Travel agencies can sometimes connect families

12 years ago

Travel agencies

can sometimes connect families

    At the recent Wassebec Genealogical Society meeting we had expected a presentation on Polish research. What we did not expect was a cute 15-year-old Polish girl named Alex. Alex spoke excellent English and was on a whirlwind tour of America’s Northeast while visiting with our presenter and her cousin, Betty Carolin. Alex’s bright presence enlivened the meeting, and it was clear that these recently united cousins from separate countries shared a deep love of family and a newly found enthusiasm for family history.

Family Searcher

 By Nina Brawn   ED-FamilySearcher-dcX-sharpt-9 This unexpected benefit to us was the result of an unexpected problem with Betty’s travel plans over a year ago. With only three weeks to come up with an alternate plan, Betty remembered something about the travel agency working to find your relatives in foreign countries. Like many of us who know our roots; she had long dreamed of, yet never expected, meeting the Polish cousins she had heard of all through her childhood. The MIR Corporation — Custom Travel <> used those three weeks and Betty’s hastily gathered and somewhat scanty information to find some of her relatives and arrange for Betty to meet them in Poland.

    To say it was a joyous reunion is apparently understating the excitement among the gathered relatives. Fortunately, pretty Alex had been studying English, and served as an extra translator for both sides of the family. The visit ended much too soon as the rest of the original tour schedule remained intact. Alex, a tech savvy teen, has been e-mailing and Facebook-ing Americans ever since. Luckily for us, her month in America coincided with our annual Wassebec picnic meeting.

    During her stay so far, they had been to Rhode Island, Niagara Falls and New York City, as well as Dover-Foxcroft. Somehow Betty and Alex found the time to create a beautiful display board of family members (on both sides of the Atlantic) complete with beautiful old sepia-toned photos, as well as current photos. Betty’s visit has definitely spurred the interest in family history for many family members, and repaired broken links in the communication chain.

    I have never been lucky enough to need the services of such a travel agency, but a quick search on Google “international genealogy travel” showed me that there are many companies ready and able to fulfill your family history/reunion needs. Most of these companies specialize in specific countries or even specialize in ethnic areas within countries. There are many for the UK and for European regions.

    If you are considering such travel plans, you should think about finding a travel agent familiar with the specific region you wish to visit. Just be sure you use common sense in verifying that you are dealing with a trustworthy company before you reveal personal and financial information. There are so very many travel restrictions and regulations, passports and visas which you will need ahead of time, and an experienced agent will be able to guide you through the lengthy process.

    If Betty and Alex are any kind of example, then the family rewards are well worth any effort.

    Editor’s note: Columnist Nina Brawn of Dover-Foxcroft, who has been doing genealogy for over 30 years, is a freelance genealogy researcher, speaker and teacher. Reader e-mails are welcome at  The Aroostook County Genealogical Society meets the fourth Monday of the month except in July and December at the Cary Medical Center’s Chan Education Center, 163 Van Buren Road, Caribou, at 6:30 p.m. Guests and prospective members are always welcome. FMI contact Edwin “J” Bullard at 492-5501.