Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Best Genealogy Vacation

I blinked and saturday arrived, once again. Therefore, Randy Seaver has a new Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge for us:

1)  Think about your genealogy career – have you taken a “genealogy or family history vacation?”

2)  Tell us about one (or more) of them – where did you go, what research did you do, did you meet family members, etc. 

This week’s challenge is really difficult in terms of “best.” I don’t know if I can pick my #1 genealogy vacation.

We’ve taken several genealogy vacations and I think each one became my “best” vacation.

Therefore, I will just give a quick recap of each one.

  1. In my early years working on the family history (1980), Dave and I planned a vacation to New England with two purposes – to visit my grandmother and other relatives and to visit extended family members to query them about genealogy. This trip took us all through New England, from Connecticut to Rhode Island, where I visited my grandfather’s cousin Charles, who bequeathed all the family stories and photographs to me, as the new caretaker. From there, we traveled on to New Hampshire and Maine, where I met my grandmother’s half-sister, Lydia, in Calais. I had a chance to visit multiple family cemeteries, the Calais Library and saw several of the homes where my ancestors lived. I’ve mentioned Calais many times in blog posts. My mother, grandparents, some great grandparents and a great great grandmother were all born in Calais, so I was walking in the clouds doing a genealogy happy dance. This had to be the best genealogy vacation ever! Maybe!
  2. Next up – A few years later (c1989), we decided to visit Barry County, Missouri, where many of Dave’s mother’s family had lived and still lived. One of Dave’s maternal aunts was also very much into genealogy so we met up with his aunt and uncle. First stop was the county courthouse, where Freda and I asked the county clerk about the old records. He showed us where the copy machine was and then led us to the vault. He said it was all in there. Have at it and let him know how many copies we made when we finished! Dave and his Uncle Dale passed on the courthouse and drove to Branson to explore around there. However, Freda and I made several really important discoveries in that courthouse, the most surprising of which was that his great great grandmother didn’t die in the 1860s – she left husband Isaac and their three sons in Missouri, but took their three girls with her and started a new life (with three marriages) in Peoria, Illinois! In addition to the courthouse fun, we met a number of Dave’s maternal cousins and the family still owns the original farm land from the 1860s. Did Missouri replace New England as the best vacation? Nope, it was just as much fun!
  3. Around 1994, Dave and I again met up with Freda and Dale, but this time was in Salt Lake City. Again, Dave and Dale went off exploring, but Freda and I enjoyed several days of our very first visit to the Family History Library. I don’t have to say much about this trip, do I? This was back in the pre-internet era and our summer visit meant every seat in the library was filled. In fact, the line at the front door before the library opened almost reached to the corner of the block. Dave wanted to know why everyone was out on the street and couldn’t believe at 7:20 a.m. all these nuts were lined up waiting to go inside a genealogy library. Back then, the library opened at 8:00. Best genealogy trip ever? Totally different than the first two, but just as much fun in a different way.
  4. The last genealogy trip I’ll share was in May 2013, when we sailed from Fort Lauderdale to Amsterdam and then flew to Copenhagen, Denmark. We spent five days there and I had the opportunity to walk the same streets as my Danish/Swedish ancestors. My 3X great grandfather, Johannes Jensen, was a career soldier and stationed at Rosenborg Castle, where the Danish crown jewels are kept. The army barracks, built in the 1600s, is still standing and my family lived there for a number of years. A huge bonus is that Lisa, a member of the Danish American Genealogy Group on FB offered to drive us over the bridge from Copenhagen to southern Sweden. We visited the village of Oved, where Johannes’s wife, Johanna Elisabetha Molin, was born and grew up. This trip was really special because I was walking the European streets of my ancestors and I was really really excited to visit there.

As you have read, I loved each one of these genealogy vacations and I truly can’t choose just one as the “best” of all. Of these four vacations, the Family History Library would probably rank second, simply because it was a (fabulously terrific) library visit.

That leaves the other tree vacations tied for first place. 🙂

Thanks, Randy, for this week’s challenge.

2 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Best Genealogy Vacation”

  1. I loved reading about all of your vacations. I smiled wide when you got the run of the vault and copy machine in Barry County, Missouri. And meeting all of those relatives–that is definitely the top of the list. Walking the areas where they lived is very satisfying.

  2. I think my vote for best is 1980, because I’ll bet that a lot of the stuff that you were bequeathed as the new family historian were unique and unavailable anywhere else. That’s the kind of opportunity you usually get only once, and I’m glad you were able to take advantage of it.

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