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A Genealogist In The Archives: Researching Your Ancestor's Vacations

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Researching Your Ancestor's Vacations

 Summer Vacation!

I just got back from my Summer Vacation and I know a lot of you will be taking yours in the coming months. Have you ever thought about your ancestors and the vacations they took? Are you researching this aspect of your family history? You Should Be!

Many of our ancestors made annual treks to vacation spots across the globe. Maybe they went to a National Park, a favorite camp ground or even to another country. As genealogists we should be researching, documenting and telling the stories of our ancestor's vacations. Many of our families got together during the Summer months for the annual family reunion. Researching our ancestor's vacations should be on our genealogy to-do list!

When I received old photographs that belonged to my Grandmother Ida Kathryn (Drummond) Bartram I found some true gems of my Grandmother and her husband Forrest Cecil Bartram. They were taken during the family vacation to Rice Lake in Ontario, Canada. The whole family would travel from Ellet, Summit County, Ohio to this particular vacation spot year after year. Their daughter, my Mom, Marjorie Ann (Bartram) LeMaster talked about the family vacations at Rice Lake and how much the entire family enjoyed going there year after year. I have documented this vacation spot in my family tree database by adding photos, maps and references to the vacation spot.

Forrest Cecil Bartram, Vacationing at Rice Lake, Canada

Researching your ancestor's vacations can be fun, educational and most importantly help to tell more of our ancestor's life story. Even if your ancestor was poor or you can't imagine they had money to take a vacation, maybe they just took time to visit family, attend that family reunion or better yet go on a honeymoon!

Another ancestor that I researched their vacation was my Great-Great Grandmother, Ida Issadore (Boughner) (Debolt) Ladd. In this case, Ida had married for the second time after the passing of her first husband John T. Debolt. She married John Talbert Renow Ladd and for their honeymoon vacation, they traveled from Salpulpa, Creek County, Oklahoma to Put-in-Bay, Ohio which is a village on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. They even sent a post card to Ida's daughter and son-in-law Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Arn. I find their expression on this picture postcard quite funny, especially with the postcard reading "I am on the wings of Love". Really?? Put-in-Bay is still a vacation destination today!

Postcard from Mr. and Mrs. J.T.R. Ladd to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Arn, ca. 1925

If you are looking to your own vacation, why not plan it around a historic place that your ancestor was known to have been. Many of our ancestors were involved with the Civil War and maybe even fought at a particular battle. Maybe visiting that battlefield will give you a new perspective on your ancestor and the time they spent there. Both my husband's great-great-grandfather Andrew Jackson Barker and my great-great grandfather Oliver Coonrod fought at the battle of Fort Donelson. One for the Confederacy and the other for the Union. Visiting this battlefield has given me a new perspective of our ancestors time there that looking at and reading records can't give me.

Battle of Fort Donelson, cannon batteries on the Cumberland River, Stewart County, Tennessee

Documenting our ancestors vacations and also those places that we know they were during their lives will give us more of their life story. So, while you are vacationing this Summer, think about your ancestors and their vacations and start researching!

Until next time....Remember...It's Not All Online, Contact or Visit an Archive Today!


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  1. Good reminder to check those vacation postcards for family history clues and context. When hubby and I visited Civil War sites some years ago, we didn't know how many of his ancestors (close and distant) served in the war. They were in uniform on both sides, which was a surprise!

    1. Sounds like you have some true treasures. Thank You for reading my blog.

  2. I have some vacation photos from grandparents and parents (before I arrived) and have meant to take a closer look at them. Thanks for the nudge - and for the chuckle at the lovebirds in the boat! (I am Kathy at

    1. You are welcome! Thank You for reading my blog.

  3. Great blog post. Slowly going through family photos so it's good to be reminded to search for clues.