Historical Attractions in the United States

For me, genealogy has sparked a general interest in American history. I remember thinking history was so boring in high school. Text book learning, apparently, is not my thing. However, during the past few years I have visited places that have historical significance in our great country. I have learned so much through my visits, and have developed a love for history.

Besides the fact that visiting historical attractions can be fun, interesting, and exciting, they can also teach us a lot about our ancestors. Having a direct connection with historical places can be a very humbling experience. Listed below is just an example of the many historical attractions located throughout the United States.

1) Ellis Island is located in New York City and served as the United States’ premier federal immigration station from 1892 to 1954. Many of our ancestors, from countries all over the world, landed at Ellis Island during these years.

2) Towns and cities of early settlement, such as Plymouth, Massachusetts, Jamestown, Virginia, Boston, and Philadelphia, are rich in American history. Many of us can trace our ancestors back to the Revolutionary War or the Mayflower. In fact, I recently learned that an estimated ten percent of Americans have ancestors who were Mayflower passengers.

3) Washington D.C. has a number of museums, monuments, and memorials that tell the story of our country’s history. You are sure to find something in the capital city that relates to your ancestors. The best part of Washington D.C. is that many of the attractions are free.

4) If it weren’t for an episode of Who Do You Think You Are, I may not have ever thought to visit the sites of the California gold rush. It has now made my list of “must see places”.

5) Salem, Massachusetts is another town filled with historic significance. Here many women and men were accused, and some killed, of committing witchcraft. If you have ancestors that were in and around Salem during 1692, it is likely they played a role in the Salem witch trials.

Have you visited a historical attraction? What did you think? How did it make you feel?

Photo: My daughter helping a “pilgrim” plant corn at the Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts.