Category Archives: Specialties

TGP 31 Alvie Davidson – Private Investigator

Featured Guest

Alvie Davidson, CG

Alvie L. Davidson retired from Naval Intelligence in the U.S. Naval Reserve
after 22 years of service. Since then he has been a Florida state licensed
private investigator, specializing in missing persons and genealogical
applications of investigations. He is the past District Director of the
Florida Association of Licensed Investigators and recognized by the Circuit
Court of numerous Florida counties as an expert in the field of ProbateAlvie Davidson on The Genealogy Professional podcast
Investigation.

Alvie is certified as a CG (Certified Genealogist) by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, Washington, DC.

He is an alumni of the National Institute on Genealogical Research, Washington, DC (1998); and the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama (1999 and 2000). He is the founder (1981) and President of the Imperial Polk Genealogical Society, Lakeland, Florida.

Currently on the teaching alumni of Samford University’s IGHR for classes
each year.

Alvie is author of “Florida Land – Records of the Tallahassee and
Newnansville Federal Land Office 1826-1892″ (Heritage Books,
Bowie, MD 1988) and has published articles in The Genealogical Helper.
He has lived most of his adult life in Central Florida. Additional information can
be found at http://www.floridadetective.net.

He joined the Lakeland Chapter SAR in March of 1998 and was elected to the
position of Registrar and has held that office since that time. He has served as
President of the Lakeland Chapter SAR . Awarded the Kendall medal for
the 3rd highest number of members inducted into a chapter in the United
States.

Alvie has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional
Genealogists (APG) for a 10 years as a director.

 

Contact Links

Florida Detective website

Other Links

Florida Department of Agriculture – Private Investor license

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

“Find somewhere where you can get some confidence. Self confidence is a key to success “

Recommended Book

 Professional Genealogy edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills

The Source edited by Loretto Szucs

Productivity Tool

iPhone

Drop Box – Tool for sharing large files

Advice

“If you want to become a professional genealogist, set your sights high and go for it. Get a good education and go to as many conferences as you can afford. “

Action Item

Alvie talked about the importance of investing in your own business. That can take the form of buying equipment or it can be spending money on education and conferences. Either way you need to keep pushing yourself forward so that your business can succeed.

ACTION:

This week think about some areas where you could re-invest in your own business.  Is there a task that you do that could be done more quickly if you have the right equipment?. Would having a smart phone or tablet help you be more productive? Are you investing in your own education? Make a list of 5 items where you could or should be investing in your business. Then think about a plan to figure how to you are going to make it happen.

Direct Link to this post:

http://www.TheGenealogyProfessional.com/alvie-davidson

TGP 20 Cathi Desmarais – Vermont Research

Featured Guest

Cathi Becker Wiest Desmarais, CG

Cathi is a full-time professional genealogist and owner of Stone House Historical Research, established in 2008. In addition to family history research, Cathi works on U.S. Army military repatriation cases, finding next-of-kin and family DNA donors for unrecovered soldiers from past wars. She also locates missing or unknown heirs and beneficiaries for law firms and title insurance companies. Her work has given her broad U.S. and Cathi Desmarais on the Genealogy Professional podcastinternational experience, with a particular emphasis on Ireland, Vermont, and Pennsylvania.

Cathi currently serves as the Vice-President of the Association of Professional Genealogists and as a board member and mentor program coordinator for the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy. Cathi’s writing has been published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Crossroads, The NYG&B Record, and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly.

Cathi earned an M.S. Ed. from the University of Vermont, and has attended the Forensic Genealogical Institute in Dallas, Texas; the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP); the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research at Samford University; the National Institute on Genealogical Research in Washington, DC; and Boston University’s Genealogical Writing course. She has lectured locally as well as at the GRIP and the Forensic Genealogy Institute.

Contact Links

Stone House Historical Research website

Stone House Research on Facbeook

No Stone Unturned blog

Cathi Desmarais on Twitter – @cathidesmarais

Other Links

Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy

Association of Professional Genealogists

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

Write down your goals. Get them down on paper. Where do you want to be a year from now? And then break down your goals into quarterly, monthly and weekly tasks. Stay open to new possibilities.

