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 and tips. 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.

As you can see from my surname, I am not a 100% German. My father is originally from India and has emigrated to Germany as a 23-year-old “guest worker” in 1970. 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 and their old Persian Parsi faith became a threatened minority.

Me in February 2017 in Sweden's capital Stockholm
Me in February 2017 in Sweden’s capital Stockholm

If you would like to know more about me, here is a brief overview of my life so far:

GROWING UP IN GERMANY

I was born in October 1985 in the suburban town of Georgsmarienhütte just outside of Osnabrück, a medium-sized city in the federal state of Lower Saxony in the North-West of Germany.

When I was 2, my parents moved from the city Osnabrück to the small town of Ankum, about 40 km north of Osnabrück, to live at the house of my grandparents. This is where I grew up with my sister Silvia, who was born in 1989.

EXCHANGE YEAR IN ENGLAND 2003-2004

From early on in my childhood I wanted to see more of this world than just this little snapshot that was my German home town.

I’ve also always wanted to experience what it’s like to actually live in a different country rather than just visiting as a tourist. That’s why I was really eager to spend a high school exchange year abroad. America seemed a bit too far away at the time, so I chose nearby England instead. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions in my life.

 

Me in Stockholm again. I really like it there. :-)
Me in Stockholm again. I really like it there. 🙂

FIRST JOB AND FIRST BIG USA TRIP 2006-2011

From 2006 to 2009, I studied Multilingual Communication (a mix of translation, language and business studies) with English and French in Cologne, Germany. Afterwards, I moved back to Lower Saxony and for a year and a half to work in my first “proper” job as a Project Manager at an international fashion company.

The travel bug came back to bug me in 2011 and I embarked on yet another big travel adventure: Three months USA made my biggest travel dream become a reality and took me all across this vast country!

LIVING IN LONDON 2011-2015

Later in 2011, I moved back to the UK in order to experience what it’s like to live and work in really big city abroad. Of course there was only one city for that purpose: The UK’s multicultural capital London!

The fact that I used to work part-time in a cinema, first while still at school in Germany and then later on during the three and a half years as a “temporary local” in London, came in handy: Being able to see movies for free, I just watched a whole lot of them… all the time! 🙂

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 for film fans on a budget.

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.

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

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 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 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.

For any comments, questions or collaboration requests, send an e-mail to: info@revisitgermany.com 

I am always happy to hear from you! 🙂