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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Genealogy Freelancers Announces New Partnership with Tpstry.com.


Today our new partnership with Tpstry.com begins and we couldn’t be more excited to share what Tpstry has to offer with our members.  We believe that the first step to any genealogy journey is the desire to know more and for Tpstry.com users that’s exactly where they’re headed.

Tpstry.com is an innovative concept that brings families together in a fun, safe and unique way.  It starts with the curiosity about family members that have passed away.  Family users enter questions about them and other family members answer with details that paint a picture of who those loved ones were, what they did for a living, their physical features, their likes and dislikes, etc.  Tpstry allows for a place to organize the details of history in a manner that is comprehensible, warm and fun.  It goes beyond social networking, because those that share their stories there do so with a more personal goal to further enrich the lives of those families they wish to connect with.  They are able to share and learn about those people that have made them who they are.  It’s a place where honoring both the deceased and living is accomplished with entire families in on the act.  These stories are then handed down to future generations who add as life goes on.

Partnering with Tpstry was an easy decision for us in that we believe that once any soul shows a desire to learn more of the past they begin the journey in earnest and we know that those Tpstry.com users will find Genealogy Freelancers to be a great source to help build those bridges through time.  Our specialists have the capability and the desire to see that the data necessary to create a true history for the family is compiled and sourced for accuracy.  They will now have the ability to go to Tpstry.com to collect the information that is crucial to starting any case and once Tpstry.com has its gedcom feature in place they’ll also be able to upload and/or download the data they will either retrieve or provide to their client.

We encourage all of our users, both seeker and specialist alike to make use of this wonderful service and to support our endeavors to grow together.  

Both Genealogy Freelancers and Tpstry began their services with the intention of making a positive impact for those who come through their doors and we believe that when two companies have the same initial reason for their beginnings then a partnership can only promote that purity.

So here’s to the future based on the historical past!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Genealogy Freelancers Press Release


Genealogy Freelancers Rolls Out the Welcome Mat for Transitioning Ancestry.com Expert Connect Providers

 

In response to the recent announcement that Ancestry.com would be ending their Expert Connect service, Genealogy Freelancers has been welcoming many of those providers affected by the move to transition into their existing similar service.

Genealogy Freelancers has been established since 2008 and, because of their comparable platform of projects for bid, the shift has proved an easy one for the transitioning providers from Expert Connect as they are accustomed to the premise and workings of this type of system.

The founders of Genealogy Freelancers who all have a background in the genealogy profession, maintain that their reasons for starting their service was to provide an easy and friendly method for the client and provider of genealogy services to connect to one another. When asked how the recent influx of EC providers would affect business operations Elaine Bostwick, Chief of Operations had this to say: “It’s been an unexpected week for everyone, but this is a service that we’ve been involved in for three years now and although the week has been a little unusual our site has always been geared for this service and no matter what takes place around us, our core goal of being able to help both sides will remain the same”. In response to the question of challenges for the providers making the change to GF, Ms. Bostwick says “There are some differences to our system, but on the whole the basic premise is one that the transitioning providers and the clients can recognize and use quickly. There will also be some changes as suggestions come in since it’s been our experience that the users know best what works for them and we take those suggestions seriously.”

Genealogy Freelancers has a large pool of international genealogy Specialists who are able to provide their services from a simple lookup to a full, custom research project. In addition to these services there are those providers who specialize in document translations, village and/or cemetery photography, publishing and related categories. These providers live throughout the world and are able to perform their specialties within the countries necessary to complete the posted project. Profiles of genealogy researchers and other family history experts showcase an array of expertise through education and/or verified memberships to genealogical related international associations, societies and organizations. This feature was created in order to assist the client with the Specialist selection process.

The system is a three-step process that starts when the client posts their project. Once this step has taken place, the Specialists that are a match to the specific categories and locations necessary for service are notified. If the project is one that is of interest then the Specialist will make an appropriate offer. The final step is the selection of the Specialist that is the best fit to the particular case. At that point, the client, along with their genealogy professional embark on a journey to uncover the past and build a family tree or simply add a few new branches.

Irbo Inc., owners of Genealogy Freelancers, continues to provide a welcoming platform that benefits those in search of their personal family history as well as for quality experts who are capable of providing assistance. For more information, visit the website at http://www.genealogyfreelancers.com.



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

So What Do We Think About The Expert Connect Hoopla You Ask - Hmmm?

