do we sign up to help with that census, Scott?
Scott, I will go with you back to that building, but to the time **before** the disaster that manufactured the brick-wall constructing census-data loss.
That would be amazing!
Yes yes yes
+14 votes

Elizabethan england - late 1500s and early 1600s!!

Shakespearean england - and find out the truth of who REALLY wrote the shakespeare plays!!!  laugh

If I could be born in 1564 - the same year as shakespeare - and 400 years before my own year of birth - and if I am still alive in 1621 - 400 years from the present time - I am pretty sure I could find the truth.

As for my own family, if I could track down the Busson family and find out where they originally came from. Were they french hueguenots? It would be nice to find out for sure!!

by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (941k points)
edited by Robynne Lozier
+13 votes
If I could only go to one destination it would be insanely difficult to choose. I'd want to visit my ancestors as they traveled overland to California in the 1840s & 1850s but having read my 2nd great grandfather William Y. Wilson's letters home I know there was a lot of cholera & even some smallpox. I'd love to see my 17th-century immigrant ancestors & witness how they lived. I'd also love to visit Van Gogh in Saint-Paul-de-Mausole when he painted The Starry Night, maybe see if I could cheer him up by telling him he would be considered one of the greatest artists of all time... but I'd probably settle on visiting my 2nd great grandparents, William Miner Reed & Martha Jane Allen to ask if I'm on the right genealogy trail for both lines
by Emm Churchman G2G5 (5.5k points)
edited by Emm Churchman
Thank you Emm for your great answer to this question. I wanted to write an answer, but the health problems keep stopping me. Having a degree in art education, I loved your wanting to cheer up Van Gogh.

I hope he knows, wherever his spirit resides & I hope your health improves soon heart

Thank you Emma, you are sweet, I am good with modern medical science, but I would not be in the 1800s.
If it were a one way trip, I would not go back to any time before the invention of antibiotics and anesthesia!
Very sensible! Good sanitation would be nice too. I'd hate to have to use a chamber pot
+11 votes
I struggle to think of just one time, probably to  Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in the 1750's to meet my first paternal immigrant ancestor (a brick wall for my family for over a century).  I have a laundry list of others.
by Roger Stong G2G6 Mach 9 (94.7k points)
+8 votes
If I can change the past, I'd revisit and change the one or two really dumb things I've done in my life. But of course, being an avid reader of Science fiction, I know I can't change the past, or I might totally mess up the future. So I think I'll just stay right when I am.
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Short story idea where the main character travels back in time and needs help from someone to save their timeline, but that person sabotages the "fix" so that nothing actually changes because they have read too much science fiction. They actually attended Steven Hawking's party, but trapped him in a time loop while they did, so he didn't know.
I too have made one poor decision in my life, and I used to let myself get upset and angry over just how bad my life was because i made such a poor choice.

I recently let go of those emotions by writing a story about how i would change things if I was able to go back and change my past and what I would do that was different.

After I wrote that story and then went back to read it - I felt a huge weight lift off me and I could finally stop feeling so guilty about how I ruined my life. I was still only a teenager when I made that poor choice.

Now I feel so much better. And if I ever feel bad, i just re-read that story again.
Be careful what you call a bad decision. I thought that I had made a bad personal decision. Now I have come to understand why this decision was actually very good for another person. It is good for me to see this new development.
+11 votes
I would go back to a winter night in the spring semester of my freshman year of college when my boyfriend did not take NO for an answer and molested me. I might not have been able to stop the abuse that night, but I would have ended the relationship the next day instead of spending almost 30 years with him (when I finally ended the marriage), believing the abuse was my fault and I deserved it.
by Patricia Kapusta G2G Crew (830 points)

