ABOUT

Welcome to RevisitGermany.com – your first destination on your journey to trace your ancestors’ footsteps in Germany!

ABOUT THIS BLOG

RevisitGermany.com provides tips and information about cities and towns in Germany as well as historical sightseeing attractions such as museums.

This blog does not provide information about ancestry research or genealogy practices. Instead, it is a place for those, who have already found out that their ancestors came from Germany and have now decided to travel to Germany themselves in order to find out how their ancestors lived in the centuries prior to their emigration.

The blog primarily acts as a travel planning resource for US Americans, but of course anyone with German ancestry can come here to find out which places are worthwhile visiting when planning a family heritage trip to Germany.

Old houses in the former Hanseatic Super Power of Lübeck in Northern Germany

Old houses in the former Hanseatic Super Power of Lübeck in Northern Germany

ABOUT ME

My name is Sonja Irani and I am the founder and writer here at www.revisitgermany.com and www.revisiteurope.com.

My Persian roots

As you can see from my surname, I am not a 100% German. While my mother is German, my father is originally from India. Our surname is easily explained: My father’s ancestors are originally from Persia (the modern Iran). They emigrated to India due to religious prosecution when the Muslims came to power in Iran. The country’s old Persian Parsi faith, to which my dad and his family belong, became a threatened minority. Thus, several generations before my dad was born in India, my ancestors emigrated from Persia (modern-day Iran) to India and became known as the “Iranis”.

Me in September 2019 in Oslo, Norway

LIFE AS A FREELANCER 2015-now

Since early 2015 I am back in Germany and run my own business as a self-employed Marketing Translator and Travel Journalist. This comes with the great advantage of being able to work anywhere in the world – I just need my laptop and a Internet connection.

My hometown of choice

When in Germany, I work from my home base in Bremen, which is the second largest city in Northern Germany as well as the smallest of Germany’s 16 federal states. As a so-called “Nordlicht” (a German expression for a person from the North of the country), I am passionate to promote Northern Germany to visitors and thus like to emphasize that Bremen is the perfect base to explore the rest of the country. The North may be a lesser known region than the regions in the South but no less beautiful and exciting for visitors to discover. After all, Germany is so much more than Neuschwanstein Castle and Oktoberfest…

Bremen’s historic town centre and its very own “Medieval Statue of Liberty”, also known as “the Roland”!

My other travel blogs: FilmFanTravel.com and RevisitEurope.com

My passion for films and travel eventually led to the idea of starting my first blog filmfantravel.com, which is all about film-inspired travel recommendations to destinations that have become known as film locations and film settings.

For a wider approach to ancestral tourism, check out my ancestry-inspired travel blog for the whole of Europe called RevisitEurope.com.

HOW I GOT INTO ANCESTRY RESEARCH

It all started when one day, back in 2005, two gentlemen from America knocked on the door of my parents’ house in Ankum. They had come all the way from Baltimore, Maryland to find out more about their ancestor Arnold, which they had traced back to my small hometown in the North-West of Germany. We found out that Arnold was a cousin of our direct ancestor and that he had emigrated to America as early as the 1850s.

My German genealogy

My mom has since researched the German side of own family history, which is mostly made up of rather poor peasant farmers who all lived in the same region in or around Ankum for as far we can trace them back. So nothing too exciting there. 🙂 The highlight probably was that there were one or two men in the family who reached the age of over 100 years. Back in the 18th century, this was very unusual of course.

A royal connection to Sweden?

In 2019, however, my mum made a new discovery, which was that back in the 18th century, there was an illegitimate daughter in our family tree for which a certain Daniel von Schwietering was named as the father. He was a minor nobleman and most likely not the first-born son. Still, the fact that he was registered in the church baptism entry as the father of a child with a maid was very unusual at the time. The von Schwieterings were a noble family probably orignally from Scandinavia and this may explain why my Ancestry.com DNA Test showed 4 % Swedish.

My present day connection to Sweden

I like to think that this is true. After all, in 2019, I moved to Sweden to live and study here for one year. If all goes according to plan, I will receive my Master’s degree in “Tourism Destination Development” from the University of Dalarna in June 2020. Currently, I am writing on my Master Thesis about Ancestral Tourism to Germany.

A historic farmer's house in the open air museum village Cloppenburg (near Osnabrück)

A historic farmer’s house in the open air museum village Cloppenburg (near Osnabrück)

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU

You found out that your ancestors were from Germany? Perhaps you even know the town or region they emigrated from? Now you would like to come to Germany yourself in order to find out how your ancestors lived? Well, then I hope that this blog provides a good, first overview of where you can go to find out more, what’s really worthwhile visiting and what else you need to know if you’re planning a family heritage trip to Germany.

I am always happy to hear from you! 🙂 For any comments, questions or collaboration requests, please use the contact form below: