James Derheim Bio

James Derheim leads most family history-related tours. He started European Focus as a photography business in 1989.

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James Derheim was born and raised in landlocked Minnesota. After a couple of years of college, James joined the U.S. Navy, choosing to let Uncle Sam provide him with an education. Along with that came plenty of travel experience. His time as the only Navy photographer on the staff of the “European Stars and Stripes” newspaper published in Griesheim, Germany led to his creation of “European Focus Photography” in 1989. James was the first person to come up with the pre-Google Images business of professional photography of people’s ancestral towns in Europe. With more than 2,200 villages and towns in his archive, this business eventually led to European Focus Private Tours, when a client asked James if he and his wife could go with James as he did his work in tiny Flammersfeld, Germany. The trip was the couple’s 50th anniversary gift to each other. His client wrote a newspaper article about their experience and overnight a business was born.

European Focus is more than a business. James feels that it’s his mission in life. Helping others understand and appreciate Europe is something that gives James a great deal of personal satisfaction.

James is a curious person, and he has a hard time resisting a quick stop to take photographs. Those photographs not only find their way to this web site, but our clients receive copies as well. James enjoys driving, which is a good thing. He logs more than 40,000 kilometers (24,000 miles) per season. Taking the back roads and exploring the country is a passion of his, and his clients love this aspect of custom-designed, private travel.