You absolutely deserve to have your wish come true. broken heart

+10 votes
I'm thinking, late 19th and early 20th century Scotland.  So many of my brick wall ancestors lived during that time period.  I would like to spend time getting to know them, to discover their currently unknown ancestors, to know how/why they each made the decision to leave Scotland and come to Canada, and to thank them for being so brave, strong and hard-working.  I'd like to know which ancestor I most resemble, and which one I had the most in common with.
by Amy Gilpin G2G6 Pilot (127k points)
+10 votes
So many places!   I would have loved to see world events and meet famous people:  The Gettysburg Address and Abraham Lincoln; the end of WWII in New York; the inaugural address of Kennedy; meet Elvis Presley at one of his first concerts.    I would go back and see my step-father who passed while I was in college, and spend more time with my mom.   Of course I'm in agreement that anything that I would do to change anything would affect my life today, so I couldn't do that.  Guess it's smarter to stay home.
by Mary Thomas G2G6 Mach 1 (12.0k points)
+10 votes
I believe my first stop would be to Scotland to put a name to my 6th Great Grandfather, "Fleming-6514 Name Unknown (1695)."
by John Wilcox G2G1 (1.2k points)
+10 votes
1890, Edgefield, South Carolina. My first stop would be the home of my 2nd great-grandparents so that I could ask that grandmother what she knows about her parents and where she was really born - Alabama or South Carolina. She was allegedly adopted and I have no idea who her parents are. I would also ask if they had actually gotten married, because I cannot find a marriage record for them at all.

Then, I would go through the town asking the other relatives questions. Edgefield is the melting pot for quite a few of our family lines.
by Suzanne McClendon G2G4 (4.3k points)
+7 votes
I would go back to the early 1800s in the Bahamas and talk to my great grandfather, Theodore Ceruti. I would ask him who were his parents, was he an adopted child, and/or was he an English pirate who escaped from a pirate ship to start a new life on Ragged Island, Bahamas. This is the most recent, but certainly not the only brick wall in my genealogical record.
by Marion Ceruti G2G6 Pilot (145k points)
+8 votes
Right now Im thinking the 1900s ish so I could meet some of my 2nd great grandparents and great grandparents. Would love to hear their stories!
by Elizabeth Randerson G2G6 (6.8k points)
+8 votes
I'd have problems deciding between Civil-War Washington, DC, or North Carolina during that same period.  Abraham Lincoln is my favorite public figure in American history; I would simply want to shake his hand and to thank him for his leadership during what was the most dangerous period in American history until that time.  I would also want to sit down for a very long conversation with my 2x Great Grandma Margaret Wilkerson Johnson to find out more about her father who was born in Ireland and returned to the Emerald Isle after her mother's death.
by George Stradtman G2G3 (3.1k points)
+8 votes
I have long dreamed of this. Each of my 4 grandparents hailed from a different country, and once I found them (genealogically-speaking) in the 'old country', they tended to stay put in that area for centuries. So I'd like to visit each branch at some point in time and see what their lives were like and just meet at least one ancestor from each 'home country'.  On a related note, my son once asked me how I knew when I was "done" researching any given branch. My reply was, 'when I find out where they were once serfs'.  I come from long long (centuries upon centuries) lines of farm workers who never owned any land.
by Debbie Maranger G2G Crew (750 points)
Feeling this one!
Debbie, Thank you for posting. I find that I am never done because hardly any profile is so perfect that it needs no improvement.
+8 votes
I would go back to my childhood years (1970s to 1990s) to grab photos of my paternal grandparents (visits to Tucson, Arizona and Little River, South Carolina). I lived in Tucson during my childhood years. My paternal grandparents had amazing stories and tidbits about life in the South. They traveled from South Carolina to Arizona just to visit my parents and I (1978).

Another place and time (1906) would be when Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota! I would have love to meet the religious sisters and registered nurses at the nursing school. I know that they would give me a chance to be in the school despite my race.
by Eileen Robinson G2G6 Mach 1 (14.3k points)
Hello Eileen, Thank you for posting your time travel adventure. Your race would not have been any problem if you lived in Southern California in the early part of the 20th century when my half uncle, Edward Burton Ceruti II, was a pioneer in the civil-rights movement. He opened the Orange County's nurses training program to Blacks in 1918, among other significant contributions to the community.
+6 votes

Drinking isn't my thing, but I reckon a PUB CRAWL to visit all the places my ancestors lived might be the best way to get all the juicy GOSSIP. devil Masquerading as a journalist, I could surreptitiously use my trusty iPhone to record it ALL for posterity? angel

by Jane Wilkinson G2G6 Mach 1 (10.6k points)
Pub crawl through history!  There's a lot to respect in that answer!

I appreciate your vote of confidence.  Also, the position of 'taster-in-chief' is still unfilled...


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