Top Tips for Travelers Tracing Their Roots

vintage map

While at the first ever RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City this week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jay Verkler, CEO of FamilySearch, at the Family History Library.  During our one on one chat, I asked Jay for his top tips for travelers trying to trace their roots in a foreign land.

Here’s what he had to say:

Bring Supporting Documents
“International travel has its own challenges; language interpretation and that sort of thing. Take copies of documents that you’ve already collected … that people in [their own] language can look at… That engages strangers that you meet that can help you find what you’re looking for. We have language tips and tools on interpreting language. One thing you need to be careful with is that in some countries, like Germany, you’ll find documents that are 200 years old that even the Germans can’t read because the language has changed. Taking some of these things with you when you go may help them solve some problems and get you to the right places.”

Check Hours of Operation
“Be sure to check out hours of archives because they’re usually not well funded and they’re not always open. Some are often open 10 hours a week during 2 different days. I know people who have gone to places and they were closed while they were there.”

Do Your Homework in Advance
“Doing your homework really pays off because you may think you’re just landing there and you’ll discover it there, but it may take much more.”

Be Flexible with Your Schedule
“Leave your schedule flexible enough so that if you discover something and you want to dig in on it then you can stay for a while.”


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