From homework assignment to obsession…

Pedigree ChartMy grandmother, Florence Loreen Kuhns (Mom-mom), first got me hooked on family history research, and I remember it well. I was in the fifth grade; I received an assignment of creating a family tree; I went home with my mission and got started. I took the blank pedigree chart given me by my teacher and started filling it out. I wrote in Joan and Larry (my parents), Mom-mom and Pop (paternal grandparents), and Mimi and Grandad (my maternal grandparents). I was pretty proud of my little chart of names, but I had questions, and I had blanks to fill in. The chart had empty spaces for birth, marriage, and death information–it had space for my great grandparents. I did not know the answers; I thought this was going to be an easy assignment. I became obsessed with the blanks; I needed help; I needed my mom.

My mother, Joan Claire (Hogner) Stroschein, was a bus driver for Des Lacs-Burlington School District. When I grew up in North Dakota, it was a semi flat, sparsely populated state (things have changed little since then except for the oil boom). My mother’s bus route was vast and consumed about two and a half hours to complete. Living on a farm, I had afternoon chores to do. Once completed, all I could do was wait. Little did I know, back in the old days of genealogy there was a lot of sitting around and waiting.

When my mom returned home, I was all over her asking questions about my parents, grandparents, and these unknown great grandparents. My mother explained that both she and my father were born and raised in the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania area. She was born in Pittsburgh and raised in Glenshaw. My dad was born in Wilkensburg and raised in Irwin. I started hearing names that I may have heard before but meant nothing to me. My paternal grandfather was Russell Albert Stroschein (Pop), and he was born and raised in Pitcairn Pennsylvania. So was my paternal grandmother, Mom-mom. My mother was a little sketchy with details on my paternal great grandparents and said we needed to call my grandmother.

Unbeknownst to me, Mom-mom was a genealogist, I didn’t even know what it meant. She had been researching her family as well as Pop’s side of the family for many years. She was able to fill in my tree a lot more. I learned my paternal great grandparent’s names and birth places. Mom-mom’s parents were Sarah Jane Wallace, who lived her entire life in Pitcairn, and her father was Lorenzo Dow Kuhns, and he was born in Scottdale, Fayette County, PA before moving to Pitcairn. She also filled me in on Pop’s family.

Pop’s parents were my first immigrant ancestor brick wall. Mom-mom knew they were both from Germany but no place particular. August Stroschein had immigrated to Braddock where he met and married Wilhelmina “Minnie” Staats also from Germany. My grandmother knew both of my paternal great grandparents, and they frustrated her enormously. Though she had tried for many years to garner where in Germany they came from, neither would give up the information.

Shortly before my grandmother passed away, we spent several evenings speaking about family and family history. We spoke of Civil War soldiers in the family, her English side, and, of course, her nemesis, the Stroschein/Staats origins. She wished for me to take on the mantle of the family’s historian. Even at this point, I did not know what kind of commitment/obsession this would become. As it is with many a researcher, I wish I could have recorded all of those sessions, but my grandmother had done her job, she planted the seed. I was determined to solve the nativity problem of my Stroscheins and Staats.

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Framing the Research Question

Framing the Research Question…

Picture frame copyTechnology is a double-edged sword. Computers and the internet have transformed genealogy dramatically. The ease of access draws massive numbers of people into the hobby and business daily. But let’s be honest, genealogy software and the convenience of web searching has the potential to make us lazy, undisciplined researchers.


Many genealogists today, including myself at times, log into their favorite website, start entering searches, or clicking on leaves in a feeding frenzy that would make a shiver of tiger sharks proud. The unfettered thrill of the hunt is on, and we lose all track of time, blowing through three, four, or five hours diving down rabbit holes at a rate dizzying to Alice. Before we realize, it is time to quit, and we have not answered anything that advances our research. At the end of the day, we know that a Joe Schmo maybe hailed from Kokomo, but we don’t know if it is our Joe.

Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes mindless research in “Wonderland,” finding fragments of disjointed and unrelated information can be fun–ok ok ok–it can be a blast. But at the end of the day are we just indulging our hedonistic desires, satisfying that primal urge of the hunt and kill or are we doing serious research to advance our genealogy? I don’t know, but a disciplined researcher takes a different approach.

