Ancestral tourism has become a popular hobby in many countries. So much so that genealogy is often called a “pop-science” now.
National identity plays a huge role in a person's development, it gives a sense of belonging and affiliation to places and groups of people. Throughout the centuries Lithuania experienced many different waves of emigration. People ran from political repressions or toward economic opportunity. Now you can meet Lithuanians everywhere.
The first wave of recorded migration occurred in the 19th century when large groups of Lithuanians left for the US. They were among other immigrant groups like the Irish, Germans or British who went there in search of a better life. Later, waves of people escaping from political repressions followed scattering Lithuanians across the globe from Argentina to Australia.
The most recent emigration waves followed independence and after joining the EU in 2004. Many Lithuanian citizens left for studies and work. There is a saying that meeting a Lithuanian abroad is as common as encountering a pigeon. Everybody has at least one Lithuanian friend or coworker.
In our interview with Egle Jarasiunaite, we discuss the reasons why people want to reconnect with their roots.
“What keeps me motivated is that people told me that it has changed their life. It's just nice to know that I helped somebody that has been looking for an identity. They get the answers. Now they know who they are. Why all their life they had to eat this food. And why their grandparents spoke a weird language.”- said Egle Jarasiunaite