All effective genealogical research begins with a focused question. Whether you are just beginning your search or want to confirm or advance work already completed, we will jointly determine your unique research question. Then, I will propose a logical, phased research plan. You control the amount of time you wish me to invest in answering your research question.
Your ancestors are so much more than names and dates. Using original records, I will help you to discover the narrative of your ancestor’s lives. Specializing in placing your ancestors in historical context, detailed research will discover long forgotten ancestors or bring hazy ones into focus. Learn the struggles your ancestor faced. Discover the tales of resiliency.
Have you hit a brick wall? Beginning with an analysis of your work, I then conduct focused and thorough research to find the answer. Often no one record provides the answer. Successful research combines shards of evidence collected from multiple records. Expanding the research to include your ancestor’s friends, neighbors and associates frequently helps to solve identity problems. When information is properly analyzed and correlated, many perceived brick walls can be dismantled.
DNA Test Result Analysis
Do you have an adoption or unknown parentage in your ancestral lines? Analyzing what is known, I will create an individualized DNA testing plan designed to provide more information about the ancestor’s biological family. Skillful analysis of DNA test results correlated with traditional documentary research can help you discover the biological family of your ancestor.
Are you an adoptee seeking information about your biological family? We begin by testing your DNA and then comparing the results with the millions of people in the testing company databases. I have helped many adoptees successful identify their biological families.
Did you test your DNA and received surprising results or discovered previously unknown family members? I will help you understand the results.
Are you hankering to know your ancient origins? Y-DNA and mitochondrial testing helps you to discover your place on the human family tree.
Looking to confirm your pedigree? DNA testing provides assurance your conclusions are accurate.
Genealogical Proof Standard
I use the Genealogical Proof Standard as my organizing framework to answer focused research questions. The overall goal of genealogical research is to identify and establish a unique individual in a fixed place and time and then to study that individual’s identity across the lifespan. The task is to assure the records that pertain to that individual’s life events refer to the same person. Spelling, especially of surnames, was not at all standardized prior to the early 1900’s and sometimes much later. The methods we use today to distinguish individuals do not apply (social security numbers) or do not apply in the same way (full name, mother’s maiden name, exact date of birth) to people who lived in the nineteenth century. Once the individual’s identity is established, the second task is to prove his/her relationships to others (parents, children and spouses). I accomplish these tasks by (1) a careful analysis of the records within the context of the purpose of their creation; (2) correlation and comparison of the evidence gleaned across multiple records that refer to the same person; and (3) inferential reasoning and a written, source-cited conclusion.
Frequently, the evidence gleaned from the records is inconsistent. A reasoned resolution of the conflict is required to attain proof. Often, the records do not directly answer the research question, e.g. “Who is the father of John Smith?” However, with careful correlation, the multiple tiny bits of evidence from multiple records, when combined, can provide the answer.