This RecordClick genealogist has been to more conferences than I can count looking for ideas to make my search easier and to find those darned ancestors who seem to prefer to just live their lives and not do anything notable. I can research. I wrote my share of reports and papers in high school, college and as a professional genealogist. I can do this… after all there are some basic steps to follow… it’s not too hard… I don’t need to pay anybody to help me… it’s my family and I know my family. This is what this family history researcher tells herself because genealogy is a hobby of mine that turned into a passion and then something of an obsession.
I also hate to spend money on things I can do myself. That’s the thinking anyway until the computer gets funky or the faucet starts dripping or the car starts making funny noises Yes, I can figure out generally what the computer, faucet or car issues may be. I can do a few basic tasks to fix them – like turn things on and off. If that doesn’t work, most times, it might be best to call in the experts. I usually let television commercial tag lines come and go but the old one for those Fram Oil Filters stuck with me and it is so true: “You can pay me now or pay me later (when it costs a lot more money).”
A family gathering is usually not complete without a story of a situation gone awry and how the catastrophe was resolved. But it is my family and my family’s history and my endeavor and I can do this–until the going gets a little sticky.
I was recently interviewed by professional genealogist Josiah Schmidt for his genealogy podcast. I thank him for his kind invitation. Our discussion on the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving may be accessed on his web site www.schmidtgen.com. He, like the professional genealogists at RecordClick, make the search easier and keep it from getting sticky.
It has been interesting for this genealogy researcher to watch the field of genealogy change over the years.
When I began, a genealogist was a general practitioner. One person worked with everything from census records to military enlistment files to legal documents. In the past ten years or so, the professional genealogist has begun to develop areas of expertise. Some genealogists for hire specialize in specific geographic areas or certain nationalities. Other genealogy researchers work with photographs, legal records, or societies like the Mayflower descendants or the Daughters of the American Revolution. Still others have access to research facilities such as the National Archives or the Family History Library.
As a professional genealogist, I have experience working with, for example, Nebraska and South Dakota records. I know the history of the area, what Native American nations and tribes are based here and how this area was settled. Ask me about Maryland or Maine and I can provide some general research information, but I need to do some studying to find out about the state’s system of record keeping and what other research resources are available to the genealogist.
One of the benefits of hiring RecordClick to do your genealogy research is that finding the right genealogist who is knowledgeable in the area specific to your family history is easy. It happens automatically since our group of expert genealogists have such a wide range of expertise!
Other sites such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch do have professional genealogists available. The tendency at these sites, however, is to start with the resources closest to them. Both attempt to make the genealogy research easier by tying into family trees already existing on their sites. There is nothing wrong with this. But we professional genealogists know that the journey of the family historian most always goes beyond the scope of these two entities. More than once I have bitten my lip to remain silent when there were discussions about the inaccuracy of the the ancestors linked in these systems or the information.
I know my family… and I can do this…
Yet, how well do we really know our families?
Most families have stories that have been passed down through the generations. An ancestor married a Native American. Another ancestor knew George Washington or Abraham Lincoln personally. Or another ancestor robbed a bank out west somewhere. I can boast that I had an audience with the Pope in Rome. I did–along with 5,000 other people as we gathered in St. Peter’s Square on a slightly blustery morning a couple of years ago. One of the aspects that I like about the genealogy television shows such as Who Do You Think You Are and Finding Your Roots is that the participants accept the findings of the professional genealogists based on documented research. I’ve even heard a time or two that an old family story has been dashed. Oh well. Maybe, I didn’t know my family as well as I thought I did. That’s O.K.
Each family is important. Our ancestors have wonderful stories to tell us. They are a part of us. We carry their genes. Without them, we wouldn’t be who we are. The stories may be heroic or tragic, funny or ironic. Our ancestors tell us things like what life was like in 1900 or the politics of Germany in 1850.
It is also easy to get lost when the search goes to a time before what we or our parents or grandparents remember. The professional genealogists at RecordClick make the journey easier. We seek documentation to be sure that your ancestors are, indeed, your ancestors. We get information that is not available online. We can tell you about the history of the places where your ancestors lived.
Is the search by the genealogist always easy? No.
The mouse click to start the journey with RecordClick may be the easiest part of the process. This is the time of year for family gatherings, for the sharing of stories and remembering times past. What could be a better than the gift of a family history?