It is an exciting time to want to find out about your family history. Never before has so much material that covers actual historical documents been online and available for you to look at. The problem, in some cases, with the plethora of information available, is that there are inaccuracies in databases that make looking for your European cousins a longer process than you might imagine.
Fortunately, in Europe there are experts in genealogy that can help you. It is also quite easy to spend time in villages and cities that are set up to accommodate you. Here are some tips that can make your next trip to Europe a better one:
Use online research to set your trip up: Whether you are looking for Paris hotels or you are trying to validate a place or a family name, the better your research before you get started traveling, the more rewarding it will be. And if you do need to find a hotel in Paris, using an expert travel site like Hipmunk is an excellent way of getting information about hotels that you normally won’t see in other places.
No substitute for originals: People have strange behavior when it comes to keeping things historically accurate. During the French revolution, for example, millions of books and records were burned because people wanted to forget the past. Today, there are very few records in comparison. And the records that do exist have often been hacked or defaced online. A favorite trick was to make cosmetic changes that change the entire meaning of the record and then wait for people to rely upon databases that take that record and read it in its altered form. Therefore, going to the original and reading it is really one of the only ways to confirm that you actually have the right record.
Don’t forget cemeteries and churches: As the written record was often the only way of keeping track of who people were, many of your European ancestors knew that the records were subject to the politics of their time period. They would therefore often arrange to make backups by carving out their lineage on their family pew in the local church or having the stonemason’s incorporate symbols in their gravestones. So if you want to validate what you know, going to the local church and looking is a very good idea.
Traveling through Europe to discover your roots can make for a great vacation. Researching your travel choices ahead of time online as well as your preliminary research for your family history will help to ensure that your efforts are fruitful.