If you’re in the genealogy community you would have had to be on the moon or stranded in the rain forest not to have heard the news about Expert Connect’s closing their doors. Since that time we’ve been asked consistently how we feel about it and our answer has been consistent as well – we sympathize for all those impacted by the act. The why’s and what for’s of Ancestry’s decision just couldn’t compare to our immediate question of what can we do right at this minute to help those many who have chosen to join us now at Genealogy Freelancers.

I have no problem admitting that when Expert Connect opened their doors we were at first shocked and then deflated, but we picked ourselves up and got off the pity pot. Our reasons for having started GF had nothing to do with who wears the bigger shoes. It was and still is about genealogy. It was and is about presenting a platform for both client and specialist to connect. That didn’t change when EC opened nor will it change now that they have decided to end that aspect of their services. We are who we are and those who offer services on a similar platform are who they are. I commend them all for their uniqueness. It makes no sense to alienate and better sense to recognize them for a job well done.

So back to the what can we do question. Well to be honest, we’ve never been a massive entity. We never had or claimed to have the deep pockets of a mega-company. Our idea had been to grow and throw all proceeds back into the premise, but then, well you all know who came into the picture. A setback sure, but we made a decision then and there that we would stay put and continue to provide what we believed in. What we still have is tenacity and now with this sudden situation at hand we have been networking around the clock to try and help all of you in some way to continue with what you love and do best. We promise not to promise a miracle, but we do promise to continue to try all we can to find a way to make you and we a team that we can all be proud of.

If tomorrow our boards were filled to the brim with project requests could we handle it? Yes, the site is already setup for full service. We’re set for simple searches to custom projects along with a host of other specialties. We have specialists in almost every country so the international capability is there as well. We have been evolving from the start, but soon you’ll be seeing big changes to the site design and function based on yours and some other recent suggestions. We realize there can always be room for improvement, but we’re at a place now where the changes can be made through a seamless transition. Would it be scary if tomorrow our project board was filled to the brim? Oh yes, shaking knees scary, but it would be absolutely wonderful to make it happen for you and so incredible to be even a tiny part of your process … just awesome! If tomorrow we stand as we have been then we again will give it all we can. We'll continue to respond to enquiries with the same customer care we pride ourselves on and we'll continue to find a way to grow and improve. We’re all genealogists here on staff so being dogged is something we know you all understand.

We want to thank those who have been tirelessly spreading the word about us. That was such an unexpected and incredible joy to wake up to. For those who have made a transition to our site after the recent news, we appreciate the support more than you know. To our long-time members we say thanks for sticking with us and for believing in what we would like to do. Hopefully we can soon make it all worth your while. Our hearts are most definitely in this for the long haul.

Whatever happens out of this hoopla we want you to know that we're on your side. Keep your heads held high and ALWAYS keep the faith that the profession you've chosen is one of the most beautiful there is. We’re in this together so keep on spreading the word.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Interview with Genealogist Stephen Thomas


It is with great excitement that we introduce you to Stephen Thomas an accomplished genealogist from Great Britain and a Specialist with Genealogy Freelancers.

Mr. Thomas has had an illustrious career in the field of genealogy spanning over two decades. He was trained at the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies in Canterbury, England and was until recently the Managing Director and Head of Research at a leading Genealogical research company there. He has researched for and presented “Blood Ties” for BBC2 and the documentary “The Lost Royals” for Granada TV. He has also appeared in an expert capacity on several programs for British radio and television and writes articles for Family History publications including several important articles on tracing overseas relatives for Your Family Tree. Mr. Thomas also has a regular monthly column in Practical Family History and writes for Family History Monthly as well.

In addition to his busy public career Mr. Thomas finds the time and energy to research for clients. He specializes in finding families from Great Britain and their place of origin. He also locates living relatives in Great Britain and abroad.

We have been very pleased to call Mr. Thomas a member of Genealogy Freelancers since our inception back in 2008. He has taken on cases for our seekers, bringing his expertise and enthusiasm to each project. We believe those who work with him on any project are fortunate to benefit from his vast experience and that they can entrust their family history to the most capable hands.

Stephen Thomas, personal communication with permission to publish, May 1st 2010

GF: When and why did you become interested in genealogy?

ST: I read Literature at University and became interested in the Victorian period and my own Victorian ancestors.

