Family History Holiday

Family History Holiday – Update 3

I realised recently that I hadn’t updated my readers on the progress of our Family History Holiday in a long time.  So with about three months left until we leave I will update you on where we are at in our plans.



I have booked and paid for all our accommodation – we are staying in Airbnb’s the entire trip and it was a very reasonable price compared to traditional hotels.  I love Airbnb’s as you stay in normal residential areas, live amongst the locals, and will often have an entire place to yourself.  A couple of places we stay in we are guests in the family home but I’m excited about that especially for the first place we stay.


Ilford, London
1974 Megan enjoying Valentines Park
Megan enjoying Valentines Park as a childa


Ilford is a town approximately 24km from the centre of London and is where I lived as a young child.  We will be staying in a room in a family home.  Ironically the home we have booked to stay in is across the road from my childhood home!  Apparently as a child I did spend time in this home so it will be interesting to see if I have any memories.  There is a park down the road from where we will be staying called Valentine’s Park and I spent a lot of time there as a child.





St Ives, Cambridgeshire

We then move onto St Ives for a night, staying in a family home that I have booked.  Whilst there we are catching up with a friend who has been living in the UK for the past few years.  We haven’t seen her for about 18 months since she was last home to visit her family and are very excited to be seeing her.

Windermere Lakes District
Windermere Lakes Districtb



Kendal, Cumbria

We will then travel up to the Lakes District to have a look around.  I am very excited to see the area especially Windermere made famous by Beatrix Potter.  The photos I have seen of the whole region are just breathtaking.



Old Plean, Scotland
Dornoch, Scotland
Dornoch, Scotlandc

We will then wind our way up to Scotland and stay in Old Plean about 9km north of Falkirk.  This region is particularly relevant to my family history as this is where my great-great-great-grandfather George Brand lived with his family.  George Brand was sent to Australia as a convict and you can read about him in my series George Brand – A Convict Success Story.


Dornoch, Scotland

We then travel up to Dornoch, via Fort William and the Jacobite Steam Train, to see where the Matheson side of my family originated.  I am really looking forward to the Scottish part of the trip as there is so much known about the Brand’s and Matheson’s that seeing where they came from and walking where they walked is exciting.


Edinburgh, Scotland

We then travel down to Edinburgh where I hope to get time to visit the archives and see the original court documentation for George Brand.  I know from the genealogist who I hired to get me some images of the documents that the records run to over 500 pages!  I hope to be able to spend some time photographing some more of the document and reading what occurred.


Thirsk, Yorkshire

We will then weave our way down to Yorkshire to have a look at this region.  I love the Yorkshire accent so cannot wait to mingle with some locals.


Stafford Castle, Staffordshire UK
Stafford Castle, Staffordshire UKd

Finally we will arrive in Staffordshire.  Here we will spend time meeting relatives and exploring where so many of our ancestors came from.  I am both excited and nervous about this part as there are just so many new people to meet.  This will also give me a greater understanding of where my dad came from.  He talks about walking between villages to visit cousins – this concept is foreign to me having grown up with the vast distances that Australia has to offer.  I have booked accommodation in Wolverhampton and when I told one of the cousins she was aghast that we were staying so far away.  The majority of the family is in Willenhall, a mere 5.6 km away, yet for my UK family that is quite a distance.  The suburb we live in is that distance from side to the other!



We then travel back to the outskirts of London for our final two days before we fly home.  As it is the opposite side of London to where we first stay we will do some of the tourist things on that side.


As you can see we will have a full 4 weeks on our trip.  The excitement is really building as I start purchasing items we need to take on our Family History Holiday.


I love to hear from my readers.  Please comment below and tell me about your family history holiday or any tips you have for travelling around the UK.

Image Credits
a. Megan enjoying Valentines Park as a child, Original in author’s possession.
b. Mountain Hikes, Windermere,, accessed 8 June 2018.
c. British Marine Life Study Society, Dornoch,, Accessed 8 June 2018.
d. Stafford Castle, Staffordshire, England,, accessed 8 June 2018.


4 thoughts on “Family History Holiday – Update 3

  1. Wow! Your Family History Holiday sounds amazing! Because I’m so into my own family genealogy, I’m excited for you. I can’t wait to read about your travels, see pictures and hear about all the wonderful family gems you come up with while you are traveling.

    I have to admit, I have never had such a family trip like you have planned. I was Chair person for two family reunions we’ve had on my father’s side of the family. Those reunions are quite a lot of work because the committee has to work together to make sure there are events planned for everyone and details are handled without any glitches. Usually there is a Meet & Greet the first evening – on Friday evening. At that gathering is the time to hold a family meeting to discuss some details of the next family reunion ( i.e. which city it will be held in, which family members will be in charge of details, etc. ) then on Saturday there is a family picnic at a local park, and family dinner banquet that evening. In between time, there is free time for shopping, etc. Then on Sunday, there is a church service the family attends together before parting ways.

    I have been to family reunions held in Ohio, Georgia, Virginia and two in South Carolina so far. As I stated, I was Chairperson for two but before Chair, I started off being the family newsletter editor sending out updates of family information (birthdays, etc.) and then moved to Treasurer collecting money for registration and then Chair. When I found out there was a family reunion, I jumped in with both feet because I was so excited I found my family (or in this situation that my family found ME!)

    I wish you and your family safe travels.

    Will you write articles along the way or will you wait until you get home to write about your entire journey?

    Have fun!


    1. Hi Yvette

      Thank you for sharing. A family reunion weekend sounds awesome! I’m hoping that we can do something like that when we get to Staffordshire – I know a couple of the cousins have big ideas! It is great that your family has been able to organise the family like a small organisation with newsletters etc. Such great ideas. I intend to blog as we go – 1. so everyone can keep up with what we are doing and 2. so we remember everything. I can’t wait to get to Scotland and Staffordshire to walk in my ancestors steps!


    1. Hi Steve

      I can’t wait for this adventure to start! I intend to write about everything each step of the way. I’m most looking forward to Scotland and walking in the steps of my ancestors and Staffordshire to do the same but also meet the family. It’s becoming a bit real now!!


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