Lonely Planet Writer

Follow in your ancestors' footsteps on a genealogy cruise to New York’s Ellis Island

A new genealogy cruise will take you on a journey across the ocean and into your own personal family history.

Queen Mary 2 in New York. Image by Cunard

Cunard cruise line has teamed up with Ancestry.com, an online family history resource, to create an Atlantic sailing where guests are able to trace their genealogy. The cruise line is an appropriate place for many to learn more about where they came from, having played a large role in immigration to the US in the late 1800s. According to the company, one in five immigrants who came through Ellis Island in New York arrived on a Cunard liner.

Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration at Ellis Island. Image by ©Tooykrub/Shutterstock

There will also be four genealogists from Ancestry there to help guests trace their heritage. The experts will show people where their family originated, skills like how to sift through census and military records, and even determine their ethnic mix through AncestryDNA. The experts on board will include: Jennifer Utley, director of research who oversees Ancestry.com research for the television shows Who Do You Think You Are? and Long Lost Family; Angie Bush, a genetic genealogist who can solve complex questions of kinship and identity; Crystal Beutler, part of Ancestry ProGenealogists, who works on episodes of the genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are?; and Simon Pearce, who specializes in researching military ancestors from the First and Second World Wars.

The seven-night transatlantic trip will leave from Southampton, UK, and run from 4 to 11 November on Cunard’s flagship liner Queen Mary 2. There will also be an additional opportunity for a two-night post-voyage tour of Ellis Island, including the immigration halls and immigrant hospital buildings, and New York’s Ancestral Trail, which explores the early history of the city in downtown Manhattan.