A disciplined approach to research is always the preferred path; this requires restraint and a methodical approach. Adhering to the fundamental rules of thorough research are necessary for consistent positive outcomes. A question, a flexible research plan, evidence evaluation, and coherently written conclusions are the proven path to follow.

Framing your research is a key step to successful research. Any genealogical answer or solution begins with a quality genealogical question. To arrive at an answer, you must start with a “good” question that is neither too narrow nor too broad. What does that mean, you ask? Questions can be either too ambiguous to answer with a succinct, informative conclusion or too specific that they can never have an answer.

An example of an overly broad question would be, “Where did my ancestor migrate from?” There are many reasons this is overbroad, but it boils down to the fact that the correct answer can be ambiguous to the point of being unhelpful. There can be multiple correct answers. Here are examples of some possible correct answers that are not all that helpful, “Somewhere in Europe” or “Germany.” With overbroad questions, it is necessary to narrow the focus of the question with more research.

Questions that are too narrow can equally hamper a researcher’s ability to find the correct answer. An example of a narrow question could be, “Where in Strasburg did my family come from?” Many times a researcher can get clues in their research that are red herrings. These are clues that can send us searching in the wrong direction. It is possible the family never came from Strasburg, or as in this example, there are more than 20 places throughout German history that used the name, Strasburg. Either way, this can lead to a person researching in the wrong place for their family wasting time, effort, and sanity.  Focusing this question may be the first step to finding your relative. “From which Strasburg did my family migrate?” This question allows the researcher to consider other information and evidence to find the correct answer.

Another example of a narrow question can be similar to, “Did Jim Wuderfootz have multiple marriages?” This question has a yes or no answer; possibly not very helpful. A better question may be, “How many times did Jim Wuderfootz of Macon County Georgia marry and who was/where his wife/wives?”

So to frame a question we first must start at the beginning. What do we want to know? Are we looking to answer a question on parentage, birth, immigration, etc.? What information and evidence do you already know about the answer you seek? What record groups exist that can help answer the question?

Once we have examined our previous research, we can now frame a question. Questions should uniquely identify the subject you are researching. If you are looking for John Smith in Chicago in 1900, you may want to identify them by an address from a census or directory. Example, “Did the John Smith, who lived at 123 Main St in the 1900 US Census of Chicago Illinois, marry Suzy Parker of Lake Wobegon Minnesota?”

Examples of good questions could be: “How many marriages did George Kuhns, who died 1862 in Ligonier, PA have, and what were the names of his wife/wives?”; “Did Christian Kaltenbaugh, husband to Catherine Naugle, immigrate from Koblenz, Prussia in or about 1838 to Quemahoning Township?”; “Is the Elizabeth Berkey Kuhns, who died 4 November 1893 and buried in the Zion Church Cemetery in Ligonier Westmoreland PA, the daughter of David Berkey and Barbara Kauffman of Somerset County PA? “These are all answerable questions, and they should all have only one correct answer.

Focusing your genealogical question allows the researcher to create a good plan, putting them on the path to finding an answer. This exercise should be the first thing genealogists do before logging into the computer. Asking genealogical questions are akin to exercising a muscle, it takes practice and work, the more you do it, the better you get. Remember you will never know that you have found the answer unless you ask the question first. Oh and the next time you find yourself down the rabbit hole, say hello to the Mad Hatter, he is a relative of mine.

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Crossing the Pond

tall shipCrossing the Pond is a segment of our blog that will explore one of the more difficult questions in genealogy. Where did my ancestor live before immigration? It is a common question many of us want to answer, but it can be tough to solve for a variety of reasons.

Finding that elusive ancestor in their homeland can be a very rich and rewarding experience. Learning about our immigrant’s customs, history, trials, and tribulations gives us, the genealogist, a deeper understanding of that person. It puts flesh on their bones transforming them from names, dates, and places on a page to real people with profound and complex lives.

Our ancestors moved for many reasons, many times they were “pushed” out of a place or “pulled” to a specific location. These pushes and pulls varied for different groups and may have changed over time. We will explore many of these factors.

Most all of us are from traceable immigrant families. Eventually, we will want to tackle that odyssey of discovering their nativity. For some ancestors, it is a simple process. They left many detailed records explaining their family origins while others have tough and complicated immigration issues with seemingly few and/or disjointed records. It is my opinion that these complex nativity questions are when research and analysis get fun.

