Back Tracking
You can walk into America's past—and follow in your ancestors' footsteps—at the country's hottest historic destinations. Plan your 2005 travels with our roundup of 28 timeless towns and 11 genealogy hot spots.
You can't deny it: As addicted as you are to finding hard genealogy facts and adding generations to your family tree, there's a deeper desire driving your family history quest. You're not satisfied with mere names and dates on your pedigree charts — you want to

learn what your forebears' lives were actually like. You aim to understand their trials and triumphs, to envision their everyday experiences and to discover their roles in shaping our collective past.

But you won't find the answers you're after in microfilm rolls or computer files. And you'll have a tough time imagining other eras amidst the skyscrapers and strip malls that make up modern cityscapes. So where can you step into your ancestors' shoes? We searched high and low for America's hottest historic destinations — places where yesterday remains as vibrant as today, and you can truly experience history as your forebears lived it. We finally settled on 28 timeless towns that represent our nation's (and your families') diverse historical, cultural and geographic backgrounds. Our roundup highlights eight spectacular spots across America, and gives snapshots of 20 more heritage havens, so you can start planning a getaway to your ancestors' day.