Who Am I?
I am a genealogical researcher, wrote on genealogy in the past, and intend to continue writing for public consumption via this blog. 2011-2012 saw the end of strict distinctions between personal and professional lives and so the blog has a mishmash between professional or academic thoughts and notes, and my recipes and life musings. I am not paid for blog content as of 11/20/2011 (creation date.)
Where I am Now:
By evening, I am a double Masters student of Digital Humanities at one school and Library Information Science at another. Current academic research interests are:
- History of digital family history
- GIS-App development of repository tracking and historical overlays.
- Digital archives and genealogical studies
- Medical and forensic family history, emphasis on military, immigration, and vital records
- Mid-Atlantic States genealogical research (primary focus) with Canadian, and Eastern European interests.
- African, Middle Eastern and Asian descendencies
- Historic immigration, naturalization, and demographic population studies
- Historic newspaper research (with aims at company histories through ads over time and how the public sees companies versus internal corporate culture)
- California/New York, and New Jersey research
- Mid-Atlantic states, especially New York City, Hudson Highlands and Southern Tier, Church records, Pennsylvania/New York border counties, and New Jersey coastline town information
- Slovak metrical records
- Military records
- Immigration records
- Census development
- History of LDS temple work record-keeping through time.
Some of the blog entries are about different readings from classes or went with class assignments from a Digital Media class. Content varies by day, but go under particular categories for those that prefer one content type.
My e-book, Family History Tips, showed in the Project Category of the BYU Strengthening the Family Symposium in August 2011 after début by WorldVitalRecords.com in 2008. I also presented the paper, “History of Digital Family History: 1938-Present,” at Loyola University Chicago’s History Graduate Student Paper Conference in early November 2011. Attended AHA in Chicago in January 2012. Member, American Society of Church History, January 2012 (MHA interests).
Professional Experience with Family History:
I was a Genealogical Consultant for WorldVitalRecords.com (WVR, which was afterwards FamilyLink and is now MyHeritage.com) where I wrote 132 columns: “Gentips” and “Genealogy in 15 Minutes a Day” for the company’s weekly newsletter for the first two years of the company’s existence (2006-2008). Some of the best columns went into the free e-book, Family History Tips. As a WVR representative, I also spoke and taught at conferences in Logan, Utah, and at BYU in Provo, Utah. Prior professional experience includes an internship at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Library during 2006 where I began cataloging and finding aids for the Leffert Lefferts papers and the original Van Der Bilt patent.
First professional experience was working as an assistant for Andrea Osinchak, President of FamilyLinks. My undergraduate training was a Bachelor of Arts degree at Brigham Young University in Family History-Genealogy. Courses there included training in American, Mid-Atlantic states/New England states, British, Canadian, Eastern European/Russian (Slovak emphasis) sources, American Palaeography (which means that I can read handwriting going back to around 1500 on a really good day), and professional research classes. I was also an Assistant Editor for the BYU Family Historian for one volume. I run a sole proprietorship genealogical contracting business, Roots4All, founded April 2010 on the side, but answer basic questions regularly.
How did I get into genealogy (family history)?
My personal life and professional lives merge with family history.
Quick Version: I started looking at pedigree charts when I was five years old on a summer vacation at my grandma’s house. After seeing the charts, I asked if there were any pictures to go with the charts. Two grocery-sized paper bags of black and white pictures later, I could not get enough of it. My first genealogical data entry was at twelve years old. My first personal research was at the DAR Library in DC with a close family friend at sixteen. I also went on a researching trip that same year to the National Archives main branch in DC. My first para-professional experience was at seventeen working with the president of Family Links, and then I started the undergraduate major that summer. I finally graduated and received acceptance to grad school years later. Following a year deferment, I started the dual graduate degrees. Changed one major a year after getting into the program and now am working hard at doing things that people typically call me
What are my dreams/goals?
- Learn how to write grants to help revitalize commercial downtown spaces. The ideal is keeping American from destroying its architectural history while still keeping useful spaces. Trying to learn more about architectural history in the process.
- Write more books (Memoir; another book re: history of digital family history as part of a book outlining how to understand people obsessed with family history/genealogical research, and a topical monograph dealing with the West Point Foundry and scandals pertaining to the Parrott gun and the social history of Cold Spring, New York following this period, and turn it into a movie.)
- Get Roots4All to grow to become a non or not-for-profit family history firm specializing in American minority research. A personal conviction is that everyone deserves to have their history told/know about their family. What you do with that information is up to you*, but receiving information is the first step toward anything else. “Who Do You Think You Are?” for anyone, minus expensive trips to other states or countries unless necessary.
- Create a GIS-based, GPS-enabled historical repository app with wiki abilities that helps libraries, archives, cemeteries, vital records locations, genealogical and historical societies receive more notice from a wider genealogical information seeking public.
- Family. Although typically highly open about my life, this explanation requires personal conversation to communicate properly.
Random Biographical Information:
I grew up in the DC metro area, and lived in Provo, Utah; Manhattan, and different locations in LA. Currently live in the Midwest.
I like answering questions on genealogical topics. Genealogical questions range from formal search needs to nearly any advice dealing with generational traits, patterns, and whatever else shows up as part of the field. This field merges and touches most others, and makes for interesting cross-disciplinary training. (genealogy/family history, dr=traditional medical terminology; no, I do not have a JD, I don’t have a PhD, and I don’t have an MD.) The pseudonym is not a work credential.
I hope that this blog helps someone. It is a mishmash of thought processes and reflects a unique style of someone who is quirky and wants to contribute to a more-positive society.