On Mondays, I frequently publish brief e-mail interviews with some of our lookup providers. This week’s interview is with Kim Stankiewicz, whose Genlighten username is — you guessed it — kimstankiewicz.
From kimstankiewicz‘s profile
Kim’s been doing genealogy research for herself and others for the last ten years. She’s located in the Chicago area and has access to the Great Lakes Region NARA facility, the Cook County Courthouse, the Wilmette LDS Family History Center and numerous Chicago libraries. She can retrieve Bohemian obituaries, criminal court records, naturalization records, probate records and wills. She participated in ProGen2 and is a member of the Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists and the Polish Genealogical Society of America. She’s committed to treating your ancestors as if they were her own.
Nine questions with Kim
1) How did you get started doing genealogy research?
After researching my own family history, friends and acquaintances started asking me to help them with their family histories. I found that I enjoyed researching others’ ancestors just as much as my own and I learned so much through the process. I get just as excited when I find good information for others as I do for myself! Solving a genealogical puzzle is always fun!
2) Do you have a genealogy “superpower”? If so, what is it?
One of my strengths is my persistence in attempting every avenue I can think of to find elusive ancestors. Sometimes people just can’t be found, but I will always try every trick in the book to track people’s ancestors down. I do this through a step by step process of searching different records that are available in the Chicago area.
3) Describe a tricky research problem you’re particularly proud of having solved?
I recently had a client that wanted to find out what happened to her aunt’s baby after her aunt’s divorce. This divorce took place many years ago and no one ever talked about it and the aunt had since passed on. After pulling the divorce records, it was discovered exactly where the child was placed and what the child’s new name was. It was very exciting as my client was able to reconnect with this new found cousin!
4) What are the ideal elements you like to see in a well-formulated lookup request?
It is helpful when a client can give as many details or stories that they’ve heard about their ancestors. Sometimes the littlest details can be the biggest clues for looking for documents in the right place.
5) What’s the most interesting record source or repository you’ve utilized in your area?
My favorite repository is definitely the Cook County Archives. I enjoy searching court records for either criminal cases, general lawsuits or divorces. Many people have very interesting stories and so much can be gleaned through these records. Their narratives are all documented via court records and their testimony. It’s almost as you can hear them speaking when you read their 100+ year old testimony word for word!
6) What technical tools do you use to produce the digital images you provide to clients?
I have a new hp computer and a new scanner so that I can easily upload documents and deliver them digitally to my clients.
7) Any new lookups you’re considering offering?
I plan to offer wills and probate look ups, divorce, law and chancery case look ups and obituary look ups from newspapers that are not yet on-line.
8) What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started as a lookup provider?
One needs to first start off by offering their favorite look ups so that they will find it fun, fulfilling and interesting.
9) What other passions do you pursue when you’re not at the archives doing lookups?
I like running, reading, going to the movies and spending time with my husband and five kids.
Lookups kimstankiewicz Offers
- Chicago Bohemian Obituary Index Look Up, 1891-1995
- Chicago Bohemian Obituary and Translation, 1891-1995
- Naturalization Records from Superior, Circuit, County and Criminal Courts of Cook County, Illinois, 1871-1929
- Cook County Criminal Court Records, 1871-1983
- Chicago, Cook County, Illinois Probate and Wills Look Up, 1871-1976 (some wills date from the 1850s)