Saturday, March 22, 2008

Geneaology Surfing and Travel Agent Hunting

I've steered clear of the and sites for awhile now just because I didn't really see the utility of it. Do I care if I was descended from so-and-so royalty? No, but then the odds were pretty good that my family wouldn't be descended from rich people anyway. Why not? Well, if they were rich and powerful enough, they wouldn't have moved to America now, would they? Anyhow, I did finally find a useful reason for doing the research: I might meet them someday.

I got about two generations beyond Grandpa Leahy, and two generations beyond my Great-Grandpa Kliefoth, just because a) I was curious, and b) the breadcrumbs/records were there. The Leahy clan came from somewhere in Ireland, County Kerry or Cork. The Kliefoths (maternal grandfather's family) were from Mecklenburg, Germany. The Leahys came over to the U.S. in the late 19th century, the Kliefoths came over in the early 20th (1920s). There are other family strands to dig for, but the Leahys and the Kliefoths had the strongest influence on my life, so they're getting the priority search (so there, nyah!).

Otherwise, a coworker who'd been to Ireland about 6 years ago dropped off a big book of books and brochures from his trip. If I didn't have a stinking cold, I'd be reading that stuff right now. As it is, I'm just surfing because somehow it's less brain-intensive than trying to absorb the sites and history of Ireland. My quality reading time has been consumed by shopping for juice and soup, and naps.

Along similar lines, I took my dad's advice and started sifting through the list of travel agents from the United States Tour Operators Association. It is true what Rick Steves says: the travel/tour business is not set up for the independent traveler. It is d@mned expensive to try and wing it on one's own. My sister did a Europe tour in '01 (before 9/11, lucky her), and she thought that she had plenty of unsupervised time to suit her. She also appreciated the relative safety of being in a group. Being outcast from the herd on many an occasion in the past, being part of one is rather unfamiliar to me now. Safety? Never mind safety, will I have any quiet time AWAY from the group? Different priorities, I guess. Still, it would be helpful if there was some sort of package deal for mavericks like me, who want the convenience, but don't want the herding or hand-holding.

Travel agencies for Independent Travel (Ireland)

Travel agencies for Independent Travel (France)

Travel agencies for Independent Travel (Italy)

Just for fun, I reworked the itinerary again, this time doing Ireland-Italy-France. The flight from Paris back to the States was cheaper, but that difference was more than made up by having to take a train from Shannon to Dublin and then a plane from Dublin to Rome, so the previous plan is still pretty much in place. However, I did reprice things to see what it would cost if I stayed in B&Bs in Ireland and Rome, and the price was just staggering when one includes MI&E. Ye flippin' gods. Guess I'll have to break down and find a travel agent who will put up with me...after I'm healthy again, of course.

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