|A Meyer-Wiltse family photo including five ancestors on Dad's side of the family. |
c. 1920, probably North Dakota.
I have always had an interest in genealogy. It has especially taken off this decade, after I got onto family tree websites and discovered more about my ancestors than I ever could have imagined. Last year, I had conversations with some genealogist relatives who had materials I'd like to see, but that couldn't easily be emailed. I knew that I'd probably have to drive to their homes to see them. This was already a far-flung undertaking, from Idaho to North Dakota. While I was at it, I figured I could visit some grandparent-generation relatives as well, just for the sake of copying old pictures and tapping into living memories. Then I started to find out where many of my ancestors lived and are buried, and wanted to see those sites too. The more I planned the tour, the more I added to it. I've included genealogy libraries in the itinerary. By sheer coincidence, there will be an extended family reunion in Montana this 4th of July. That would be perfectly timed to coincide with this tour as well.
By now I have points of interest mapped out in a loop all around the Western and Midwestern U.S. I'll keep updates of the exact locations and dates on this Google Map.
View Great Grand Genealogy Tour of the Western U.S. in a larger map
It will take a good month to complete this loop! My approximate time frame is mid-June to mid-July. I'm "lucky" enough to be unemployed this summer, so I can spare the time. As for the funds, I have saved up a little of my own, and am accepting help from a variety of sources. First, I'll be posting a Kickstarter page to accept online donations by mid-May. If I understand Kickstarter correctly, you're only committed to your donation if I collect a minimum threshold amount to enable the project. Second, I will take a video camera and scanner along on the tour, and will compile my findings in a book and / or DVD. These will be available for sale afterward. I will offer them free to relatives who help pitch in to the tour by donating generously, contributing valuable material, or helping with videography along the way. I also welcome anyone who can drive along part of the route with me!
I have come to realize that at least two more Great Grand Genealogy Tours are called for in the future: The GGG Tour of the Eastern U.S. and Canada, and the GGG Tour of Europe.
Stay tuned to this blog for updates.
For your preliminary information:
I do currently have family trees on Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com (free; you can view deceased relatives right away, or the living if you submit a request to join the tree).
SFagerland@yahoo.com is my email address for contact as well as PayPal contributions. ;)
P.S. If anyone knows how to get a hold of James Valenta's materials, please let me know. He's a relative on Mom's side (Helten / Schuler) who posted a family tree on MyHeritage.com a few years ago. It looks very rich but requires permission to view, and James died an untimely death.