On our way back from a family wedding in Boise, my mom asked if we could take a detour through her home town of Burly, ID. It was about an hour out of the way, but my mom had not seen her home town for over 20 years, so an hour was nothing in comparison.

Burly had not changed much in those two decades. The dusty suburban streets seemed to transport my mother back in time. She was in awe as we passed familiar landmarks: the lonely department store on downtown Main Street, the church house that her father built, the elementary school she attended as a girl.

Finally, as we pulled up to the tiny, white house that she and her six siblings grew up in my mother was in tears. My mom shared the most significant parts of the house with us as she pointed out the yard where she used to play with her dogs, the front porch where she waited for her first date, the window of the bedroom she shared with her older siblings. Witnessing her emotional connection to her home town made Burly an important place to me. Understanding the part it played in my mothers development drew me closer to her.

Seeing where you family comes from is a profound experience, one that should be shared with the whole family. Genealogy trips are a perfect way to get the whole family involved in family history. During your next family vacation, plan a few stops to meaningful areas to where you or your ancestors once walked. These visits will bring your family closer together and knit your hearts to those who came before you.

Before embarking on a genealogy trip, it’s helpful to have a written guide. Answer these questions to help you decide where you and your family should go.

  • What is your goal and expected outcomes?
  • Where do you want to visit? Why?
  • What do you want to feel? What do you want your family to feel?

Make the trip as simple or elaborate as you like. Visit places with profound historical significance, or take a trip to your home town. Wherever you choose to go, be sure to document your thoughts and feelings, take pictures and save them together in a photo book by MyCanvas.