It has been my experience that most immigration questions are solved with detailed U.S. research. Many of the more complicated problems require research and analysis of what Elizabeth Shown Mills terms, the F.A.N. Club. Digging deeply into the family, associates, and neighbors of our immigrant are necessary to understanding their lives. F.A.N. club research can be a long and involved process.

Genealogy is not always easy, so be prepared for your research to be difficult and trying as you get further back in time. Researchers have to have a proper mindset, examine everything–trust nothing, and always perform a reasonably exhaustive search to correctly answer difficult genealogical questions. A researcher can learn so much about their antecedent and how sociological forces affected their lives. For me, it has answered many questions I have had about my family; why do we have the particular customs, entrenchments, attachments, and detachments that we have?

I believe most questions are not too difficult to resolve or, at least, come to some conclusion. By examining an issue from every angle, the researcher learns about their ancestor and how they interacted within their slice of history. On occasion, it could take years of research and hundreds of hours of study of very narrow subjects such as religious customs, migration patterns, shipping routes, or specific socioeconomic issues of a region. Forces outside of our control like “burned counties” or in the case of Ireland “burned countries” may stymie some. Then again there are the ancestors that tell you their every move and contemplation they had. If you choose to engage in these pursuits, the rewards can be very sweet and satisfying.

I welcome you to Crossing the Pond and hope my experiences and observations can help you unlock the mysteries of your family.

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To Stockholm We Go.

Sweden Research Special

On-Site Swedish Research


We are available to do on-site research in Sweden beginning September 7-18 2015. Our on-site research fees are $50.00 per hour for standard research plus expenses.  Expenses can include but are not limited to digital scans, digital photographs, archival access fees, photocopies, records fees, and travel expenses.

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Who Says Genealogy CANNOT be Dangerous and Exciting

police-car-lights-300WARNING: This blog may contain objectionable subject matter for tender eyes and brains. It may also make tears flow down your leg.

Karen and I were coming home from the Oregon Genealogy Council’s (OGC) State Conference. We had driven down that morning, 350 miles, to the OGC’s conference in Eugene Oregon so that I could speak on using spreadsheets in your genealogy. We were now returning home and about 35 miles from our humble abode at about 10:10 pm traveling northbound Interstate 5 (I-5), near the Everett Mall, in the far left lane called the carpool lane. We had a crisis.

I noticed a car closing on us from behind at a very high rate of speed. I was a little perplexed as the car was not directly behind us; this probably had NOTHING to do with being up since 4:30 am and driving 700 miles to speak on one topic. Allow me to digress and describe the roadway. In this area of the I-5, there are four lanes, three normal traffic lanes and a carpool lane (for 2 passengers or more). Lane one, the far right-hand lane, has a nice wide gravel shoulder with a soft sloping grassy ditch brimming with wildflower (sounds so nice I want to live there). The far left-hand lane, the carpool lane, the lane Karen and I were riding in, has a small paved shoulder with a concrete barrier wall (the shoulder will now and forever be referred to as the “Yeahoo Lane”). The small paved shoulder is barely wide enough to fit a small car like ours, a Volvo S60 (Volvo is important because when we bought the car the salesman said, “No one ever died in a Volvo”). If I were to park on this shoulder my car would fit but I would not be able to open my driver’s side door. Karen could open her door but a car passing at 70 mph would rip the door right off of the hinges and kill Karen (we really don’t want to kill Karen). That is how narrow the “Yeahoo Lane” is.

The stage is set so on with the story. We are bee bopping down the road laughing and having a good time as usual (Yes Cari Taplin it is true, we do laugh a lot, even when you are not around) when I notice this vehicle coming up behind us. The funny thing is that Karen and I were talking about blogging or vlogging our genealogy adventures. Even when Karen wants to fight (she is Irish you know) with me, she cannot keep a straight face because I make her laugh, but I digress. If I don’t stop digressing nobody will finish this blog post to find out about our grand adventure. So the car is hurtling towards us and I am certain now that he is not directly behind us, he is driving in the “Yeahoo Lane”. You know that tiny little paved shoulder I described earlier.

My first thought was that he was a Washington State Patrol (WSP) officer coming up behind me to stop me because I was doing 70mph in a 60 mph zone. Alright here I go digressing again. The reason I had this instantaneous thought was because one day I was breaking the law, per usual, and my son and I were in my pickup truck pulling a 20 foot long triple axel gooseneck flatbed trailer a few miles back from this place (see in this lane, NO TRAILERS ALLOWED) in heavy traffic. A WSP trooper pulled up beside me on the shoulder doing 60mph and yelled at me for being in the lane. He told me to get over all while continuing to travel at 60 mph.

