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10 Incredible Tours Where You Can Trace Your Ancestry

By: Lynn Coulter and

DNA test kits have made it easy to trace your roots. Now travelers can dig into their personal past by sailing the QE2 to find their English origins or by joining ancestral celebrations in Africa among other incredible journeys.

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Sail Into History

"DNA tourism" is hot now that it's easier than ever to find your ancestral roots. This August, sail back to your English origins on Cunard’s Journey of Genealogy. You won’t board the Mayflower, as pictured here; instead you’ll travel on the luxurious Queen Mary 2 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims' arrival in the New World. Ancestry experts from AncestryProGenealogists will be along to discuss the original voyage and its passengers. This seven-night trip, which boards in Southampton, England and disembarks in New York City, will let you trace your family tree, attend ancestry-themed workshops and learn how your DNA connects you to the global community.

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Photo: Henderson Travel

Explore Your African Ancestry

Henderson Travel Service, says company president Gaynelle S. Henderson, “literally pioneered African tourism.” In 1957, Henderson’s mother chartered a plane from Paris to take a group to celebrate Ghana’s independence and Kwame Nkrumah's inauguration as Africa’s first black president. Since then, she says, “We have received many awards and honors from different African Heads of State, African Travel Associations, hotels and airlines.” While the company still promotes heritage travel to Africa, with trips like the Ghana Cultural Tour with Special Akwasidae Festival and a Black History Month Tour to Senegal and the Gambia, it also offers trips to Asia, Cuba and beyond. Shown here: African Ashanti kings, carried on pallets, arrive at a ceremony honoring Henderson's mother.

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Photo: James Derheim, European Focus Private Tours

Book a Bespoke Tour

Design your own genealogy tour — right down to where you dine — with European Focus Private Tours. Owner and guide James Derheim offers tours for small family groups up to 10; you choose your companions, so you don’t have to travel with strangers. Use the form on his website to indicate your budget and preferences, and he’ll send you a draft itinerary and quote for a genealogy or other custom tour. He or his guides will contact local pastors, historian and archivists and scout your ancestral town in advance, if possible. Add tourist attractions, if you wish. Shown here: a village in Lower Slaughter, Cotswolds, England.

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Photo: EF Go Ahead Tours

Explore the Past in Sicily

From Palermo to Taormina, explore your origins on an 11-day Sicilian Heritage Tour in conjunction with AncestryProGeneaologists. You'll get a review of your family's history prior to departing as well as special genealogy sessions during the trip. Highlights include guided tours of cathedrals in Palermo and Monreale, a visit to Greek ruins in Agrigento and a farm stay in the Enna region. Travelers can sample traditional Sicilian dishes and take cooking lessons while in Siracusa; they continue to the Taormina region for another traditional meal and sightseeing. The trip wraps up with a presentation from an expert genealogist. Shown here: Sicily's Noto Cathedral.

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