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Monday, July 1, 2024

Finding Our Roots Moline, Illinois

Have you ever visited a place to find your roots? We traveled to Moline, Illinois to find ours.

Before you go on your amazing journey to find your roots, click here to make sure your car is ready for the road trip.


2022 Cross-Country Road Trip Stop 24

When me and my sister, Sandie, first started to talk about doing a cross-country trip together many years ago, Moline, Illinois was one of the first places we put on our wish to visit list. Moline is the birthplace and childhood home of our Dad. 

Me and Sandie grew up in Brooklyn, NY, where all you see are sidewalks and buildings, so when dad talked about raising chickens as a kid, we pictured him living in a very rural area, although not on a farm. Moline turned out to be a bigger city than we thought it would be.

We were excited for the plans we had in Moline but first we had to check into our campground. We checked and double-checked that we were in the right place as we were the only campers in this big campground.

To add to the eeriness of the place, the bathroom closest to our spot was closed and the open one was not really close. None of us really wanted to go wandering down to it by ourselves to take a shower so the four of us jumped in in the car and made the trip together.

Growing up, neither my dad, grandma or any other relative ever mentioned that John Deere, the green tractor manufacturer, had their headquarters in Moline. I found out on a road trip, when our kids were little, when one of their green trucks went by us and I happened to see Moline, Illinois printed on the side of it. This was exciting news for me and my sisters. It made our dad's hometown a little more interesting! So, when planning this stop, we had to put visiting the factory on our list of things to do. 

The museum was more fun than we even imagined it would be.

The size of the some of the trucks were very impressive. 

Me and Sandie loved the huge store here.

And we loved that we could get all the grandkids shirts with the name of their great-grandpa's hometown on them.

After John Deere, we made our way to the only relative we knew of still in the area. It was a cousin we always knew about but never met before.

My Aunt Agnes has kept in touch with Jeffrey Allen and his wife Karen and was thrilled to tell him that me and Sandie would be in town. We were so glad that they would be around on the one day we could visit. We felt like this was more like the Moline that we had imagined as we drove on the dirt roads in their neighborhood trying to find their house.

We were hoping Jeffrey Allen could tell us something about where my dad and his the family lived and he was hoping we had something to tell him about his mom, my dad's half sister, who left him and his brothers at a young age. I only met her a couple of times and didn't really even have much of a conversation with her but tried to elaborate as best as I could on the few words I had with her so that I could tell him something. He didn't have anything to tell us about my dad's family and didn't even know of us. We told him that we were the children of his Japanese aunt, thinking that might jog his memory because how many American's have a Japanese aunt but, nope, he never knew he had an aunt from Japan. He was very proud of his workshop, though, and him and our husbands spent most of the time in there.

Even though we didn't learn anything new about our roots in Moline, me and Sandie were very happy that we finally had a chance to visit this not so small town. And a fun surprise was finding Bally's Quad Cities Casino on our travels around the city. Of course, we had to spend a couple of hours here before we had to go back to the campground to pack up and get ready to hit the road in the morning.

We feel a great sense of contentment now that we finally got to meet you Moline, Illinois! Maybe we will come visit again one day!

Read about Stop 22 of our cross-country road trip.

Things To Do In And Around Rocky Mountain National Park.

Have you ever gone on a journey to find your roots? Please tell us about your adventure in the comments below!


  1. Wow, wow, wow. What an amazing trip! How neat to see where your dad grew up and even meet some family. The John Deere museum really does look fun and interesting. I have gone to a few places where my grandparents and great-grandparents grew up, and there's something so special about being where they were! Thanks for sharing this post with us at the Will Blog for Comments #41 linkup. We hope to see you next time at #42, which opens Monday morning. Happy Independence Day! :)

    1. That's great that you have been able to visit your grandparent's and great-grandparent's hometowns. It's nice to have a picture in your mind of these places when you hear the old stories! Happy 4th!!

  2. How fun! My oldest son would love that John Deere Museum I'm sure.

    1. I hope he gets a chance to visit one day. It was more fun than we expected and would definitely visit again if we ever get a chance.

  3. I loved this story! How fascinating to meet relatives you've never met before. My family on both sides have been in my hometown for many years now, way before I ever came along. I do find it interesting to learn of WWII stories about my Grandpa though. I am so glad you were able to visit your father's hometown Cathy! <3

    1. Wow! That is amazing that your family has stayed in the same area for generations. I don't think many people can say that!

  4. I trust that this must have been an awesome trip.
    Thanks so much for participating and sharing at SSPS 317. See you again next week at #318 https://esmesalon.com/tag/seniorsalonpitstop/

    1. It was something we have wanted to do for a long time so it was hard to believe, at times, that we were really there!