11 Destinations Across the World to Discover Your Roots

by Christina Garofalo

11 Destinations Across the World to Discover Your Roots

by Christina Garofalo

Thanks to the popularity of at-home DNA testing, ancestry-inspired travel is on the rise in America. Now, travel agencies are using genealogical research to curate these bucket list-worthy destinations — where the highest number of Americans have descended from — even more personal.

Thanks to the popularity of at-home DNA testing, ancestry-inspired travel is on the rise in America. Now, travel agencies are using genealogical research to curate these bucket list-worthy destinations — where the highest number of Americans have descended from — even more personal.

11
Bordeaux, France esperanza33-istock / esperanza33 / iStock
Costwold Village, England
1 of 11
United Kingdom

More than 30 million Americans trace their lineage to England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Ancestral Footsteps offers genealogical research and bespoke family history tours in the U.K. (and around the world). Guests on these tours can expect to explore battlefields, factories, and majestic castles from the Isle of Skye, the Highlands, and beyond. From $9,000 per person, depending on the itinerary. 

 

More than 30 million Americans trace their lineage to England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Ancestral Footsteps offers genealogical research and bespoke family history tours in the U.K. (and around the world). Guests on these tours can expect to explore battlefields, factories, and majestic castles from the Isle of Skye, the Highlands, and beyond. From $9,000 per person, depending on the itinerary. 

Krakow, Poland
2 of 11
Poland

From World War II to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Eastern Europeans migrated west in mass. Today, nine million Americans claim Polish ancestry. The Polish Genealogical Society of America’s most popular tours are to Galicia and the Prussian Partition (from $2,400 per person based on double occupancy); while Polin Travel focuses on Jewish genealogy of Nazi-occupied Poland, and specializes in visits to the former Krakow Ghetto and the deportation monument (contact for pricing). 

From World War II to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Eastern Europeans migrated west in mass. Today, nine million Americans claim Polish ancestry. The Polish Genealogical Society of America’s most popular tours are to Galicia and the Prussian Partition (from $2,400 per person based on double occupancy); while Polin Travel focuses on Jewish genealogy of Nazi-occupied Poland, and specializes in visits to the former Krakow Ghetto and the deportation monument (contact for pricing). 

Moschea del Senegal
3 of 11
Senegal

Thanks to newly established museums and public resources available to tourists, ancestral travel is growing rapidly in West Africa. Henderson Travel Service offers ancestral trips to Senegal and other West African nations. Stops include Goree Island (where millions of enslaved Africans were held before being shipped to the Americas), as well as picturesque sites like Lake Retba (also known as the Pink Lake) and bucket list-worthy safaris. From $3,600 per person (based on double occupancy) depending on the itinerary.

Thanks to newly established museums and public resources available to tourists, ancestral travel is growing rapidly in West Africa. Henderson Travel Service offers ancestral trips to Senegal and other West African nations. Stops include Goree Island (where millions of enslaved Africans were held before being shipped to the Americas), as well as picturesque sites like Lake Retba (also known as the Pink Lake) and bucket list-worthy safaris. From $3,600 per person (based on double occupancy) depending on the itinerary.

Jerusalem, Israel
4 of 11
Israel

Although Ashkenazi Jews once settled across Europe, many were force to flee in the 20th century due to persecution. Today, the U.S. is home to more than five million Ashkenazi Jews, and Israel remains their most important melting pot. A trip there — whether through the many Birthright programs (free) or independent tours — offers the chance to connect with the 4,000-year history of Judaism at sights like the Western Wall and Tower of David.

Although Ashkenazi Jews once settled across Europe, many were force to flee in the 20th century due to persecution. Today, the U.S. is home to more than five million Ashkenazi Jews, and Israel remains their most important melting pot. A trip here — whether through the many Birthright programs (free) or independent tours — offers the chance to connect with the 4,000-year history of Judaism at sights like the Western Wall and Tower of David.

Frankfurt, Germany
5 of 11
Germany

America is home to some 47 million people of Germany ancestry. Those looking to learn more about their German heritage can book a trip to Hamburg, Cologne, Munich, or, alternatively, embark onboard a Rhine River cruise with Go Ahead Tours, which has partnered with Ancestry.com to design trips led by Ancestry’s genealogists. From $3,800 per person (based on double occupancy) depending on the itinerary.

America is home to some 47 million people of Germany ancestry. Those looking to learn more about their German heritage can book a trip to Hamburg, Cologne, Munich, or, alternatively, embark onboard a Rhine River cruise with Go Ahead Tours, which has partnered with Ancestry.com to design trips led by Ancestry’s genealogists. From $3,800 per person (based on double occupancy) depending on the itinerary.

