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Planning a Heritage Trip

My mom always believed that she was a relatively "new" American, with all of her ancestors immigrating in the late 1800s. This is another one of those myths which I have completely debunked. My mom has one lineage that arrived in British America an estimated fifteen years after the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth. There is a second lineage with a likely similar history, however this remains one of my research brickwalls and has yet to be verified.

Through my Cook lineage I have obtained membership with the Daughters of the American Revolution "DAR" and an application is currently in process with The National Society of Colonial Dames of America "NSCDA". The independent validation of my research conducted by these organizations is always gratifying and empowering. (Let me know if you are interested in applying to a lineage society. I may be able to help!)

Three present day towns represent where my ancestors on this lineage lived over the course of eight generations: Salem, Massachusetts; Wallingford, Connecticut; and Saratoga Springs, New York. I've done the math. These three towns hold over 250 years of my family history!

So, we're planning a long overdue heritage trip! Our flights are booked. A rental car is reserved. My brother, who lives in the area, has been told to expect visitors!

Ancestral travel is an area where hiring a professional genealogist can make a huge difference. There is a lot of work that needs to be done before you board your plane. What are your goals for such a trip? What do you hope to see? Some genealogical research should be conducted in advance. Local genealogical and historical societies, research libraries or other repositories, government offices, and cemeteries all should be contacted. A local guide may be located, contacted, and available to help you find locations significant to your ancestor's story.

In preparation for my own trip, I am going to be doing a deep dive back into my own research. For more recent generations I'll be examining documents such as censuses and deeds and contacting local county clerk's offices to help determine present day addresses where my ancestors lived and whether or not the original structures still remain. I will reach out to cemeteries where I know some of my ancestors are buried, to request and obtain cemetery maps and specific plot locations for each of my family members.

For some of the older generations I will work with local genealogical and historical societies to determine what buildings or sites still exist based on my research. I've been told that the tannery built by my 9th great grandfather still exists as a historical site in Wallingford.

Immediately I can tell you, my short list of must-visit locations include the The Burying Point, and Salem Witch Trials Memorial in Salem; my 9th great grandfather's tannery, and The Center Street Cemetery in Wallingford; and the Saratoga Race Course, and Greenridge Cemetery in Saratoga Springs. I can't wait to see what other locations I come up with and whether or not I have to extend my trip to accommodate them all! 😉

Let me know if you are interested in planning a heritage trip. I may be able to help!


Disclaimer: Each blog post is created and presented for marketing and entertainment purposes only but are based on larger research which adheres to the standards of The Board of Certification of Genealogists® as set forth in Genealogical Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry Imprint, Turner Publishing, 2014).

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