Step 18 – Go to Locations Where Your Ancestors Came From

Welcome back to this installment of the 22 Steps in Researching Your Family Tree!

‘I visited the town hall to research my family’s history, but the only thing I found was a picture of my great-great-grandfather on a wanted poster. I guess he was a bit of a troublemaker.’

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of your ancestors? To stand in the same place they stood, breathe the same air they breathed, and see the same sights they saw? For many of us, the answer is a resounding yes. We spend hours poring over historical records and family trees, trying to uncover the secrets of our family’s past. But there’s only so much we can learn from a computer screen or a book. That’s why Step 18 of your genealogical research is so exciting. It’s the moment when you get to pack your bags and travel to the town where your ancestors came from. Imagine exploring the streets, visiting the local library and town hall, and even trekking through the countryside where your ancestors once roamed. This step allows you to immerse yourself in your family’s history, to connect with your heritage in a way that simply isn’t possible from afar. So, let’s dive into Step 18 and discover the magic of visiting the town where your ancestors came from.

Abraham’s Story

First, let’s continue with Abraham’s story from some of the previous steps in the blog series.

Abraham had always been fascinated by his family’s history, and he had spent countless hours researching his ancestors online. But he knew there was only so much he could learn from a computer screen. So, when he reached Step 18 of his genealogical research, he was eager to pack his bags and travel to the town of Leatherhead, located south of London.

As he arrived at the town, he felt a sense of excitement and anticipation. He knew that his ancestors had lived in the area for generations, and he was eager to explore the town and learn more about his family’s past.

His first stop was the local library, where he spent hours pouring over old maps, newspapers, and other historical documents. He learned that his great-great-grandfather had been a prominent businessman in the area, and his family had lived in a large estate on the outskirts of town.

After the library, Abraham headed to the town center, where he visited the city hall and spoke to the local historians. They told him stories about his ancestors, including how his great-great-grandfather had helped to build the town’s first school.

Abraham then headed to the local church, where he found the graves of several of his ancestors. He spent some time reflecting on their lives and legacies, feeling a strong sense of connection to his family’s past.

Next, Abraham went to the local museum, where he found an exhibit on the history of the town. He was thrilled to see photos of his ancestors and artifacts from their lives, including old business ledgers and letters.

On the final day of his trip, Abraham put on his hiking shoes and headed out into the countryside. He walked along the same paths and fields that his ancestors had walked, taking in the beautiful scenery and imagining what their lives must have been like.

As his trip came to a close, Abraham felt grateful for the opportunity to connect with his family’s past. He knew that he had a better understanding of his ancestors and their lives, and he felt a deep sense of pride in his heritage. He left the town of Leatherhead feeling inspired to continue his research and uncover even more about his family’s history.

About Going to Locations Where Your Ancestors Came From

Uncovering one’s family history is a journey that requires patience, perseverance, and dedication. With the abundance of online resources, it’s easier than ever to track down ancestors and trace their footsteps. However, there is something special about physically visiting the places where your ancestors lived. Step 18 of genealogical research suggests visiting the locations where your ancestors came from. In this article, we’ll explore why this step is essential and how it can enhance your family research.

Firstly, visiting the locations where your ancestors lived can provide a visual context for their lives. By researching the location online beforehand, you can get a general idea of what to expect, take notes, and prepare yourself for the trip. Once you arrive, you can immerse yourself in the history and culture of the area, making connections between the place and your ancestors.

Walking in your ancestor’s footsteps can give you a sense of their lifestyle, environment, and the challenges they faced. Visiting churches, cemeteries, and other significant places in their lives can provide a sense of connection with your ancestors, giving a tangible connection to their past.

Additionally, talking to local residents can provide valuable information and insight into your ancestor’s lives, supplementing your research with new discoveries. Local libraries and historical societies may also have access to resources such as old maps and documents, providing a glimpse into the past that may be otherwise inaccessible.

Taking pictures and videos of the area can serve as a visual record of your visit and provide context for your research. Photos of older buildings and landmarks can offer clues about the time period and architecture styles, adding to your understanding of the area’s history.

Visiting your ancestor’s locations can give you a sense of identity and cultural heritage. It can be a transformative experience, deepening your connection to your family’s past and strengthening your commitment to preserving their memory.

7 Tips to Use for ‘Step 18 – Go to Locations Where Your Ancestors Came From’

  1. Do your research: Before you visit a location, do some research on the area to get an idea of what to expect. Look up historical records, maps, and photographs to familiarize yourself with the area.
  2. Plan your itinerary: Make a list of places you want to visit, such as local libraries, town halls, cemeteries, churches, and historical sites. Plan your route in advance to make the most of your time.
  3. Talk to the locals: Strike up conversations with local residents and historians to gather information and insights about the area. They may have valuable information about your ancestors that you wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere.
  4. Take photos and videos: Take plenty of photos and videos to document your trip and capture the places where your ancestors lived. This will help you to remember the trip and also serve as valuable records for future research.
  5. Be respectful: Be respectful of the people and places you visit. Some places, such as cemeteries, may require a certain level of decorum. Remember that you are a guest in the town and treat it with respect.
  6. Be flexible: Don’t be afraid to deviate from your itinerary and explore new areas. You never know what you might discover.
  7. Have fun: Finally, enjoy yourself! This is an exciting opportunity to connect with your family’s past and learn more about your heritage. Embrace the experience and savor every moment.

In conclusion, visiting the locations where your ancestors lived can provide a meaningful connection to your family’s history. It can supplement your research with new discoveries, add context to your understanding of your ancestor’s lives, and provide a sense of identity and cultural heritage.

Next, in Step 19, it is crucial to re-evaluate your research and ensure that everything is well-documented with reference citations. This step is crucial to ensure that your research is accurate and credible. Inaccurate or undocumented research can lead to incorrect conclusions and undermine the integrity of your research. Therefore, it’s essential to double-check your sources and ensure that you have cited them correctly. By doing so, you can be confident in the accuracy of your research and the conclusions you draw from it.

‘I visited the library to research my family’s history, but all I found was a book about the history of potatoes. I guess that explains why my ancestors were farmers.’


In closing this blog post, I hope that the blog series has been beneficial to you about learning more about genealogy and how to trace your family history. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback on the series or would like to suggest any improvements, please don’t hesitate to send me a message or email. I value your input and appreciate your support in helping me to create more helpful and informative content for aspiring genealogists. Thank you for following along on this journey, and I wish you the best of luck in your own genealogical research.

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Published by Darrell Gibbs

A father of three children and five grandchildren who retired in 2015 and began a career as a non-fiction writer in genealogy resource ebooks for new family historians. Aspiring towards the future as a Historical Fiction Author of his premier book "Wessex Reign".

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