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How to trace your family roots through DNA travel

Note from 10Best: Someday, we’ll all be ready to pack our suitcases again and head out on our next adventures. In the meantime, here’s some inspiration for the future.

Looking at the panoramic picture hanging in my boutique hotel room at New York’s Irish-themed Merrion Row Hotel & Public House, I wasn’t sure if I was experiencing déjà vu or flashbacks. The image of a vast, verdant field – with a stone wall snaking through the foreground and clouds threatening overhead – made me feel nostalgic and connected to my Irish roots.

It’s not the first time I’ve been mentally or emotionally transported back to the motherland, but my stay at the Merrion Row reignited my desire to walk the land of my ancestors. I’d been to Ireland many times and know the names of the relatives that immigrated to the U.S., but I had yet to identify the town where they lived and, in some cases, died. I was longing to set my feet to that ground.

Discovering the family townland near Newmarket on Fergus — Photo courtesy of Wendy O’Dea

The DNA test that confirmed my Irish roots shed some light, confirming that the O’Dea branch of my family found its way to America from County Clare in western Ireland, but it didn’t indicate a specific…

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