Recommended Book

“If you want to improve your writing, I would recommend Getting the Words Right by Theodore Cheney. That was on our bibliography in the writing class taught by Tom Jones and John Colletta a couple of summers ago at Boston University, and it had a big impact on my writing.

I also learn about writing by reading other people’s family history books. I loved Only a Few Bones by John Colletta, The Journey Takers by Leslie Huber, Running Away to Home by Jennifer Wilson, and Annie’s Ghosts by Steve Luxenberg. ”

Productivity Tool

Harvest – time tracking tool

Asana   project management platform 

Advice

“Take your business seriously. Prepare yourself well.”

Action Item

This week we are focusing on the practical. We can start our work week off better if we determine ahead of time what we need to accomplish. Sometimes we start out with the best of intentions. Then somehow our week gets away from us. Our focus this week will be on settings goals and creating to-do lists.  While Cathi talked about setting weekly, monthly and even quarterly goals we are going to focus just on weekly goals.

ACTION:

Make a to-do list for the next 7 days. Prioritize your do-to list in order of importance. You can even separate tasks by days if you like. Print out your to-do list and keep it on the desk next to you or pin it to the wall near your computer.

Next, tackle what you fear most. Whatever is on your list that you want to do least – do that first.  Hold off on accepting, or perhaps just scheduling, new tasks or projects until your existing to-do list is complete. Cross of each item as you finish it to get that sense of accomplishment!

 

Direct Link to this post:

http://www.TheGenealogyProfessional.com/cathi-desmarais

TGP 19 Eileen O’Duill – Probate Research

Featured Guest

Eileen Ó Dúill

Eileen Ó Dúill, has been a professional Irish genealogist since 1990, specializing in legal and probate genealogical research. She is currently the only Certified Genealogist in Ireland. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and served on the board of the as the International Trustee for Britain and Ireland (2007-2012).Eileen O'Duill - Heirs Ireland on The Genealogy Professional podcast

Eileen has lectured at national and international conferences in the US, Ireland, Canada and the U.K. from 1999 to 2014 and co-presented a webinar on Irish genealogical research for Ancestry.com. She was a course tutor and lecturer on the Diploma in Family History (Genealogy) at the Independent College, Dublin and currently teaches on the summer school programme at University College Cork. She has been admitted as an expert witness in the Surrogate Courts in 6 counties of New York.

Eileen was able to turn a lifelong hobby into a business providing a professional genealogical research service. Being an American living in Ireland for 39 years, has enabled her to have a unique perspective on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and an understanding of her fellow countrymen in their quest for their Irish heritage.

Contact Links

Heirs Ireland website

Other Links

Celtic Connections Conference, Waltham, MA – August 15 & 16, 2014

Back to Our Past, Dublin, Ireland – October 17-19, 2014

University of Cork, Genealogy Summer School program – June 29 – July 6, 2014

The Gathering, Ireland (2013)

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

“1) Get a copy of Professional Genealogy and 2) follow the Transitional Genealogists mailing list.

Recommended Book

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors by John Grenham

Productivity Tool

Drop Box – Tool for sharing large files

Advice

“Practice, Practice, Practice! Learn by doing. Get as much experience as possible.”

Action Item

This week, since Eileen and I talked quite a bit about public speaking, let’s warm up to the idea and get you thinking about incorporating public speaking into your offerings.  You won’t actually try to arrange any public speaking engagements. First we need to make sure you are prepared in advance.

ACTION: Before you can do any public speaking you need to get prepared with a potential talk, some equipment and a target venue. Here are the three steps for this week’s action item:

1) You Need a Talk

Think of a topic or project that you could turn in to a potential talk. If you are brand new to public speaking stick to a beginner topic or a subject that you know inside and out.

2) You Need Equipment

To do public speaking you will need to have a laptop computer (or borrow one) and have the corresponding software. For Windows computers this is typically PowerPoint. Keynote for Mac users. If you don’t have this equipment currently can you plan to get it in the future or can you borrow it for your talks?

3) You Need a Venue

Select a location to target for your first talk. Ideally it will be a local historical society, genealogical society or local library.  Hopefully you have already established some relationships with the folks in these organizations. If not, go back and do your networking first.

