Genealogy and Family History

Trent Smith Portrait

I first took a serious interest in genealogy and family history research when I unexpectedly "met" my long-deceased great-great-great Grandpa Rudy. (I'll have to go back to the family tree and count those "greats" again!)

My sister-in-law had been doing some research on my paternal grandparents' side of the family, and she brought pictures and stories to tell at a family gathering. As she spoke and showed us Grandpa Rudy's blacksmith shop in eastern Pennsylvania, I felt as though Grandpa Rudy was standing right behind me, his hand on my back, wanting more than anything to show me around the shop himself. In that moment, Grandpa Rudy felt very real to me. I realized there were hordes of very real people who were connected to me--people who wanted as much as Grandpa Rudy did to tell me their story. 

I knew that if I were ever going to "hear" those stories, I would have to learn to find them myself. Thus began a burning passion for genealogy and family history work that has slowly morphed into a life-changing career.

As a newbie, I felt overwhelmed by the challenges of getting started. Once I got comfortable with my research abilities, I vowed that I would help others learn every chance I got. I also realized I wanted to get into genealogy and family history work as a profession. Whether you are new to it or whether you’re an old pro, I’ve built this website to provide tools, resources, services, and encouragement to help you start tracing your family history.

    What are Genealogy and Family History?

If you ask Wikipedia or Google for a definition, they’ll tell you these two things are one and the same. In the United States, we like to use the word “genealogy”. In the U.K., they say “family history” to mean the same thing.

But in my own mind, these are two different sides of the same coin. “Genealogy” is about using records and documents to prove family connections and build a pedigree or family tree. “Family history” is gathering old letters, stories, mementos, and heirlooms – an attempt to get to know the people who came before you in your family.

To me, genealogy is about records; family history is about people.


Thinking About Getting Started?

Genealogy and Family History - My son and I getting some work done

We've all been there... You ask someone you know is into genealogy and family history where you should start. Before she even gets three syllables out, she's left you behind in a torrent of well-intended suggestions about census records and microfilm rental.

When I was new at this, all I wanted was for somebody to spend the time and hold my hand for the first several steps until I started to get it. It took me twenty years to find someone who led me from wanting to learn, to actually getting some real research done. The reason why I took so long getting started?

I was chicken.

Back then, we didn't have FamilySearch and Ancestry. Back then all searching was done manually--hours and hours of looking through microfilm and calling courthouses! At that time, I felt like all of this was foreign territory. I felt the pull of it drawing me in, but I had no confidence that I could learn to do it. It didn’t help that, whenever I’d cross paths with a genealogy expert and ask how to start, they’d flood me with suggestions that went a mile over my head.

I promise not to do that to you.

Thanks to modern technology, we now have tools that make genealogy research a lot easier for most people, most of the time! Here on my site, you’ll find a series of free e-guides to help beginners get FamilySearch and Ancestry accounts set up. These genealogy e-guides will guide you step-by-step through a very simple process to get familiar with genealogy and family history research techniques. No flood of suggestions here – just a click-by-click guide to follow. If you’ll do the steps I ask you to do in these guides, the result will be adding someone to your family tree who you always wanted to know more about. And if you run into trouble, you can always come to me for help. I'll be happy to do it!

You can’t possibly get lost!

Please don’t be intimidated any longer by what you don’t know. If you have a desire to know who you are, to have a deeper connection to your roots, genealogy is definitely for you! Take a look at my e-guides, jump in with both feet, and begin to experience the joys of genealogy and family history research--the joys of rubbing shoulders with your ancestors--for yourself!


Getting Going Again?

genealogy family history word cloud

As genealogists, we all come to point where we feel like we've lost some steam. I know I have felt that way. Sometimes you have other priorities that just kind of take over. It can be difficult to make time for genealogy and family history work in our busy schedules. Sometimes the excitement just wears off and you need a break.

The biggest motivation buster of all though, is running into a "brick wall" - not being able to get anything done. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? You start feeling like no matter how many stones you turn over, there's just no finding any more information to help you move forward!

On this site, I will share with you some of the neat experiences I've had in working on my own genealogy and family history. The reason I do this is to psych myself up to getting back in the game. So next time you hit a lull, check in here for a little something that will help you want to get going again.


Need Help?

If you need help, or you need genealogy resources, look no farther. Here on this page you will find:

    Links to Lots of Resources

Coming soon:

  • local genealogy web sites in Kentuckiana, Cincinatti & Lexington
  • genealogy E-books to help solve difficult research problems
  • LDS (Mormon) genealogy resources
  • genealogy software
  • genealogy books, downloads, other needs--and some wants!


Service Area

Indiana


Floyd County
  • New Albany
  • Floyds Knobs
  • Georgetown
  • Greenville
Orange County
  • French Lick
  • Orleans
  • Paoli
  • West Baden Springs
Harrison County
  • Corydon
  • Crandall
  • Elizabeth
  • Laconia
  • Lanesville
  • Mauckport
  • Milltown
  • New Amsterdam
  • New Middletown
  • Palmyra
Clark County
  • Fox Chase
  • Charlestown
  • Jeffersonville
  • Borden
  • Clarksville
  • Sellersburg
  • Utica
Scott County
  • Austin
  • Scottsburg
  • Lexington
Jefferson County
  • Brooksburg
  • Dupont
  • Hanover
  • Madison
Washington County
  • Campbellsburg
  • Hardinsburg
  • Little York
  • Livonia
  • New Pekin
  • Pekin
  • Salem
  • Saltillo
Crawford County
  • English
  • Leavenworth
  • Marengo
  • Milltown
  • Patoka

Kentucky


Hardin County
  • Elizabethtown
  • Radcliff
  • Sonora
  • Vine Grove
  • West Point
Jeffersonville
  • Louisville Metro
  • Crestwood
  • Hurstbourne
  • Indian Hills
  • Middletown
  • Jeffersontown
  • Prospect
  • Shively
  • St. Matthews
  • Woodland Hills
Bullitt County
  • Fox Chase
  • Hebron Estates
  • Hillview
  • Hunters Hollow
  • Lebanon Junction
  • Mount Washington
  • Pioneer Village
  • Shepherdsville
Meade County
  • Brandenburg
  • Ekron
  • Muldraugh

* I'll go to other areas as well. I charge $0.95/mile (round trip) plus $15 per hour onsite for document pickup, copies, and taking pictures.



Why I Built This Website

I started this website with the determination in mind to provide tools, resources, and encouragement to enrich and advance this labor of love for our ancestors. I would love nothing more than to see you get as excited about genealogy and family history as I am! And I want to make sure that when that happens, you'll be able to find something on my website that will help you.