Welcome to Walking Your Tree

Thank you for visiting my little corner of the Internet.  This is a place to read about my travels, process, and within the bounds of privacy and copyright, my findings as I research genealogy for myself and others.  I hope it is educational, entertaining…or at least not mind-numbingly boring.

What is Genealogy? 

I’m glad you asked!  At its very base, it is the study of family connections.  Fundamentally, genealogists research how people are related. As you might guess, that means we place a lot of emphasis on finding vital records — official documents like birth, marriage, and death certificates.  But modern genealogy includes so much more.  People want to know more than simply when their great-great-grandmother was married — they want to know who she was So around vital records (and often, in an effort to find elusive vital information), we will study military records, censuses, church registers, archival newspapers, books, photographs, maps, deeds, cookbooks, quilts, and a whole host of other public and private documents that ancestors have generated over their lives to help us understand them not just as a name, but as a whole person.

Why are you doing this?

Personally, I started my search to know what to tell my young son when he is old enough to ask where we came from.  As I’m fond of recounting, I dabbled in genealogy for many years, but never really made headway to document more than a couple generations back, until about a year ago.  At that point, I caught the genealogy bug — that indefinable love of discovering even a little tidbit of information about an ancestor, that will make someone want to spend every spare moment in libraries, graveyards and courthouses.  Since then, I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching my family online at home in my jammies, or at any of the many genealogy libraries in the region where I live.  After visiting a large genealogy library nearby, I began volunteering with the society.  I’ve attended one minor and one major conference.  I’ve recently begun teaching an Intro to Genealogy class, and writing about my research.

At some point, it became obvious that I may be able to help others.  This led to my decision to dedicate myself full time (or as close to full time as possible with a 3 yo running around my home) to assisting others in their own genealogical quests.  Though volunteering with my society is wonderful, I believe some would be willing to pay me to use my skills to save them time and expense in their own search.  After all, not everyone has the wherewithal to spend hours scrolling through microfilm or filing requests with a state archive.  That’s where I come in.  In the future I may choose to obtain certification of my skills through one of the few certifying bodies in US Genealogy, but for the moment, here I am, putting my virtual shingle out.

Why a blog?

My fondest wish is to inspire you to ask the some of the questions about your own family that I ask about mine or to ask questions all your own.  If you think I can help you, please consider hiring me to do some of the leg work for you or to use my experience about other areas to make your own research time more effective.  More details on my qualifications and fees will be forthcoming.  Till then, I hope you enjoy reading Walking Your Tree.

About kimcotton

Professional Genealogist, specializing in 19th & 20th Century U.S. records, particularly California & Connecticut, with a dash of North Western Mexico.

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