Genealogy Road Trip Tip 2: Find a travel partner

Tip 2: Find a travel partner. Part of “Genealogy Road Trip Tips: Take Your Loved Ones With You” — 30 posts in 30 days for NaBloPoMo 2016.

Finding a travel partner to join you on a genealogy road trip makes the journey that much more enjoyable. I know because I have traveled with family and friends on my heritage quest and have reaped the rewards of camaraderie and good feeling at trip’s end.

Travel partners add so much to a genealogy road trip. My friend Jane Latour (left) traveled with me (right) to U.S. Civil War reeanctments of battles my Union Army ancestor fought in because of she shares my love of history. Photo: Molly Charboneau

“How do you get people to go with you?” a genealogy colleague asked me, when I described visiting a Union Army soldier’s grave with a group of friends. “I can never get anyone interested.”

Her question got me thinking about how and why my travel partners agreed to join me.

A focus on common heritage. My dad, Norm Charboneau, was my first genealogy road trip partner. Our destination was his home town — Otter Lake in Forestport, Oneida County, New York.

I wanted to learn more about where he grew up. He wanted to go back for a visit and serve as my tour guide. And we shared an interest in learning more about earlier generations of our family. So we both had a personal stake in the trip’s success, and had a great time in the process.

Reconnecting with relatives. My mom, Peg, was my travel partner on my second genealogy road trip to her hometown — Gloversville in Fulton County, New York. I wanted to see where she lived as a girl. She was interested in revisiting the homes where she and our ancestors’ had lived. And we both looked forward to visiting several relatives who still lived in town — many of whom Mom had not seen in years — to interview them about our ancestors.

A shared love of history. My friend Jane Latour, shown above, agreed to travel with me to Fredericksburg, Virginia — for reenactments of U.S. Civil War battles my Union Army ancestor fought in — because she shares my love of history.

I was thrilled to visit the hallowed ground where my ancestor fought. Jane, a labor historian,  was blown away by the hundreds of reenactors and history buffs who attended the event.

“I’ve been wondering where to find people who are interested in history — and here they are!” she exclaimed on the first day.

Each genealogy road trip will be different and each travel partner will have unique reasons for agreeing to join you. But the key is finding a shared interest that will sustain you both during the journey and — if you’re lucky — contribute to great stories about your adventure when you get back.

Have you had success traveling with family and friends on genealogy road trips? Share your story in the comment section.

Tomorrow, Tip 3: Set the date

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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