Provider ctsmithson is a Maryland researcher who has been involved with genealogy for more than 25 years. His specialties include Maryland brick walls, lineage society application documentation, missing heirs research, and Maryland state records from the colonial period through the 1940s.
He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and has served in numerous leadership roles in lineage societies such as the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (Maryland Society).
Here’s what one of his most recent clients had to say on his provider feedback page: “Thank you very much for your assistance finding our Baltimore ancestor records — With your expertise, you were able to solve some “brickwalls” in our family tree! Greatly appreciate your quick response and updates.” .
How did you get started doing genealogy research?
I started in 1988 at age 8, learning from my late grandfather. At 13, I was the first-ever student member of the National Genealogical Society.
Do you have a genealogy superpower? If so, what is it?
My photographic memory—being able to remember things like where a family is buried or who is related to who.
Describe a challenging research problem you’re proud of having solved.
I assisted in identifying “Little Albert,” the infant subject of a well-known classical conditioning experiment carried out at Johns Hopkins University, c. 1920. The resulting article, which I co-authored, Correcting the Record on Watson, Rayner, and Little Albert: Albert Barger as “Psychology’s Lost Boy” appeared in the September 2014 issue of American Psychologist.
What’s the one must-visit repository visitors doing research in your area?
The Maryland State Archives. The collection includes records dating back to 1634. It’s a great place to do hands-on research whether it’s looking for a will from 1750 or searching for later death certificates.
What advice would you give to someone trying to break through a brick wall in your area?
Never give up. Review your notes that you have made on what records you have searched and what you haven’t looked at.
What hobbies do you pursue when you’re not doing research?
I work on lineage society applications for others in my spare time. I currently serve as the Genealogist for the Maryland Society SAR and the Genealogist General for the Hereditary Order of the Signers of the Bush Declaration. I helped found the latter group in 2004.