 

Direct Link to this post:

http://www.TheGenealogyProfessional.com/eileen-oduill

TGP 13 Leslie Brinkley Lawson – Forensic Genealogist

Featured Guest

Leslie Brinkley Lawson

Leslie Brinkley Lawson, full-time professional genealogist, specializes in forensic genealogy (missing & unknown heirs, probate research), providing due diligence and kinship determinations. Clients include attorneys, executors, guardians, banks, probate firms, private clients. She is a regional and national speaker.Leslie Brinkley Lawson - Forensic Genealogist

As a forensic genealogist Leslie Lawson has completed genealogy research for attorneys across the United States. She has a range of experience from proving family lines to reuniting family members as well as proving parentage for those unable to speak due to injury or disability [dementia, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia].

Leslie currently serves as the President of the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy (CAFG) and President of the Oregon Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Visit her website: www.LawsonResearch.net.

Contact Links

Leslie’s website – Lawson Research Services

Facebook – Lawson Research Services

Leslie on Twitter – @llawson3967

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

  1. Join APG and fully investigate that website.”
  2. “Set goals for the month, the quarter and the year and have a close friend who is going to keep you accountable to those goals.

Recommended Book

Professional Genealogy edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills

Mastering Genealogical Proof by Dr. Thomas W. Jones

The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenwood

Productivity Tool

Drop Box – Tool for sharing large files

Mozy – Backup service for computer files

Snag It (by TechSmith) – screen capture software

Sunrise – Calendar App

Advice

“Create templates for everything. Create a template for your report form, for your citations using Evidence Explained. Make yourself a template of every citation you use on a regular basis.”

Genealogy Idol Competition video where Michael Hait describes creating macros for citations. (free to watch)

Action Item

Leslie talked about networking and finding cients. Are you doing everything you can to find new clients? Here’s a check list of active and passive ways to make yourself visible to potential clients.

ACTION: Go through the list and rate how you are doing in each area. Commit to making improvements in your weaker areas.

Passive

  • Do you have a full and complete profile on a Professional Organization Website? (such as APG, BCG, ICAPGEN)Do you have a website?
  • Do you have a social media presence? (Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+)
  • Do you have a business card (try VistaPrint for inexpensive business cards

Active

  • Do you respond to discussions on a professional association list?
  • Do you respond to queries on general genealogy lists? (such as surname or geographic specific lists)
  • Do you participate in groups on LinkedIn where you’re target clients are active?
  • Have you joined societies related to your niche and volunteered so that you get to know other members?
  • Have you advertised online or in print magazines where your target clients are known to spend their time?
  • Do you write a blog related to your expertise?
  • Do you network?

What other ideas can you come up with that I’ve left off the list?

 

Direct Link to this post: http://www.TheGenealogyProfessional.com/leslie-lawson

 

 

TGP 11 Israel Pickholtz – Jewish Genealogy in Israel

Featured Guest

Israel Pickholtz

Israel Pickholtz – A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-born genealogist who has been living in
Israel since 1973. His personal research includes single-surname research in Galicia (formerly Austria, now Ukraine) as well as families from Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, Hungary and later in the US, UK and Israel. From there he developed skills relating to more general Jewish genealogy, including Holocaust research.

Israel  has participated in grave translation projects, searches for missing relatives and Genealogist Israel PickholtzHolocaust-era insurance claims, as well as traditional genealogy research using European, American and Israeli sources.

His most frequent assignments from Israeli sources involve locating and photographing graves, locating living people, Mandatory Citizenship records, records for Galician residents in the 1920s and 1930s, inheritance matters and Holocaust research.

He has lectured at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) conferences on Jewish Genealogy in the United States, as well as other subjects in Israel.

Israel has served on the Board of the Israel Genealogical Society, as Secretary of Gesher Galicia and as Town Leader for Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (JRI-Poland). He currently serves as Secretary of the Professional Jewish Genealogists Group.

Contact Links

Israel Pickholtz on Twitter – @allmy4parents

Israel’s blog – allmyforeparents.blogspot.com

Israel Pickholtz on the Association of Professional Genealogist’s website

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

Comment on other people’s blogs. Put your name out in any way you can that doesn’t make you look like a fool.

