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Ancestral Places – A Journey through the Landscapes of our Ancestors

The Kilted Ancestors prompt for September 2023 in line with the Annual Genealogy Challenges & Triumphs topic was in relation to Places.


As we travel through time whilst researching our Family History, we discover that the landscapes they inhabited can hold the key to unlocking hidden stories. Researching these places will provide valuable insights that can be added to our family narrative.


Treat these places as more than just a dot on a map!


Meticulously track your Ancestors footsteps & start by looking at Family Archives, Census Returns, Letters, Newspaper Articles & Photographs to gather information about the communities that they lived in. Next check out online websites or databases, local archives or historical societies to try to obtain further information about the place that shaped the lives of your relatives.


Once armed with information from documents it is time to visit the place for yourself. Walk the streets, visit local churches, museums or landmarks, try to ascertain if the homes that they lived in still exist.

Postcard of Edinburgh Old Town

Whilst visiting some of these places try to find out more about the social & cultural context in which your ancestors lived. As we explore the places our Ancestors called home, we can often stumble upon unexpected discoveries that will add layers to our own research. This may be to visit the church where family married or were baptised, the school the children attended or the cemetery where a family are buried.


Remember that researching locations does not need to be a solitary endeavour, take family with you or connect with living relatives who may live in the area.


Another great thing to do is reach out to family near & far in connection with the place you are researching & pool resources to help piece things together.


Stornoway Bay, Isle of Lewis

I have fond memories of family trips when I started my research when my mother, two Uncles & myself visited various villages where our Ancestors lived, there was something really special about standing outside the home where my Great Grandfather was born as well as walking along row after row of graves until we found the family plot. These trips always featured a packed lunch & a visit to a local Museum or Library. One of my uncles may no longer be with us, but I remember those trips like they were yesterday.


By delving into the landscapes that shaped our Ancestors lives, we gain a richer understanding of who we are & where we come from, so never overlook the places they lived!

 

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