Category Archives: Tennessee

TGP 53: Melissa Barker – The Archive Lady

Featured Guest

Melissa Barker

Melissa Barker

Melissa Barker is a Certified Archives Manager and Public Historian currently working at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives. She lectures, teaches and writes about the genealogy research process, researching in archives and records preservation. She conducts virtual webinar presentations across the United States for genealogical and historical societies. She writes a popular blog entitled A Genealogist in the Archives and is a well known book Reviews Editor for the FGS Magazine FORUM and Utah Genealogical Association Magazine Crossroads. She writes a bi-weekly advice column entitled The Archive Lady published at Abundant Genealogy. She writes history pieces for her local newspaper The Houston County Herald called From the Archives. Her Professional Genealogy expertise is in Tennessee records and she is currently taking research clients. She has been researching her own family history for the past 30 years.

Contact Links

Website – A Genealogist in the Archives

Facebook – The Archive Lady

Twitter – Melissa Barker

Best Advice Ever Received

“Find out what you love to do and figure our how to make an income at it.”

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

“Watch webinars. They are a great educational tool which you can access right now from your home.”

Recommended Book

Organize Your Genealogy: Strategies and Solutions for Every Researcher by Drew Smith


“Always remember that not everything is online. You need to contact or visit an archive.”

Action Item

One thing that really struck me was how Melissa created a niche, that worked within her constraints, by promoting herself as a webinar-only speaker. I like the way she bucked convention by not following the traditional speaker path.


For your action item this week I want you to think out of the box the same way Melissa did. In her case, she chose to do webinars-only instead of in-person speaking events. Is there a path you’re not following because of constraints due to a full-time job, family responsibilities, location, cost or something else? Try to think of a way around the problem.  You don’t need to stick to traditional rules with your business. Make it your own and push yourself out of your comfort zone to make it happen.

If you like, head to the TGP Action Group on Facebook and share your obstacles and we’ll see if we can come up with solutions.


The Genealogy Professional podcast is now available on Spotify. Search for either Marian Pierre-Louis or genealogy to find it. Don’t forget to follow!

I’m trying to get on a bi-weekly schedule for the podcast. Eventually I’ll settle on an exact release date twice a month. But in the meantime you can expect a new podcast generally every two weeks.

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TGP 5: Cinamon Collins – Tennessee Genealogist

Featured Guest

Cinamon Collins

Cinamon Collins has been conducting genealogy research for the past 16 years and taking clients for the past two years. She enjoys the chase and the thrill of discovery. Cinamon has the good fortune of having adventurous ancestors who have migrated and traveled Cinamon Collinsthrough many states, allowing her to become familiar with various archives.

Before turning genealogy into a full time career, Cinamon was an elementary school teacher and professional photographer. It is not unusual to find her traipsing around cemeteries putting her photography skills to use.

Cinamon has completed the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Program, the National Genealogical Society Home Study Course, ProGen Study Group (9), National Institute of Genealogical Research (NIGR) Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis, and is a graduate of the 2012 Forensic Genealogy Institute. She also volunteers at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

You can check out Cinamon’s website at: or follow her adventures on her blog: or on Twitter: @CinamonC.

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

Join the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG)

Recommended Book

Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones

Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills

Productivity Tool

Evernote – a tool to help you organize and remember


“Think outside the box. Look for alternative sources of information that are not the expected.”