My name is Lisa Alzo. I am a freelance writer, instructor, lecturer and long-time genealogist and your Immersion Genealogy Guide.
For the longest time, I imagined what it would be like to travel to my ancestral homeland of Slovakia and visit my maternal grandmother’s village of Milpoš. I had seen pictures of this area — a beautiful place nestled in the southwestern slopes of the Cergov mountain in Eastern Slovakia. I also heard stories about the families living there from others who had visited, so I thought I had an idea of what to expect. I finally made the trip to Milpoš in June 2010, and what I found there far exceeded my expectations. As I stood in front of the village sign, and then walked along the same roads where my grandmother once walked, it was simply the most awesome feeling — something only I could experience for myself. I was on a genealogical journey, meeting cousins and extended family for the first time, experiencing the food, language, and culture, and tracking down new records for my ancestors in the places where these events actually occurred. And, even though I had been researching my roots for more than 20 years, I never truly felt like a real genealogist until I walked in my ancestors’ footsteps.
This ancestral pilgrimage was uniquely my own, and I searched for the perfect way to describe it and eventually decided on “immersion genealogy”, which I have defined as “the process of discovering where and how our ancestors lived, worked, and worshipped, and experiencing first-hand those customs and traditions they passed down through the generations”.
Family history is so much more than just names, dates, and places, or boxes, lines, citations and charts. For 21st century genealogists, it is easy to limit our research to the documents or other facts we find online, or rely on information others share in their family trees, or via social media. Immersion genealogy gives us the opportunity to take our research a step further to help us to truly understand our ancestors’ lives.
I created the Immersion Genealogy website to help others create their own more complete family history experiences. My vision is for it to be a one stop website for resources, information and inspiration for both beginning and seasoned genealogists alike. Follow our blog for useful tips such as how to plan an immersion genealogy experience of your own, locating professional researchers, guides and translators, and what to expect when you get there. Testimonials and stories by others who have walked where their ancestors walked are sure to inspire you about the possibilities for making new memories and establishing new connections to fuel your continued work as a genealogist. Sign up for our free newsletter to be the first to learn about new products or services such as eBooks, QuickSheets, tutorials, webinars and more.
Whether your genealogical journey takes you across America, or to distant shores, or even if your circumstances only allow for a virtual experience, we hope you will find our site helpful. Thanks for watching!