Offering a new service…GeneaCoaching!

GeneaCoaching (pronounced genie-coaching) is a discipline that involves advising, mentoring, and guiding a client through their genealogical research experience.  The coaching process addresses the client’s specific genealogical project(s) they wish to explore, discovering obstacles or challenges that may arise, and choosing a course of action to make their research the best it can be.  You do the research with guidance from your GeneaCoach.

GeneaCoaching can work any number of ways…from very little guidance to working with the client along every step of their journey.  Together, we’ll work as a team!

GeneaCoaching Cornerstones:



                                         ANALYZE YOUR FINDINGS >>>

                                                                               >>>>>>> REPEAT!


DEVISE A PLAN:  First of all, as your GeneaCoach I will sit down with you, face to face or online, whatever works for you, and we’ll go over what information you have so far and what you’d like to learn.  Two things to remember as you get started: (1) Start with what you know and (2) Have a simple goal in mind.

DISCOVER YOUR FAMILY HISTORY:  This is where the magic happens!  After creating a plan for research, you complete the task of locating documents and records you need.  As your GeneaCoach, I will help you find the repositories, be it an address, a phone number, a website, then you take care of requesting the records you seek.  Feel a bit apprehensive about approaching the clerk’s office at the courthouse in another county?  We’ll make it a fieldtrip!  I like visiting different repositories, not only for the treasures they hold but also because of what I can learn.  Learn something new every day…my motto.

ANALYZE YOUR FINDINGS:  The word ‘analyze’ makes this sound like a chore, like trigonometry, but it’s not!  This is when you put your thinking cap on and use that skill we’ve all learned, critical thinking.  As your GeneaCoach, we will sit down with your findings and study them.  Hand write them onto a chart.  Use an Excel spreadsheet to plot assertions or dates or places.  Enter the data into your family history software.  It may sound challenging, but it can be done!  If you decide to write up your findings into a narrative or proof summary/argument, your GeneaCoach can be your sounding board, your editor, your grammar/spell/citation checker…whatever you need me to be.

REPEAT:  See above!  As your GeneaCoach, if you still need me, I’m here.  Or, you might feel more confident in your abilities and decide to go it alone.  Your choice.



Client A has a black and white picture from his mother of who he thinks is his maternal grandfather as a teenaged boy with two adults, standing in the front yard of a home.  The back of the photo has the information of “The Smiths, 1942.”  Client A wants to know more about the picture, is the child his grandfather standing with his parents?  Client A knows his grandfather’s name is Alfred Smith and that he was born in Indianapolis, Indiana.  GeneaCoach suggests you check the 1940 census and search for Alfred Smith in Indianapolis.  Client A reports that he found three Alfred Smith’s: one who is 40 and single, one who is 12, and one who is 3/12 (3 months old).  We analyze this data.  The 3-month-old would be 2 in the picture, still a toddler.  The 40-year-old is single, no children.  The 12-year-old boy would be 14 in the picture.  GeneaCoach suggests you look more closely at his household.  Client A reports that 12-year-old Alfred Smith lives with his father, Abner, age 41, his mother, Sarah, age 38, an older sister, Caroline, age 14, and a younger brother, Carl, age 8.  In looking at the picture, GeneaCoach notices a house number on the home in the photo and suggests to the client to check the census sheet for an address as census takers began noting addresses in the left margin in the 20th century.  Sure enough, the house number matches the address on the census sheet to 12-year-old Alfred.  The young boy in the picture, though, could be Alfred or his younger brother or another boy altogether.  GeneaCoach suggests that the client check with older family members to find out more about his grandfather’s family.  Client finds out that young Carl died in 1941.  Most likely, these three people are Abner and Sarah Smith and their surviving son Alfred.  Client has identified the picture using the census and family lore and moved a generation back (his maternal great-grandparents’ identities).  The client has earned the satisfaction of finding out information about his ancestral family on his own!

daraward DAR Good Citizenship Award pin, photo credit: Amanda Clark

Not all situations are as clear-cut as the one above.  And, of course, all situations are unique to one’s own family.  A lot of times it involves more than turning to the census and reaching out to your family members.  Keep in mind, a lot of information can be found on the internet, either for free or through a paid subscription.  However, so much more remains off the internet.  Your GeneaCoach will help you figure out where to look!

Are you doing genealogical research on your own and want some assistance, a sounding board, or just someone to help you organize your research?  I can help you with that!  I want you to experience the thrill of finding a long-lost document or record or picture to break down those pesky brick walls.  I can help you create a research plan or read/edit your reports.