So where was I; Oh yes this guy was rocketing toward us, thinking momentarily he was a State Trooper, I said, “what is this Yeahoo doing?” (For my grammar Nazi friends, I capitalize Yeahoo because that is now his name.) Karen said, “What Yeahoo?” I said, ”The Yeahoo driving on the shoulder.” Karen looks in front of us and says, “What Yeahoo?” See, after 25 years of driving an emergency vehicle I know there are six sides to a vehicle and only one side is the front, this is why I drive. But the other day I did have to ask Karen how to turn on the vacuum cleaner, not my area.

It was in this moment I realized two things he was not a WSP Trooper and he was going to hit us. I said to Karen, “This fricking Yeahoo is going to hit us.” I quickly took evasive action. In my brain it was like Jean Luke Picard saying, “Evasive maneuvers Number One, Picard Theta Seven” (A little reference for my Trekkie friends). So I expertly avoided being rear-ended by this Yeahoo.

As Yeahoo passed by us and got two car lengths ahead, he was still driving in the narrow “Yeahoo Lane”. He was in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Momentarily impressed by his driving talent to keep that vehicle in the tiny “Yeahoo Lane”, suddenly I realized this Yeahoo was drunk. Just as I said “Karen, he is drunk and going to hit the wall,” he does. I instantly went into “Emergency Management Mode” as Karen simultaneously goes into “Panic Mode”, and starts freaking out. I calmly tell her dial 911 while our car is being showered with pieces of his Jeep. The Yeahoo keeps driving. Karen refuses to dial 911 and pleads for me to stop the car, thus making us an impediment to traffic.  Now I go into full on “Emergency Crisis Management Mode”. It is like trying to stop water from coming out of a sieve. I have a drunk Yeahoo (who hit the wall and is now swerving across three lanes of traffic in front of me, almost taking out four more cars) AND my wife melting down in the seat next to me looking like she was going to jump from the vehicle.

By now I am now in full “Emergency Crisis Management Mode” and I sternly command my wife to dial 911. Trust me, commanding your wife to do anything has its downside and yes all of these different scenarios of how my life is going to change because I have now commanded my wife to do something were going through my brain. Karen wanted me to stop the car so she could have her melt down in a nice controlled environment while this drunk Yeahoo continues to barrel down the freeway leaving death and destruction in his wake. I was in a conundrum, damned if I do and a life time of guilt if I don’t do something to stop this Yeahoo. So I choose option 253, ignore my wife’s melt down so could I blog about it later and maybe “Save a family or two from a lifetime of heartache and pain.”

I have now convinced/commanded my wife to dial 911 and I am now feeding her the information she needs to impart upon the State Patrol dispatchers. See, in Washington, when you dial 911 with a cell phone flying down I-5, chances are the dispatcher that picks up the phone is not from State Patrol. The first thing you have to tell them is you want State Patrol or you will spend precious moments explaining your story of despair to a dispatcher who can only transfer your call. So Karen has the State Patrol Dispatcher on the phone and I command her to report our location, “North Bound I-5, north of Everett Mall,” then the situation, “Drunk driver hit the “Jersey Barrier,” and “He swerved into traffic almost hit four vehicles, he is continuing to drive northbound.”  Karen was on the phone for about 30 seconds and explained that we did not get the vehicle license number. You might think that our adventure had ended there, but you would be wrong.

I, being in full “Emergency Crisis Management Mode”, continue to follow the drunken Yeahoo. He continued to drive in the “Yeahoo Lane” only to swerve out into the legal lanes almost crashing into dozens of cars. Karen is more amped up and continues pleading with me to stop the car. I am following the vehicle from about 250 yards behind, a very safe distance I might add. I once again told my wife to dial 911, she refused. I had to explain to her that we needed to update the State Patrol on his position. She reluctantly calls 911, asks for State Patrol, I tell her the words to say, “This is an update on a position of a drunk driver,” Karen says, “I am calling to update you on a “possible drunk” driver northbound I-5 just passing the Everett Broadway exit.” I am stunned she said “POSSIBLE” what other explanation is there to this Yeahoo that almost hit us and several other vehicles.

