Thursday, September 10, 2009

About Michael

I have been actively researching my ancestry since the mid-1980s when I became interested in genealogy research. Since my marriage, I have researched my wife's ancestry as well. Between the two of us we have ancestors in most states east of the Mississippi as well as a few in some Western states.

For over the past ten years, I have written over 600 weekly genealogy columns, first for Ancestry.com and then for Dick Eastman. My new columns are now distributed exclusively through "Casefile Clues." Additionally I have lectured at local, regional, and national genealogical society seminars and workshops and have presented numerous hands-on computer genealogy classes as well. I have conduced all-day seminars in twenty-five states across the United States. I was formerly on the board of directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), was on the faculty of the former Genealogical Institute of Mid-American, and have served on FGS conference committees in a variety of functions. I have a master's degree in mathematics and have been on the faculty of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois, since the early 1990s. I have done additional graduate work in education.

My writing style is not overly formal, but focuses on sound methodology, practice, and readability. I write about problems and families I am working on, or interesting records I have discovered in my own research--with the intent of showing how the record could be used, what it means, and why it was created. Every family I write about is one I am researching and every record is one I have actually used. I do not do any professional research for others. I have a pretty deep variety of research experiences and locations upon which to draw my research as by ancestry my children are:
  • 1/4 Ostfriesen
  • 1/16 Irish
  • 1/16 English
  • 1/16 German
  • 1/16 Swedish
  • 1/16 French-Canadian
  • 1/16 Belgian
  • 1/32 Swiss
  • the rest is from most states east of the Mississippi with Colonial origins being in Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the Carolinas. And there's always the loose-end ancestor from who knows where.
The most recent ancestor immigrated to the United States in 1883, and a step-ancestor arrived in Chicago from Greece in the 1910s. Their earliest immigrants settled in Massachusetts and Virginia in the mid-1600s. One family lived in Chicago from the mid-1800s until the Great Depression. There were frontier families and farm families. That variety is reflected in the content of "Casefile Clues." Each column is written with the intent of making points that are larger than the family being researched. The goal is to get readers thinking about their own families while reading about how I have researched some of mine. Some articles focus simply on a record type or series, explaining its purpose and intent.

The goal of "Casefile Clues" is to help you with your own research. Suggestions are always welcomed.

Genealogical interests are broad, but the immigrant experience, migration, and land records are of particular interest.