Recommended Book

My 15 Grandmothers by Genie Milgrom

Productivity Tool

Drop Box – File Sharing
Gmail – Israel uses Gmail as a spam filter

Advice

“Write and write and write and get your name out there. If you can do a blog, do a blog.”

Action Item

Israel mentioned in the interview that he contacted me by leaving a comment on this blog.  This is a great idea to get started interacting with the genealogical community, both before and after you become a professional.

ACTION: Your action item this week is to start interacting with the genealogical community by leaving comments on other people’s blogs. First, target a type of blog that is of interest to you. Perhaps that would be an ethnic blog like an Italian genealogy blog or location focused such as one on the state of Nebraska.  Then go to  Geneabloggers.com, a blog directory site founded by Thomas MacEntee, to find blogs on your topic.

Next start to “follow” (read them regularly) those blogs. Notice how frequently they publish new posts.  Lastly, provide thoughtful responses in the comments to what you have read in the blog post.  You are now on your way to building relationships with others in the genealogical community!

Direct Link to this post: http://www.TheGenealogyProfessional.com/israel-pickholtz

 

 

TGP 10 Michael Strauss – Diversifying Services

Featured Guest

Michael Strauss, AG

Michael L. Strauss, AG – Professional Genealogist, Author, and Lecturer — is an Accredited Michael Strauss, AGGenealogist for the Eastern States Region with the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGEN). A native of Pennsylvania and a resident of Virginia, he has been an avid genealogist for more than 30 years.

Strauss holds a BA in History and is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran. He is a recipient of a grant from the Foundation for Coast Guard History in Spokane, WA and received a research scholarship from the General George C. Marshall Foundation in Lexington, VA.

He currently serves as President of the Virginia Beach Genealogical Society since 2012. In addition he is a published author and is currently an expert witness in kinship estate matters in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Strauss is an approved genealogist for the United States Army to locate DNA-qualified family members of MIAs from WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam and is a licensed Private Investigator in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

He is a Civil War re-enactor with the 99th New York Infantry. He also likes to appear at lectures in uniform and with real artifacts in order to give the audience the most realistic experience possible.

Contact Links

Michael’s website – www.genealogyresearchnetwork.com

Frederickburg, Pennslyvania History website –  www.fredpah.com

Information on Civil War Re-enacting – Camp Chase Gazette

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

Look at different records that you haven’t been exposed to before.

Productivity Tool

Drop Box – File Sharing

Google Drive– Collaborative File Sharing

Advice

“Genealogy is full of serendipitous moments. Let your ancestors find you because they will.”

Action Item

Michael is both an Accredited Genealogist and a licensed private investigator. He would like to obtain his CG as well because he believes strongly in furthering his education.

ACTION: Explore educational opportunities and licensing that could diversify and further your career.  Would you benefit from obtaining a CG or an AG? Are you interested in discovering what’s involved in becoming a licensed private investigator?

Determine what certifications and/or licenses might fit in with your business and future business goals.  Next, find out what is involved in achieving these goals. Then plan a time line for when you might realistically achieve these goals. It could be now, in three years or even in ten years. Determine what works best for you.

Direct Link to this post: http://www.TheGenealogyProfessional.com/michael-strauss/

TGP 8 Linda Woodward Geiger – New England Roots

Featured Guest

Linda Woodward Geiger, CG, CGL

Linda Woodward Geiger is an associate of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), Linda Woodward Geiger, CG, CGLholding credentials as a Certified Genealogist (sm) and as a Certified Genealogical Lecturer (sm). She is a nationally known speaker, author, and historical researcher. She has spoken at genealogy conferences and seminars in over twenty-five states, and has served as a coordinator and staff member of a variety of courses at the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR).

She currently serves as president of Friends of the National Archives Southeast Region (FNAS); as hostess for webinars sponsored by FNAS and serves as their webmaster.

Linda specializes in federal records; Georgia’s state and county records; and training researcher’s in methodology standards. She is also recognized for her work documenting Cherokee Heritage.

Contact Links

Linda’s website – www.woodward-geiger.com

Linda’s blog – Woodwards WeSearch Blog

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

“Make sure you join a local genealogical society and it doesn’t matter if you have ancestors there or not!”