While on the phone Karen gets a little weepy and apologizes to the dispatcher stating she is a “little afraid,” Oh sure like yelling at my wife to dial 911 wasn’t bad enough she is now telling a dispatcher for State Patrol on a recorded line that she is, “a little afraid.” I am thinking, “Great, this is going to be a “conversation” later and it will not be comfortable for me,” but I am still in full “Emergency Crisis Management Mode” and I pressed on.

We start racking up the miles following this drunken Yeahoo, who is clearly out of control. We make it through Everett and he is still on I-5. Karen states to me she is having a full blown panic attack, her chest is hurting and by the way, have I mentioned she is yelling at me? Yes all this mayhem is swirling about me in my vehicle while I am trying to stop someone from killing a family. I calmly ask Karen, “Baby I realize you are having a panic attack, you can continue having your panic attack, but could you please do it quietly?” I figured I was going to pay for that.  Karen did calm down after I said I was trying to prevent this Yeahoo from killing a family or leaving young children motherless. I know that was a little melodramatic but Karen seemed get the gravity of the situation.

As we were coming into Marysville I have Karen on the phone with State Patrol Dispatchers again and there is one of those emergency vehicle turn-a-rounds, you know, the ones that are clearly marked for emergency vehicles use only, the ones nobody is allowed to use, the ones that on occasion I have broken the law and used in the past and justified it by saying I drive an emergency vehicle on a regular basis. As we come up on this turn-a-round, a State Patrol Officer starts to go through it without his lights on and almost hits our car. Twice now we were almost in an accident that I was successful in avoiding.

By this time Karen has seemed to have snapped out of it. I figured she is either very angry with me, sees my point and understands we are not in danger plus we are doing the right thing, or some other cosmic event I do not understand. Either way she is now in “Catch This Drunk Driver” mode. Karen being in this mode allowed me to downgrade my “Emergency Crisis Management Mode” to just plain “Emergency Management Mode”.

Since I have done this drill before and have reported several drunk drivers, I turned on my flashers as we passed the State Patrol Officer, who almost took us out. Doing this allows the officer to identify who the reporting party is so they can triangulate where the offending party is. This is especially effective at night. So State Patrol zooms up behind us and I pull to the right and let him pass by. He gets into a positon to observe the vehicle when Yeahoo almost hits somebody and passes another car on the shoulder. This was right near an exit and the drunken Yeahoo looked like he is making a break for it and careened off of the freeway to the exit causing the State Patrol Officer to make a more radical maneuver to exit behind him. We followed, of course, at a safe distance. At the top of the exit the Jeep turned left and crossed over the freeway. He then ran a red light to enter the onramp for southbound I-5. State Patrol was in hot pursuit and lights him up. Surprisingly he stopped.

Karen is questioning me this whole time what are we doing, why are we following them, and I explain we are witnesses to the accident and parts of his vehicle struck ours. So we stop about 25 to 30 yards back from the State Patrol Officers. This is an important safety tip, if you pull in behind a State Patrol Officer, give them plenty of room and stay in your vehicle. They will get to you in due time. They are not blind and pay attention to their surroundings so it is unnecessary to honk the horn unless you yourself are having an emergency, like the baby is crowning, you have been shot and are bleeding to death, or you were driving down the road minding your own business and caught yourself on fire. That is another story.

So as it happened, there were two WSP officers in the car, a rookie who was driving (and almost hit us) and an FTO, Field Training Officer, giving the rookie the valuable field training he needed. Karen and I patiently waited for the officers to finish their investigation, double handcuff the Yeahoo, and stuff him in the back of the patrol car. This was gratifying for Karen and I, the stress level subsided and we were laughing and cracking each other up again. Karen was applauding and we started singing, “Bad boys, bad boys whacha gonna do, whacha gone do when Eric and Karen come for you.”

The FTO walked back to our car to have a word with us and we explained what we saw. He asked us to make a statement and email it to him. Karen stated, “I never want to do that again,” and the officer replied, “I would love to do it again, RIGHT NOW, tonight, let’s go.” And we joked (ha ha) we could just drive around all night long turning in drunk drivers. The officer and I inspected our car to see if any damage had occurred and did not see any. Karen and I proceeded southbound on I-5 to the next exit so we could turn back north and head home…adventure over…right?…Wrong.

