On most Mondays, I publish brief e-mail interviews with some of our lookup providers. This week’s interview is with Timothy Young, whose Genlighten username is fwresearch.
From fwresearch’s profile
Timothy has been doing family history research for himself and others for about ten years. For a good portion of his research he utilizes the extensive resources of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Timothy belongs to the Indiana Genealogical Society and the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana.
Nine questions with Timothy
1) How did you get started doing genealogy lookups/research?
I guess I got started doing genealogy by finding the answers to questions that family members had. I then moved on to answering queries on message boards and volunteering to take cemetery photographs.
2) Do you have a genealogy “superpower”? If so, what is it?
I don’t think I have any genealogy “superpower”. I realize that the solution to a genealogy problem often involves trips down side paths in order to find answers.
3) Describe a tricky research problem you’re particularly proud of having solved?
One of my first clients was trying to find out what happened to a great great grandmother. He said he had all the information on her children, census, birth, death records, cemetery locations etc. I took him at his word. I then had an aha moment when I realized he didn’t have any obituaries for anyone other than his great grandmother. The great great grandmother was mentioned in one of her other child’s obituaries. It turns out her disappearance was a result of name change caused by remarriage. I guess this problem stood out for what I gained from it. The importance of not making assumptions and communication between researcher and client.
4) What are the ideal elements you like to see in a well-formulated lookup request/research query?
A well formulated query is specific in what the researcher is seeking. A well formulated query provides all relevant information. A well formulated query when providing location details, is detailed: giving as much geographic information as possible. If necessary do some homework first before making a query. For example it doesn’t make sense to ask for a birth certificate a hundred years before vital records were even kept for a particular state.
5) What’s the most interesting record source or repository you’ve utilized in your area?
I am fortunate to have access to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN. Its Genealogy Center contains the largest public genealogy collection in the United States.
6) What technical tools do you use to produce the digital images you provide to clients?
To scan documents, I use a Canon CanoScan N1240U. It’s light weight and runs off a USB cable, which makes it ideal for taking to the library. The software I use to adjust images is usually PhotoFiltre or Irfanview. For annotating .pdf files I use PDF-Xchange Viewer.
7) Any new lookups you’re considering offering?
At the moment I am not considering offering more lookups. But I am open to suggestions.
8) What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started as a lookup provider?
Consider doing free lookups in the areas that you are familiar with to gain experience.
9) What other passions do you pursue when you’re not at the archives doing lookups/research?
I enjoy playing tennis.
Lookups Timothy Offers
- City Directory Lookups, Various cities, Any Range
- Atlanta Constitution Obituary Lookup, June 17, 1868 to January 20, 1985
- Chicago Tribune Obituary Lookup, April 23, 1849 to the present
- Fort Wayne, Allen Co., IN Obituary Lookup, Abt. 1841 to the present
- Huntington, Huntington Co., IN Obituary Lookup, Abt. 1848 to 1986
- Indianapolis Star Obituary Lookup, August 16, 1961 to the present
- Los Angeles Times Obituary Lookup, January 1, 1972 to the present
- Pittsburgh Courier Obituary Lookup, March 25, 1911 to December 31, 1987
- San Francisco Chronicle Obituary Lookup, January 16, 1865 to December 31, 1985
- Washington Post Obituary Lookup, July 1, 1904 to the present
- News-Tribune Hicksville, Ohio Obituary Lookup , 1881 to 1887, and Mar. 1907 to Dec. 2004
- Virginia Birth Registers, 1853 – 1896
- Virginia Death Registers, 1853 – 1896
- Virginia Marriage Registers, 1853 – 1935