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Eastern European: Onsite Research in the Ancestral Homeland
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No matter how convenient it may be these days to research ancestors without leaving home, you probably still dream of visiting your family’s homeland. You are yearning to see where your ancestors lived, stand in the church where they were baptized, enjoy traditional cuisine, and understand what life was like for your ancestors before they made the journey to America. With heritage travel, you have an opportunity to go beyond the same old research strategies and discover those details you can’t get from online databases, books, or microfilm. In this course, you will learn about “immersion genealogy”—the process of discovering where and how our ancestors lived, worked, and worshiped, and experiencing first-hand those customs and traditions they passed down through the generations. We will begin with planning your trip (including packing and travel tips). Then, we will cover how to contact relatives and locals (mayors and priests) in advance, what to do when you meet them, and creating an itinerary. Finally, we will review what to do after the trip to document your meetings, travels, and research.
Course Content

Module 1
Planning Your Visit
Determine Your Destination(s)
Build Your Itinerary
Hiring a Guide/Translator
Set a Budget
Booking Your Trip
Getting Around Europe
Booking Accommodations
Staying with Family vs. Hotel/Boarding House
Packing for Your Trip
Safety Considerations
Tips for a Successful Trip

Foreign Research Trip Packing List
• Essentials
• Other Handy Items

Recommended Resources

Module 2

Immersion Genealogy
Planning Your “Who Do You Think You Are?” Experience

Research the Locality
• Google Earth
• Town /Village Websites
• Maps & Road Atlases

Learning the Language
Research Customs & Traditions in Advance
Recommended Resources

Module 3

Visiting Your Ancestral Town

Meeting Relatives & Locals
• Should You Ask for a DNA Sample?

Meeting Local Residents
• Giving & Receiving Gifts

Churches & Synagogues
• Contacting Clergy
• Viewing Church Records

Setting Realistic Expectations
Handling Disappointments & Research Roadblocks
Recommended Resources

Module 4

Visiting Archives & Libraries

Preparing for Your Visit
• Types of Archives
• Common Archival Terms
• Libraries
• University Collections & Other Repositories
• Military Sources

Create a Research Plan
General Tips
Five Key Steps to Follow
What to Bring with You

Guidelines for Onsite Research
• Abiding by Rules & Policies
• Communication Challenges
• Thank You & Follow Up

Recommended Resources

Module 5

Touring Historical Sites & More

Tourist Attractions
• Museums
• Village Celebrations

Scheduling Your Time
Serendipity & Heritage Travel
Recommended Resources

Module 6

After The Trip
Follow Up with Relatives & Contacts
Organizing Photographs & Information
Evaluating Your Genealogical Information

Creating a Research Log
• What to Include
• Maintaining & Updating Your Research Log

Sharing Your Experiences
• Books/Keepsake Photo Albums/Smashbooks
• Journaling the Journey
• How to Journal
• Blogs

Will You Plan a Return Visit?
Recommended Resources


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