Nov 142010

1929 Courthouse Fire

All throughout history, and all throughout genealogy there have been fires that have destroyed courthouses and consequently, vital genealogical records of our ancestors.

These Courthouse fires have brought heartbreak to many a genealogist and family historian. Oh the joy of finding out that your ancestor has record’s in a courthouse, then oh the pain and anguish when you come to find out that the Courthouse burnt down along with the vital records you needed to advance your family pedigree, or to find a christening record or relatives.

As a Professional Researcher, I have come across more destruction of genealogical records in Courthouse fires than you would like to poke a stick at! If you are a serious researcher of your family’s history, at some point you have come across the destruction of those vital records in a courthouse fire. If you haven’t, you more than likely will, at some point

In your future research. If not, you are extremely fortunate; maybe you found a lost christening record or a military record. Maybe from WWI or WWII.  People ask me, “The records were destroyed in a fire, and I can’t go back any further, what do I do?” The answer is simple. You hire a very good genealogy researcher or a Master Genealogist. Hiring the right one for this type of research is very difficult.

Most Professional Genealogy researchers, and I know most of them will be annoyed that I am writing this, cannot do this. They aren’t qualified. Forget accreditation, which just means the person passed a test. There are no Courthouse fire situations on those test papers. It is my opinion that only about one in a hundred Professional researchers are qualified to do this sort of research. If you can find this 1% of Professional Genealogist it is well worth whatever you have, to pay them. I put these Genealogist in a class all their own. I title them, “Master Genealogist” They do more than find relatives, death notices, obituary, census, descendants, birth certificate or birth records, army records, including WWI and WWII. If you want to find normal records for easy research like trying to find relatives, death notices, immigrants, obituary, birth certificate or birth record, death record, church records, descendants than just hire the average.

In a recent project I had the case of two Courthouse fires in the same County. Not one, but two. That alone has inspired me to inform the honest seeker of their ancestors about this issue, and to be aware of wasting money and finding nothing. It is my intention of pointing you in the right direction, so you can smash down those “Brick Walls” and to give you the right tool to do it. There are reasons a Master Genealogist can find out information when the other 99% cannot in the case of Courthouse Fires. A Master Genealogist can also break down other Brick Walls. I could elaborate on researching ancestors where there has been a Courthouse Fire, but I will not. Great tact and specialized knowledge is required to overcome a Courthouse Fire to find Genealogical information. A Master Genealogist has this knowledge. Most times, there is only one chance to get the required information. It is too great a risk to allow a less qualified researcher to attempt to acquire the Genealogical knowledge required. Once the chance is gone it will never be available again. I will not let people do that.

Following a set guideline that a Master Genealogist uses, I was able to modify the project I accepted, to overcome two Courthouse Fires. Many people had worked on this Project without success for 25 years because of the Destruction of the Records.

Now, I must warn you all, some establishments hide behind Courthouse Fires. They just don’t want to help you or are too busy. A fire is an easy way to stop someone from seeking information.

Persistence is sometimes required. Remember a Professional Genealogy researcher will most times get more than an amateur. Of course a Master Genealogist is your best bet, if you are willing to pay for one. Remember, you get what you pay for. If a less expensive researcher or less qualified researcher gets your family tree wrong early on, your whole family history could be wrong. Do you want to run that risk? Currently there are only two organizations in the USA, one in New Zealand and Australia, and one in Great Britain that certify Genealogist. The Governments do not certify these! Although they have good researchers, very few of them are a Master Genealogist. Sometime in the near future, I hope to be able to start a World Wide Master Genealogist Society. This will allow the general public to hire a competent Genealogist who can handle their specific “Brick Wall” Projects.

How Can I Identify A Master Genealogist?

Warning! If I were to hire someone for this type of research, I wouldn’t accept a quote, or qualifications on paper. If they sent me forms to fill out I wouldn’t hire them. That won’t work on this type or research. You ask why? Ask a Master Genealogist!

Your only way is to talk to the actual researcher.

Now I need to finish, but first. The Biggest Fire in regards to Genealogy in History. The LDS or Mormon Church wasn’t able to copy many of these records. The Four Courts Fire in Dublin, Ireland. 30 June 1922 was a catastrophe! 90% of all Irish Records were destroyed. The Government had previously passed an act of Parliament that required all churches to send their church records to Dublin to be stored by the Government. These records were lost forever. What most people don’t know is that immediately, the Minister for History, immediately started reconstruction of these records through different methods. This project continues today. So far about half of the records that were lost in this fire have been replaced. Ireland is difficult to trace ancestors in.Much better to hire a very competent Master Genealogist. That will of course cost a lot.

Some things are easier than others. A search of a Marriage Record in Ireland is the easiest. Native American Research is very similar to Courthouse Fires. The Government has the records. I will say that again. The Government has the records. Getting them is difficult unless they are Cherokee or Choctaw. Thankfully, we have the best Native American Researcher in the USA, as well as our own self developed Native American Database’s.

Similar to Ireland, normally a marriage record can be found for a Native American. The same as a death record or census. There are many now claiming a Native American Pedigree. The LDS or Mormon Church has large records on Cherokee research. But Looking for the needle in a haystack isn’t fun.

We have many search requests for Native American ancestors, USA ancestor search’s, Australian ancestor search’s, Irish genealogical research, Scottish People, English genealogical research. Those that have roots in Native American Ancestry as well as roots in African American Ancestry. We have Scottish people who like us to do an ancestral chart as well as Welsh who like ancestral charts. Lots of Irish immigrants & English, and European immigrants ask us, “please find my family” or please help me find my family”. Family Genealogy, family search, family tree, social security death index, Church records, court records, we do all these things. In the coming months I will be writing articles on family genealogy, family search, family tree, social security death index, Church records, court records, & Family History. It won’t be difficult to find my article. To find my articles just come to American Ancestors. Soon I will also have a new article titled “Name History” This will deal with finding that hard individual in History, so look out for “Name History”. Genealogy is growing, be a part of the trend, but do it right.