What research does one do when visiting the ancestral home?

+4 votes
I have 10 days to visit the place my ancestors have lived for 200 years. What do I do to find out more about my family roots? Who do I talk to? What institutions do I visit? Where should I place my priorities? Thanks.
in Genealogy Help by Howard Pike G2G1 (1.2k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
It might be easier to give you suggestions if you give us some clue as to which part of the world you are heading for.
Hi Howard!  How did the trip work out?  In hindsight, is there any advice that would have been good to receive ahead of time?


Although the trip has been over for a year and a half, I am still adding the information to my family tree. We have new Facebook friends and some very strong connections to the family members that I didn't know existed. We did all that I wanted, but I'm ready to go back ASAP. Here are some things we learned:

1) Cousins that have known each other all their lives don't know what the others don't know. We got together with photos that we thought everyone had and discovered most were unique. Now we all have them.

2) Cousins that we never knew are extremely generous especially when you know many of the same family members.

3) Nose around. Take lots of photos, especially of one thing, whether it's in the morning, afternoon or evening. Don't try to document everything in detail. Grab a bit from every place you visit, but cover one thing well.

4) Call the museums, libraries and government offices well in advance to ensure that someone will be there. We did and they arranged to open up for us.

5) Expect to see unexpected things. My father loved the coastal mountain foothills near my present home. Now I know why: they are identical to the family homestead where he spent the summers during the Depression.
Thanks for this!

1 Answer

+5 votes
Best answer
Brick wall opportunity!  As Lynda said, it would help to know where you are going.

In general, focus on finding things you can't get at home.  Meet living relatives, the older the better.  Visit cemeteries, churches, schools, old family homes.  Go to the places that have records not available online:  county courthouses, local genealogical societies, etc.  It helps to have specific ancestors you want to research, and specific information to seek.  Ten days is not a lot of time, especially if you don't want to spend all of it in cemeteries and libraries.  Have fun!
by Living Tardy G2G6 Pilot (733k points)
selected by Howard Pike
Sorry. We are going to Gaspe, Quebec, Canada.
Thanks for the star, Howard!

Sorry I have nothing to offer for places to visit in Gaspe.  Have a great trip, and happy hunting!

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