European Focus Private Tours provides the expertise, experience and guidance on the “Ultimate Experience,” visiting your ancestral villages or towns in Europe. Many family historians just don’t know where to start, and are not yet ready for that ultimate experience. Here are some tips from on how to get started on your quest.
Begin with your own family. Write down everything they know about family history. Gather family documents, like birth certificates, marriage records. As you start asking around, it isn’t unusual to find relatives who have informally been family historians. They often have the proverbial shoebox with a lot of information and old photos in it.
Use online resources. The Internet has made family history search so much simpler and faster. On Facebook, for example, people can easily search others with the same surname globally. Other sites offer more than 500 free courses and online ask-a-question forums to connect with a community of people worldwide who can help you with your personal research for free. Sites to help you include: RootsWeb, ancestry.com, archives.com, findmypast.com and myheritage.com. The site deadfred.com helps to identify old photos, such as the date and region of origin.
Contact archives abroad before you travel. If you plan to visit archives in another country, get in touch in advance of your trip. In many countries, the record custodians or archivists do not like drop-ins and require appointments. Elsewhere in the world, there is not necessarily open access and it is not so public-service oriented. (Note – European Focus Private Tours organizes archives visits for all of our clients who go on our custom-designed, private trips)