On most Mondays, I publish brief e-mail interviews with some of our lookup providers. This week I’d like to introduce you to Melissa Barker, who goes by the username kaitysmom on Genlighten.
From kaitysmom‘s profile:
Melissa has been doing Tennessee and Kentucky research for about 20 years. She started her own professional research business in 2004. She does single document retrievals, larger research projects and “everything in between.” She completed the ProGen Study and graduated in 2009 with a certificate.
Nine questions with Melissa:
1) How did you get started doing genealogy lookups/research?
About 20 years ago I attended a funeral for one of my husband’s ancestors. While at the visitation there was a lady running around talking to all the family members and writing in this notebook. I asked her what she was doing and she and I talked for about an hour about genealogy research and I was hooked!!
2) Do you have a genealogy “superpower”? If so, what is it?
I don’t give up! I search every source available to try locate the information that a person is asking for. Since I have been researching for so long in the Tennessee and Kentucky areas, I have personal knowledge of the records that are available and also records that are not so well known.
3) Describe a tricky research problem you’re particularly proud of having solved?
Just recently I did a research project for a Client where he wanted me to locate the burial location of his Civil War ancestor. The ancestor died of disease during the Civil War in Bradley County, Tennessee. I was able to locate burial records where the ancestor had been buried in Bradley County in 1863 and a year later was disinterred and reburied in the newly formed Chattanooga National Cemetery in Hamilton County, Tennessee in 1864. I was also able to obtain photos of the ancestors headstone.
4) What are the ideal elements you like to see in a well-formulated lookup request/research query?
A well-formulated query should include the name of the person in question, all dates necessary to complete the request and the specific location where the records should be found.
5) What’s the most interesting record source or repository you’ve utilized in your area?
I conduct most all of my research through the Tennessee State Library and Archives. This repository is very well known in my area for the amount of information and records they house for all 95 counties in Tennessee. They also hold a large collection of Kentucky records as well as a large collection of records for all States that adjoin the State of Tennessee.
6) What technical tools (hardware, software) do you use to produce the digital images you provide to clients?
I use a Epson Perfection V350 Photo Scanner. This scanner produces very clear scans and my Clients are always impressed with the quality.
7) Any new lookups you’re considering offering?
My looks ups consist of Tennessee records at this time. However, I am considering including Kentucky look ups since I do research in Kentucky as well.
8) What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started as a lookup provider?
Offer look ups in the areas that you are familiar with the records. Make your turn around time as short as possible.
9) What other passions do you pursue when you’re not at the archives doing lookups/research?
Riding motorcycles with my husband, reading and writing.
Lookups Melissa Offers
- Tennessee Birth Records, 1908-1912
- Book or Publication Search, years vary
- Tennessee Published Cemetery Records, years vary
- Tennessee Death Certificates, 1908-1958
- Tennessee Deed Record, years vary by County
- Tennessee Marriage Record, years vary by County
- Tennessee Microfilmed Records, years vary by County
- Civil War Service Records, 1861-1865
- Tennessee Obituary, Varies by County
- Tennessee Will and Probate Records, Varies by County
- Tennessee Tax Records, Varies by County