Travelling to trace your ancestry and roots

Dec 22, 2011, 6 a.m.

Who are you? How did you get where you are today? We don't often think about the sacrifices our ancestors have made for generations to pave the way for the lives we live, but it's through discovering these people and their hardships that we find a sense of belonging and purpose in the world. Genealogy travel has always been a popular pastime for individuals all over the globe, but with recent advances in technology and scientific studies in the field of genetics, the process of tracing one's roots back is more accessible than ever.

Though technology certainly makes the process less complex and time-consuming, it is by no means easy. Americans were able to get a firsthand look at how the challenging process is done by watching the popular NBC television show "Who Do You Think You Are?" which aired in March of 2010. The program allowed audiences to experience the inspirational and arduous journey of multiple celebrities, such as NFL star Emmitt Smith, musician Lionel Richie, and actress Sarah Jessica Parker, on world travel tours in search for their ancestors.

The brains behind the show was expert genealogist and author Megan Smolenyak, who is known for tracing President Obama's roots back from Ireland to Ohio. According to a report done by AOL news, she revealed "It took me two months of complicated research to learn his story," which revealed Obama's great-great-great grandfather cobbler Falmouth Kearney, who first emigrated from Moneygall, Ireland to Ohio.

Tracing back your roots is not easy, and it often involves 19-hour days of researching or interviewing locals in small rural towns all over the country. However, the reward of the journey far exceeds the work put in. On the show "Who Do You Think You Are?" America watched the emotional journey of beloved NFL player Emmitt Smith, who became deeply moved when his roots were traced back to Benin, the "Slave Coast" of Africa.

Travelling to discover your roots is an excellent way to rediscover the importance and the value of family. Whether you are lucky enough to have a large family with multiple relatives or have never known your family members, travelling to trace back your roots reveals just how big and diverse your family is.

Discovering new lands and celebrating new cultures is always an enriching experience that often comes with travelling the world, but nothing compares to travelling to a new land that you can call home. There is a sentimental aspect that comes with ancestry world travel tours just in knowing that your ancestors likely walked on the same ground that you are walking on now. If you're someone who has ever felt alone or uncertain about your identity, make the discovery of your lifetime by tracing back your roots and revealing what it is that makes you you.

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