Genealogical Tourism, the vacation designed to explore and find new details about our ancestors and their lives, has become one of the fastest growing markets of vacation travel. This information is coming from a recent study by Professor Carla Santos and graduate student Grace Yan published in the Journal of Travel Research. Santos explained this growth is happening because “genealogical tourism provides an irreplaceable dimension of material reality.” In other words, nothing can quite replace the emotional euphoria we feel when we visit our Great-Grandfather’s original homestead, or when we step off of the train in the same depot as our grandmother as she migrated from Boston to Nebraska.
Santos and Yan go on to explain that the sense of authenticity provides us with a feeling not felt in most vacations. Visiting a variety of tourist attractions gives us a feeling of false fabrication. In my early career we had the term “farby” to describe this misleading, and clearly fabricated sense of entertainment over authenticity.
In addition, Santos and Yan suggest that transportation that has given recent generations the ability to move across country has diminished our sense of “home.” We are apparently “longing for an authentic connection” to our roots.
The article is an interesting bit of information if you can get beyond the excessive vocabulary of the authors. In spite of the overly expansive wording of the authors, this article points to an exciting, expanding interest in Genealogy and Family History research; an increase that is very encouraging.
And thanks go out to Dick Eastman and the Eastman On-line Newsletter for bringing this article to my attention.