Family History Holiday
Well, I’m currently in the very, very early planning days of Family History Holiday to the UK. I was born in England as were my dad and brother. Mum wanted to return to Australia so we came when I was quite young. I’ve always wanted to go back and look around. Discover my roots so to speak. My passion for genealogy is igniting this need to go back. I need to see where my ancestors came from. I have made connections with cousins – some distant, some not so – through my interest in genealogy.
My daughter is excited to be planning a trip. She’s been itching to go and work over there and maybe this trip will see us leave her behind for a time, maybe not. My son isn’t so keen. He’s not looking forward to the 24+ hours that it would take us to get there. We’ll work on him!
So what do I hope to achieve by doing this?
Well, I want to follow the trail of my ancestors. I want to meet the family members who dad grew up with. He has first cousins, who are in their late 70’s and early 80’s whom I want to meet. If I don’t do this soon I will never meet them and I will regret not hearing their stories. I want to do this for them, for me, and for my descendants.
I also have to convince the kids that actually doing a family history holiday will be fun. Although my daughter is keen to travel to England, she’s not so enamoured with our dead ancestors as I am, but she does love going to cemeteries and often begs me to stop so she can explore. Although I really did begn to worry about her the day we were at Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane and she saw a large tree and said, “It would be nice to have a swing here to swing over the dead bodies.” I just stared. She said, “It sounded so much better in my head.” So maybe convincing her will not be so hard. Now the angle for the teenage boy might be slightly harder – but maybe, just maybe, I can convince him there are great foods to try??
So where do I want to go?
Scotland and England are the two main attractions as these are the places my ancestors are from. However, I definitely would like to see Ireland and Wales. I would also love to do a war tour in Europe and follow the trail of the three ancestors who fought in WWI but that will have to wait. This costs money and I don’t have enough job to pay for everywhere I want to visit at this time!
So in my head so far I have decided I want to start in London. Stay near where I lived. Visit places that I visited as a child. See the house I lived in. Naturally, a visit to London will not be complete without a trip on a double-decker bus, – mmmm maybe a hook for the boy – Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Picadilly Circus, Westminster Abbey, London Tower, and a show in the West End is a must!
I want to find where my other ancestors lived. I want to see Stonehenge, Ireland, Wales. So much to pack into a short period of time.
Places of my ancestors
Mum’s side definitely has more variety than dad’s as his are mostly congregated in the Staffordshire area with a couple of notable exceptions. I have a page with all my surnames of interest that shows which names came from where.
Mum’s England connections – Bristol, Coventry, London, Essex, Kent, Middlesex, Norfolk, Surrey
Mum’s Scotland connections – Dornoch, Dumfriesshire, Perthshire, Stirlingshire
From these ancestors mum is 4th Generation Australian through the surnames Bridges and Newman; and 5th Generation Australian through the surnames Brand, Criddle/Crittal, Duncan, Ford, Jardine, Matheson, and Thomas.
Dad’s England connections were mainly from Staffordshire – Bilston, Bloxwich, Lane Head, New Invention, Portobello, Sand Beds, Short Heath, Walsall, Wednesbury, Willenhall, Wolverhampton. There are, however, a few outliers from Bedfordshire (some of these went to Wisconsin, USA – another trip I need to take), Buckinghamshire (some of these went to Canada – ooooo another trip), Warwickshire, Worcestershire.
I have made connections with cousins of dad’s side in Staffordshire and the USA through undertaking my research. I have also made many connections in Australia with people searching the same names in mum’s tree. I can’t wait to go on this trip but the planning will take time to do it under budget and to cover the ground I am so desperate to cover.
I think it is wonderful that you want to find out about your ancestors. I think your holiday will be a blast and that your children will later thank you for the experience. We have so much to learn from our ancestors even if they are deceased. I also think a swing on a tree in the cemetery is a great idea. Wishing you a wonderful holiday and I hope you find everything your looking for and so much more.
Thank yo so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I know it will be exciting to undertake this trip and I know my kids will enjoy it as well. It’s just they get a bit sick of my desire to trawl through old buildings. When we went to Tasmania a few years ago they would be “Mum, not another old house!” However, the old houses and buildings have a character that the modern ones are devoid of! Please come again to my site and follow our planning of our trip and then the trip itself as I intend to let you all know how it all goes.
Megan, your holiday plan sounds absolutely fascinating! Are you sure you have no connections with the Burtons based in Essex? That’s my husband’s side. But then again, it’s one of the most diffused surnames in UK, so I guess, it would probably be a little harder for you to pinpoint #lol
I can see how you might struggle with the kids. I suspect that’s because you told them the purpose of your trip. My 17 year old son would be exactly the same. I’m sure, however, when you get here, they will both enjoy the sights, as much as having a peep through the window of your ancestors 🙂
I haven’t as yet come across any Burton’s in my tree and it would be a common name although not as common as Walker is! Have you or your husband ever been to do a trip to explore your heritage?
Oh the kids know I want to go meet the relatives but they also know me too well and know that any trip away will invariably end up with me finding old buildings to explore. When we went to Tasmania a few years ago the response was “not another old house!” However, I think there is enough variety in the UK that we will come across things for everyone to enjoy. So excited to get planning!
I enjoyed reading this post and I am pleased for you that you are planning a Family History Holiday to the UK.
I think you can actually convince your kids to go on a family history holiday. I suggest, one way of doing it, is to encourage them to watch one of UK’s popular TV shows – ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’
The latest series have shown nine celebrities who researched into their family histories. The results were just amazing and were perfect examples of how you never know where your research may take you.
All the best in your plans.
Thank you so much for your reply. I am so excited about this journey I want to take. You are right, I must watch Who Do You Think You Are? with them. I love that show. It is so interesting to hear about where others have come from or the history of the home they are living in. Have you undertaken any research into your family?