Ancestral Tourism: Summer Vacation!

Add Family History to Your Vacation Plans

Make family history part of your next family vacation

With summer vacations quickly approaching many people are gearing up to travel. Some of those travels will include trips to ancestral homelands – those places where your ancestors were born, lived, and died. Not everyone travels to these locations with the primary purpose of doing family history research. Nonetheless, it can be very rewarding to have an element of the trip be dedicated to your personal heritage. This is often known as ancestral tourism.

Here are a few tips to help you incorporate family history on your next ancestral tourism trip:

  1. Set goals – What are you hoping to achieve on this trip? Not everyone wants to spend a week researching at a library or archives, but even young families can enjoy visiting a cemetery or a home site. Tell stories about the ancestors while you are there!
  2. Case the joint – Learn about the area you plan to visit. If you will be visiting a rural area be sure to check out places to eat and stay ahead of time. If you will be doing research, contact the institution(s) to be sure you understand hours and any other restrictions.
  3. Research your heritage – Take some time to refresh your memory about what you already know about ancestors that lived in the area you will be visiting. Are there specific questions that could be answered on this trip? Right them in a research log.
  4. Prepare your tools – What tools you need will depend on you goals and what you plan to do. Making a packing list can save you time and stress!
  5. Finalize your plans – This doesn’t mean you have to have a minute-by-minute itinerary, but you will want to finalize reservations, travel modes, and the “can’t miss” highlights of your trip!

An Essential Tool for Your Trip

If you have an iPhone or iPad you will definitely want to download The Family Nexus app before engaging in any ancestral tourism adventure. The app contains many free features that save you time and will make your trip more meaningful. In addition, Premium subscribers get access to even more features. Let’s take a look at how the app could help you on your next heritage tour (or any other kind of travel!)

You can download the app here:

Discover Where They Lived

The Family Nexus app uses your FamilySearch family tree and automatically maps the birth, marriage, death, and burial locations of 6 generations of your ancestors (and their siblings!). You can explore the map or search for a particular location and see the events that took place there. If multiple events occurred in the same location these are grouped together in a cluster. Simply tap the number and see the list of everything that took place. Make a selection to learn more about a particular ancestor!

Seeing your family history visually in this way can be enlightening. Use it to explore and plan ahead for your trip. You may not have realized that other family lines also lived in the area. The Family Nexus app makes it very easy to ensure you see everything that took place there.

Not only can you use the map to explore, once you are in the area the app sends you alerts you when you get close to one of the locations. Under Settings you can choose how far away you are when you get the alerts. Simply adjust the slider in 10 mile increments from 0-100 miles. This can make for an impromptu excursion or a welcome break on a long road trip.

Oh, did we mention all the data is downloaded to your local device, and no data connection is needed to explore the map? Yeah. I thought you might like that.

Feel Connected

Photos from FamilySearch Memories

In addition to the incredible features mentioned above, Premium subscribers unlock powerful features that facilitate discovery moments and help you feel even more connected to your family. For example, you can learn more about an ancestor by exploring photos and stories that have been uploaded to FamilySearch Memories. Seeing pictures and reading stories makes your heritage come alive, and is particularly powerful for young people. Just note that the Memories are not automatically downloaded to the device (to save space). They are quickly fetched when you go to that person’s Detail View in The Family Nexus App. View them ahead of time and they will be saved to your mobile device for future viewing.


After you use The Family Nexus mobile app to make your next family vacation unforgettable, share your discoveries with your family and friends on social media! The app makes it easy to share an “Event Card” using your Twitter or Facebook accounts. Use the hashtag #TheFamilyNexus so the rest of us can share in your excitement too!

Leave a comment about your experience using The Family Nexus on an ancestral tourism trip!

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