GF: You estimate having investigated approximately 5000 family trees in your long career. Do you remember the first and how the experience helped you in all those that followed?

ST: No I cannot remember the first. I was given 5 or 6 new cases at a time to analyze and schedule for research. It was quite a hot house environment.

GF: Are there any that stand out more in your memory and why?

ST: I suppose the celebrity cases and especially those that resulted in a family being re-united.

GF: Tell us a bit about the BBC production of Blood Ties and your role as researcher and resident genealogist on the project.

ST: Blood ties worked on the premise that even the humblest man in the street could be related to the notorious or the famous. I provided the cases from my workload and explained the connection on screen to the descendant. I travelled with the person to the scenes of important events in their lives.

GF: How did you prepare? What were some of the challenges?

ST: Much of the work was already done but sometimes the client proved reluctant to appear. It took a fair amount of coaxing and reassurance.

GF: What did you take away with you from the experience?

ST: It was great fun working with TV production companies, but they don’t really understand that for every glamorous ancestor we have several hundred mainly ordinary ones!

GF: You were also involved in the Granada TV production of the documentary "Lost Royals". This is a really exciting and unusual look at the royal lineage. Tell us a bit about the project and your role as researcher.

ST: Lost Royals emphasized the fact that many of our Royals took full advantage of their status to father a great many illegitimate children whose descendants are living very ordinary lives amongst us. I traced the lines to the present day and found them living as dentists, ambulance drivers and one was an Australian politician.

GF: How did you prepare and were you given access to documents that are not typically made public?

ST: I used public records and that became part of the challenge for me.

GF: Did you find that research was more or less difficult than for the average citizen of non-royal lineage?

ST: It was pretty much like any other case once the line was established.

GF: What was your most rewarding case in the project and why?

ST: I liked the Liverpudlian ambulance driver descended from William the Conqueror. Such a modest and pleasant man who certainly had not inherited the belligerence of his Royal ancestor.

GF: Again, what did you take away with you from this experience?

ST: We are all the same, all human and really a Royal title means very little except pure accident of birth.

GF: Have you investigated your own family history? Were there any surprises and/or mysteries yet to be solved?

ST: I thought there was little there of interest until recently I found a great uncle who had the largest collection of books and conjuring and was an expert on tricks and illusions. He knew Houdini and performed an act at society functions. This really pleased me. I would rather have him in my family than any King or Queen!

GF: What are your future plans?

ST: I would like to bring family history up to date by finding modern sources such as government and business data and getting them out in the open. There is a real danger that data protection will overwhelm the right to know and prevent us from knowing about the lives of our own grandparents.

Thank you Mr. Thomas for sharing a bit of who you are.

Photo shows Stephen Thomas (in the blue shirt) as a guest on the Gloria Hunniford Show.

Friday, April 2, 2010

An Interview with Jérôme Blanc


It has been our pleasure recently to have had the opportunity to communicate with Jérôme Blanc, a professional genealogist who resides in Epinay sur seine, France. Monsieur Blanc is a Historian of economic and social history having received his postgraduate degree at the l’École des hautes études en sciences socials (EHESS). Having become impassioned by his studies in the economic, social and cultural life of his ancestors in the industrial Alsace between the eighteenth and the twentieth centuries, Monsieur Blanc began a journey in constructing the genealogy of his maternal family. In 1994 he published his first work: The Engel, a family of industrialists and philanthropists.

After attending a seminar given by Louis Bergeron he became aware of his taste for the economic, social and political aspects of history and embarked on his second work Frédéric Engel-Dollfus the biography of an industrialist in Alsace (Editions Christian, 2003) in the context of a Masters Degree in History and then with a special interest having been developed for the declination of the Alsatian Rhine model he wrote his third study "Les Monnier" – the story of the social ascent of Franche-Comté, Paris to Lorrainee.

In addition to the above works Monsieur Blanc has written many artilcles for French Genealogy publications. Some of these include: "Le Modèle mulhousien" an economic model of social and cultural development of capitalism with a human face (Bulletin de la Société belfortaine d’émulation n° 94, 2003), Les sources du travail au XIXe siècle (sources of labor in the nineteenth century) Généalogie magazine, avril 2007, Avez-vous un ancêtre saint-simonien?(Do you have a Saint-Simeon ancestor?) Votre Généalogie, août-septembre 2007, Souvenirs d'une jeune fille d'industriel alsacien (memories of a young girl from the industial Alaciennes) Votre Généalogie, avril-mai 2008 and Trucs et astuces (Tips and Tricks) Votre Généalogie, février-mars 2007 à juin-juillet 2008)

Since these extensive research projects have been written, Monsieur Blanc has been working as a professional genealogist transmitting his knowledge and passion for genealogy and in history to the search for his clients ancestry and to his continuing writings on the subject of genealogy.

