The Genlighten Blog

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Featured Provider: Roma Miller (romamiller)


Salt Lake City researcher Roma Miller has been working on her own family history since 2000. She says, “I’m always learning new ways of researching and constantly taking education courses or attending seminars.” She is past board member of the San Luis Obispo Genealogical Society and a member of the National Genealogical Society. She has ProGen Certificate of Completion.

1) How did you get started doing genealogy research?

Originally, I came across a simple fill in the blank family tree book. Since I did not know
much about my family and didn’t know how to start, I never finished writing in the book.
Not long after that, I came across an old version of Family Tree Maker at a discount
store. The store offered a refund on their software programs if I was not satisfied. From
there I started working on my tree. The internet research was still in its infancy so
researching how to get started in genealogy was rough. Eventually, I stopped working on
my family for awhile.

A few years later, I picked up the researching again. This time I was able to find someone
else who had posted a lot of information about one side of my family. Eventually, I
decided to locate a genealogy society to see what else I could learn about genealogy.
Since 2006, I have been working on increasing my genealogy education by attending
classes, seminars, and completing professional courses.

2) Do you have a genealogy superpower? If so, what is it?

None that I can think of.

3) Describe a tricky research problem you’re particularly proud of having solved.

Finding my great grandmother’s ship records. Originally, I had been told that there was a
time span of ship records that were not indexed. Of course my great grandmother arrived
during that time span! I started working with the information from Sweden’s records
showing when my great grandmother left Sweden. Eventually, I found the passenger
list for her leaving Malmo, Sweden. On this it told me which ship line she was traveling
on. Researching a two week time frame for her arrival to the United States, I would
eventually see which ships under that ship line would arrive into New York’s Castle
Garden after being at sea for two weeks. At last I found all the missing pieces including
the ship list for her arrival into New York!

4) What’s the most interesting record source or repository you’ve utilized in your area?

From my first visit to Salt Lake City, I have always been fascinated with the Family
History Library. In the summer of 2011, I decided that I would make the move to Utah
in order to provide document retrieval and research requests for clients.

5) What technical tools do you use to produce the digital images you provide to clients?

The Family History Library uses a computer with a scanning feature that allows patrons
to scan the microfilm. The patron can either scan it to their removable disk or print out
the document. To save time, I scan to my disk and then email out that copy to my clients.

6) Any new lookups you’re considering offering?
Any document retrieval from the Family History Library microfilms

7) What advice would you give to someone who is trying to break through a
brick wall?

Write down everything you know about a person; use a timeline format. Question
yourself on how you know that information? What document(s) support that knowledge?
Really study the documents you have obtained. What information is it telling you and
what have you missed? There is a reason for everything listed on that document. If
someone is listed on a document that is not the person you are researching, why are
they listed on that document? Are they related or a friend of the family? Always answer
the questions Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? Why was this document
created? Why did this person do X,Y, and Z? How does this affect my ancestor?

If you still get stuck, put the information down for awhile and come back to it days later.
You may see something you may have missed originally.

Write your narrative about the individual. What are you missing to make the person’s
story come alive? Fill in the gaps of that missing information.

8) What other passions do you pursue when you’re not at the archives doing lookups?
Knitting, sewing, educating myself about various genealogy topics, and exploring
my new surroundings

9) Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m VERY passionate about genealogy. I look forward to helping others become
passionate too!

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