Cobh Cathedral, Ireland
6 of 11
Ireland

It’s no surprise that Ireland is one of the most popular ancestral travel destinations. From 1820 through 1860, the Irish made up more than one-third of the immigrant population in the U.S. Today, more than 30 million Americans claim Irish roots. An ancestral trip with My Ireland Family Heritage might include visits to homes and churches from the Cork countryside to the northern tip of Donegal (contact for pricing). 

It’s no surprise that Ireland is one of the most popular ancestral travel destinations. From 1820 through 1860, the Irish made up more than one-third of the immigrant population in the U.S. Today, more than 30 million Americans claim Irish roots. An ancestral trip with My Ireland Family Heritage might include visits to homes and churches from the Cork countryside to the northern tip of Donegal (contact for pricing). 

Gold Coast, Ghana
7 of 11
Ghana

Ghana's historic Cape Coast once played a significant role in the transatlantic slave trade. Now, both the government and Ministry of Tourism are working to attract those with African roots to learn more about their heritage through events like the biannual Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival, Emancipation Day celebrations, and Juneteenth. Ashanti African Tours offers pre-set and bespoke tours (contact for pricing).

Ghana's historic Cape Coast once played a significant role in the transatlantic slave trade. Now, both the government and Ministry of Tourism are working to attract those with African roots to learn more about their heritage through events like the biannual Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival, Emancipation Day celebrations, and Juneteenth. Ashanti African Tours offers pre-set and bespoke tours (contact for pricing).

1920x748_volterra-tuscany_stevanzz-istock.jpg
8 of 11
Italy

There's more than 15.5 million Italian-Americans in the U.S., and a large number of them have ancestral roots in Southern Italy and Sicily. Southern Italy Travel helps clients trace their family roots, while also working to connect heritage-seekers with local customs and family members (along with fun sightseeing). A typical itinerary might begin in Naples and continue on to the picturesque Trulli Valley, before concluding on the Amalfi Coast (contact for pricing). 

There's more than 15.5 million Italian-Americans in the U.S., and a large number of them have ancestral roots in Southern Italy and Sicily. Southern Italy Travel helps clients trace their family roots, while also working to connect heritage-seekers with local customs and family members (along with fun sightseeing). A typical itinerary might begin in Naples and continue on to the picturesque Trulli Valley, before concluding on the Amalfi Coast (contact for pricing). 

Shanghai, China
9 of 11
China

Since the 1800s, millions of Chinese immigrants have settled in the U.S. My China Roots specializes in providing genealogy research for Americans with Chinese ancestry (think over two million people). The organization also offers itineraries aimed at connecting clients to their clan or ancestral village, and may include visits to museums and other historical attractions (contact for pricing). 

Since the 1800s, millions of Chinese immigrants have settled in the U.S. My China Roots specializes in providing genealogy research for Americans with Chinese ancestry (think over two million people). The organization also offers itineraries aimed at connecting clients to their clan or ancestral village, and may include visits to museums and other historical attractions (contact for pricing). 

Alsace, France
10 of 11
France

From 1789 through 1815 (as a result of the French Revolution), many French citizens fled to America. Now, there's approximately eight million Americans with French ancestry. Personalized heritage tours, like those offered through Europe Focus Private Tours, combine family research with sightseeing. Trips can venture from the small villages of the French Alps, Alsace, and beyond (contact for pricing). 

From 1789 through 1815 (as a result of the French Revolution), many French citizens fled to America. Now, there's approximately eight million Americans with French ancestry. Personalized heritage tours, like those offered through Europe Focus Private Tours, combine family research with sightseeing. Trips can venture from the small villages of the French Alps, Alsace, and beyond (contact for pricing). 

Zaanstad, Netherlands
11 of 11
The Netherlands

Some four and-a-half million U.S. citizens have Dutch ancestry. Those who are eager enough to learn more about their heritage should consider a trip with Dutch Roots Tours, which designs itineraries around their clients' interests and family history. A private guide takes travelers to explore towns and rural areas, while also offering historical insight, local connections, visit houses, farms, churches, shops, companies, cemeteries, and pubs of ancestral significance (contact for pricing). 

Some four and-a-half million U.S. citizens have Dutch ancestry. Those who are eager enough to learn more about their heritage should consider a trip with Dutch Roots Tours, which designs itineraries around their clients' interests and family history. A private guide takes travelers to explore towns and rural areas, while also offering historical insight, local connections, visit houses, farms, churches, shops, companies, cemeteries, and pubs of ancestral significance (contact for pricing). 

Up next...

Top 10 Destinations to Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day

Dublin, Ireland
Go Back
Find The Best Cruises
Find a cruise

Find the best deals!

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices