America’s love of ancestry hits the road. Welcome to heritage tourism.

Actress Lea Michele travels to Ellis Island to learn about her ancestry on the television show “Who Do You Think You Are?’’ Inspired by genealogy-themed TV shows, DNA test kits, and ancestry research websites, Americans are now exploring their family trees by traveling back to their homelands, fueling the trend of heritage tourism.

Tens of millions of Americans have signed up to research their genealogy on websites such as and, or purchased DNA testing kits through companies like 23andme. As a nation of immigrants, we want to know where we’re from.

Now, we not only want to know our country of origin, we want to explore it, too. Professional genealogists are seeing a rise in heritage tourism.

“We’ve had more and more people asking us to assist them in preparing for trips back to their ancestral homes,’’ said Alice Kane, consultations manager at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. “People are contacting us to help them with research, so they’re prepared when they travel overseas. One of the things we tell them is to plan a few months in advance so they have time to do the research and make the most out of their trip.’’