Monsieur Blanc has been a member of Genealogy Freelancers since September, 2008 and has performed research for clients of our service who have sought their French roots. We are honored to call Jérôme Blanc our friend and a Specialist in the truest sense.

The following are answers to a few questions we have asked Monsieur Blanc.

Jérôme Blanc, personal communication with permission to publish, March 14, 2010

GF: When did you become interested in genealogy and why?
JB: About 15 years ago. My mother told me about my industrial ancestors in Alsace who were at the head of the firm DMC (Dollfus-Mieg et Cie ) during four generations.
GF: You have written several publications; what made you interested in these particular subjects?
JB: For the genealogical publications, I was interested to discover the life of my ancestors and for the historical publications, because I have discovered in myself a passion for industrial and economical history, political history (the social, economical and political theory of Saint-Simonisme etc.)
GF: In your professional role as a genealogist, what is your main concentration and why?
JB: Due to my background studies in economical and social history, my specialty was work in archives, but I am now on any ground (tout terrain in French) !!!
GF: What geographic locations do you cover in your research?
JB: I search in all of France and in French speaking countries.
GF: What areas have the most significant personal relevance to you?
JB: The areas are Alsace, Lorraine, Cévennes, Aisne etc.,because they are earth of my ancestors, and the others areas are the locations significant to my clients.
GF: What has been the most rewarding case that you have ever worked on and why?
JB: In the past, it was to construct the genealogy of my Alsacian ancestors because their history is so exciting : they participated in the French take off of the industries in France and in the first and second industrial revolutions.
Right now, I am actually searching in the archives to prove that the father of my clients ancestry goes back to Louis XV!!
GF: What is the most challenging aspect of genealogy research in France – Frustrations?
JB: It’s to perform research with the mixing of genealogy and history. No frustration, I do genealogy by passion.
GF: Do you have an opinion as to what records provide the most relevant and abundant information?
JB: All records provide relevant information, it depends what you are looking for.
GF: What is your advice for someone beginning his or her search of their French roots?
JB: Read French and get to know a little bit about French history and begin to establish the skeleton of his or her genealogy.
GF: When you research is there anything that you take with you – Anything that helps you to better achieve your goal?
JB: I always prepare for my research, but I can bring books with me, summaries in tables that I have prepared on the information, which will make it possible to locate particular information in every archive document.
GF: Do you have any future plans regarding your work in genealogy?
JB: At present just to satisfy my clients and find what they ask me to find

We thank you Monsieur Blanc for your time and for allowing our readers the privilege of having a glimpse into your world.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Genealogy in Life and Death

There is a side to genealogy that may touch all of us, yet it is nothing that thrills us. It is nothing like making that crack through a brick wall. It is a side that touches us on a personal level and gives us pause to continue. It is that moment when genealogy is no longer a quest or result. It is that entry after the name that signifies a concrete truth and this truth that when we are first met with it, brings a denial that is unwilling to make that entry for fear that truth will win out. That entry is d.

My twin sister passed away this past November and it is a pain like none other I have ever known. I will not elaborate except to say that she was the absolute light in my life and that her early and sudden loss took my heart to a place I wish on no one.

As I am a genealogist and the appointed historian for our family it is something that I must do, but that d. after her name strikes a cord so deep that it brings a pain to my bones. It must be done as it is the final salute to a life well loved.

In our pursuit of lineage we enter data for our clients on a daily basis. We see the dates and we calculate forwards and backwards our next move. We anticipate large quantity of death in years of plague or war and envision the sadness of the parents. We see the events of birth and marriage in our minds eye and imagine being their guest at the festivities. We are transported to a day and location that very few professions allow and we believe that in visualizing these lives who are long past that we bring honor to those we investigate.

It is true that what we do is noble. It is true that what we do makes an absolute difference, but for every entry of that d. there was one left behind that deeply mourned their loss and in order to be noble and to make that difference it is imperative for me to include them in my visualization. How else will I hear their voices?