As we reentered the freeway, northbound, we got right in behind a dark blue full sized pickup truck and you guessed, it another drunk driver, so it began again. “911 what is your emergency”, “State Patrol”,  “State Patrol what is your emergency”, “I want to report a possible drunk driver.” This time, Karen was a battle hardened veteran and performed flawlessly. No tears, no fuss, no muss. I am very proud of her, what a night.

So be not afraid genealogy world Karen and I are on patrol and we will be there to protect you wherever evil strikes.

It was just another day in the life of Karen and Eric Stroschein your Generations Detective, does anybody need a ride to the Washington State Genealogy Conference?

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NGS Student has Immediate Success with Mother’s Pensions!

NGS Student has Immediate Success with Mother’s Pensions!

At this year’s National Genealogical Society’s Annual Conference 2014 in Richmond, Virginia, I presented the Newly Discovered Records of the Poor: Rich records of the indigent and down-trodden. I was excited to be speaking on the value of these 20th century records which were born of a progressive social program called Mothers’ Pensions. These little known “pensions” share a name with well-known records genealogists have used for years that stem from a mother’s lost financial support of a son who was a former Civil War soldier. These records are not in any way affiliated with each other in any manner but they are very similar in the vast amounts of genealogical information they hold. Actually the modern records can be more densely packed with richer information than the latter.

Mothers’ Pensions grew out of progressive social movements that were sweeping the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The issues of the poor were being dealt with globally. This program was the United States answer to assisting the less fortunate. These pensions were a joint federal, state, and county program designed to keep families together, allow children to stay in school, and help mothers who were trying to raise their family without a spouse’s assistance.

At the federal level the Department of Labor administered the program through their newly formed division called the Children’s Bureau. All 48 states eventually passed legislation to enact programs. South Carolina and Georgia waited until 1937 to adopt legislation. When the Social Security Act passed in 1935 the Social Security Administration took over the program and renamed it Aid to Dependent Children. Sadly the South Carolina and Georgia programs were very short lived.

The presentation stressed the importance of knowing the laws that created these records. The laws and statues provide clues to which agencies administered the program, what courts heard the cases, who created records, and where the records were kept. Once a researcher understands the processes in a specific state, they will know where to look for the records.

At the end of the presentation students were encouraged to go out and find their very own Mothers’ Pension for one of their family members. Sabrina Peterson was in the audience. She remembered reading stories in the diaries of her great grandmother about being on public assistance. Primed with this new information, she immediately jumped on a computer in the vendor hall. Her great grandmother was from Chelan County Washington and it just so happened that these records are online. These records are not indexed so it took a little effort but within 15 minutes Sabrina had found the court order granting a pension to her great grandmother.

It was so rewarding for me to personally witness a student having immediate success with these awesome records. Sabrina took the information she learned in the class and struck gold on her first foray into the records. What she found was the court order granting her great grandmother aid. It contains all of the information needed to find the application file including the investigator’s report.

Some words of warning and encouragement though, these records can be very difficult to find. Sabrina’s results are not typical. I spent an entire day in the Library of Virginia searching for Virginia’s Mothers’ Pensions. Not a single archivist had ever heard of the program or the records. I did find some old inventories of Virginia records compiled by the WPA in the late 1930s. Only one archivist had ever looked at the inventories and it was through him that we were able to identify some minute books that were a treasure trove of information about the beginnings of the program in Virginia, its administration, and the transition of the program to the Social Security Administration. I am hot on the trail of the records and case files in Virginia but as I always say, “Genealogy is not easy.” Good luck and happy hunting your elusive ancestors.

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What to Look For in a Genealogist

Seeking out the assistance of a professional genealogist can be a good move if you encounter a challenging research problem, lack the time or skills to research, or are unable to travel. But how do you know if you are getting what you are paying for? The genealogy profession is unregulated (at least by the government) in most, if not all, parts of the world. Genealogists advertising their services may represent their education, skills, experience and expertise in any number of ways, including the following:

Licensed Genealogist – Truth be told, there really isn’t such a thing in most jurisdictions. Licensure generally implies compliance with local laws regulating businesses and isn’t specific to the genealogy profession. It may mean that the genealogist follows local laws and a code of ethics, but does not in any way imply competence as a genealogist. Some people do use the term ‘licensed’ as a synonym for ‘certified,’ however, so be sure to ask anyone using this title exactly what they mean by it.

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