Recommended Book

Tracing Ancestors Among the Five Civilized Tribes  by Rachal Mills Lennon 

Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (volumes 1 & 2) by NARA

The Preliminary Inventories for Federal Records of what’s available at the National Archives – Here is an example from Heritage Books

Productivity Tool

Drop Box – File Sharing

Evernote – “Remember  Everything with Evernote”

Advice

“Don’t ever take down any information without having the source citation. Keep a research log.”

Action Item

This week’s action item stems from Linda Woodward Geiger’s last piece of advice where she advises not to take down any information without having a source citation.

This week your action item, if you choose to accept it, is to practice gathering the citation information before you study original documents or images of original documents.  This is for online and offline research. As well, when you check a source but do not find anything you need to write that down too!  See if you can consistently do this for an entire week and you will be well on your way to great genealogical research habits!

TGP 7 Sheri Fenley – Genealogy California Style

Featured Guest

Sheri Fenley

Sheri Fenley is a professional genealogist from Stockton, California who specializes in the genealogical research of North Central California with an emphasis on San Joaquin County. She also focuses on lineage society applications.

She is a member of numerous organizations including

Sheri Fenley, the Educated Genealogist

Sheri is an alumni of the ProGen 1 class completing the course in 2009.  As well, she did two years of coursework at the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research  (IGHR) at Samford University.

She is the editor of the San Joaquin Genealogical Society newsletter and author of the popular blog “The Educated Genealogist” which was voted as one of Family Tree Magazine’s Top 40 Blogs.

More Alphabet Soup

SLIG – Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (sponsored by the Utah Genealogical Association)

GRIP – Genealogy Research Institute of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)

 Contact Links

Sheri’s website –  sherifenley.webs.com

Sheri’s blog – The Educated Genealogist

Follow Sheri on Twitter – @sherifenley

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

Start a blog.

Recommended Book

Genealogy as a Pastime and Profession by Donald Lines Jacobus and

Pittfalls in Genealogical Research by Milton Rubincam

Productivity Tool

Google Hangouts – Google Hangouts allow you to have a video conference with up to 10 other people (for free).

Advice

“Jump in with Both Feet”

Action Item

This week’s action item is about getting to know an archive and its staff. Sheri Fenley talked about the importance of getting to know the staff at local archives.

For this action item first choose a local archives or research library in your local area. Next schedule to visit the archives daily for a week. If you can’t go during the week then go on consecutive Saturdays.  You will make progress just having the staff see you return multiple times. You will make more progress if you introduce yourself to the staff, ask them for a brief tour or ask for their procedures and policies.  These will all act as ways to help you interact with the staff.  After your week of visits or multiple Saturdays you should be well on your well to getting to know the staff at one of your local archives or libraries!

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: www.crcgenealogy.com or follow her adventures on her blog: www.misadventuresofagenealogist.blogspot.com 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

Advice

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

 

TGP 4: Kirsty Wilkinson – Scottish Records & Paleography

Featured Guest

Kirsty Wilkinson

Kirsty Wilkinson is the owner of My Ain Folk, a Scottish genealogy research firm.

Kirsty began researching her own ancestry when she was in her early 20s and soon Kirst Wilkinson My Ain Folk Genealogy - Scotlanddeveloped a passion for family history. She increased her knowledge of genealogical sources through personal and formal study and in 2006 launched My Ain Folk to assist others with tracing their ancestors. Since then she has gained many hours of practical research experience in Scottish archives and record repositories and helped clients worldwide to discover their own family story.

She has a particular interest in paleography (old handwriting) which enables her to carry out research in pre-1700 records and to transcribe handwritten documents from the 1500s-present. Another specialisation is heir- or descendant-tracing and locating living relatives. She has successfully located heirs to estates on behalf of probate research firms in the UK, Europe, Asia and the US and enabled private clients to reconnect with long-lost cousins.

Learn more about Kirsty at her website www.myainfolk.com.

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

Set realistic fees and work out how much you can realistically make.

Recommended Book

Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors, the Official Guide, 6th Edition, by the National Records of Scotland

Productivity Tool

Kirsty does use Dropbox but she is otherwise fairly low tech.

Advice

“Just do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wasting your time.”