There may be separate trains of thought concerning method. There may be those that believe that there’s no place for sentiment in our work and that it muddies the waters. I am not of this mindset – right or wrong. For me it’s involuntary. I can’t think of the ancestors I seek in a purely statistical manner. Of course, I must and do follow proper methodology, yet I need also to see and feel the surroundings of those I seek in order to strategize where next I should go. Their occupations, location of marriage, religion, obituary, godparents and witnesses all speak to me. Every deed, census, divorce decree and village history speak volumes to me. The voices help clarify my quest and they bring joy to the process.

I will enter the d. after my sisters name and I’ll hope that a future generation will visualize that entry as one made with love; as one made with the expressed wish that whoever reads it will know that those she left behind had honored her in life and in death. And if there is something not known that they will hear her voice and follow her clues.

Adding that d. may sadden us, yet it will also bring a renewed pride in a profession that allows us to validate and give reverence far beyond a mere statistic. We can do this every day for every name we search and for every d. we enter. We can see them clearly and appreciate that we have been allowed passage to a place in time where they loved, laughed and held the hands of those they cared for. This gift we have been given deserves every respectful act in return. It deserves our pursuit of the truest sense of who they were.

To my sister whom I have loved then and always, it has pained me to enter your name, but I have done so that you will never be forgotten and that you will continue to have a place with purpose.

Deborah

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Find a record? It's like the winning G9 on your bingo card.

In this genealogical climate of cases and brick walls so much is written within the confines of the skill and art of this field, yet not much is penned concerning the client and the genealogist as individuals other than the demographic makeup of age, gender and salary range and so curiosity of such stories are the theme of this topic. We feel it high time that the individual reasons for the love of genealogy be known and heralded. After all, if not for both, the field would be left to statistics alone without the battle cries and kudos of the journey and arrival.

For the genealogist the drive appears to be for the love of history and puzzles; a need to best one self in what can, at times, be a solo venture. Let’s face it; not everyone is as enamored with the finding of great, great grandpa Jeremiah as say … you. Often the glazed look of the recipient to our discovery tales is indicative of the yawn they suppress or a roll of their eyes, or worse yet the calculated measuring of the distance to the nearest exit. None of what you’re telling them is boring .. to you; so why don’t they get it? I think the birds of a feather synopsis best applies; however other researchers show signs of weary slumber as well when the ancestors discussed are not their own and although there is an appreciation to your findings it is not quite the same as finding THEIR gg-grandpa Jeremiah. Think of those moments when you had your nose buried in film number 189…. And then Sally who has the reader to your right squeals in delight of breaking what would appear to be the DiVinci code. Were you 100% thrilled when you murmured your platitudes or completely oblivious to anything other than the Latin text you were just then perusing? In turn, have you not at least once, consciously or subconsciously, squealed out loud and heard the same platitudes from those around you? It’s part of the package; the winning G9 on your BINGO card. You succeeded and it’s next to impossible to keep a secret of it.

The above description may imply a kind of narcissism to the genealogist, but it’s anything but. There’s intensity to the job at hand, yet there is a generosity to the researcher in that if asked for help on a particular quandary then it has been my experience that help is easy to acquire as the element of camaraderie of mates in common takes hold. It is then that the interest in THEIR gg-grandpa Jeremiah becomes your interest as well. This then leads me to the relationship between the genealogy seeker, or in other terms, the recreational genealogist or family historian and the professional researcher or genealogy freelance specialist. The relationship of client and professional is an exercise in tandem and it is one of great satisfaction, in most cases, for both.

As a professional I must say that the common denominator of the many clients I have had throughout the years is patience. It may be that I specialize and therefore; I presume that most of my clients have performed a good deal of their own research prior to their contact with me and have knowledge of the time necessary to be thorough, but I am also inclined to believe that there is an innate sense of decency to these folk in that beyond the puzzle solving there is a true desire to honor their ancestry and with honor there is almost always a kind soul. In all my years I can honestly report that I have never had a disagreeable client. Am I lucky; I don’t think it’s about luck. I think that it’s a combination of the desire to know and appreciation of taking the journey with another who’s on the same road, one who can discuss Jeremiah and his lineage in detail and who can rejoice in findings or ponder new possibilities if findings are few. Finding a record can at times, be a matter of course; however there are some instances where feeling a bit like Santa is not an exaggeration when a client is so completely appreciative.