About Me

Ruthenian Woman at Ellis Island

I’m a person who wants to find out who, what, where, when, why, and how.

Studying psychobiology in college kept this goal intact.  I developed my critical thinking skills and my research skills simultaneously.

After college, I earned my masters degree in English (linguistics). I taught TESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages, also commonly known as “ESL”) for 10 years, in Spain and in the United States. I loved working with people from diverse backgrounds.  I was fascinated with each student’s story – his or her “history.”

This is what brings me to my dream profession as a genealogist and family historian.

In 2004, I was given a dusty, forgotten, old portrait of some then-unknown ancestor of mine. I was compelled to figure out who she was and why her image was tucked away in my grand-aunt’s attic. I started researching her history, and, well, I haven’t stopped wanting to know more about everyone’s ancestors since that defining moment.

Today, I feel compelled to give these unknown ancestors three dimensions.  I feel compelled to honor them.

The art and science of genealogy is complex, layered, and beautiful. Some people, however, are afraid to uncover “black sheep” in their familial histories.  What do I say to them?

Truly, no matter what one finds in one’s past, it’s perfect in its imperfection. Everyone who existed before you matters.

Without them, who would you be?

Published on December 15, 2010 at 9:30 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Greetings Jennifer
    I left a message on ancenstry.com and also another e mail address.
    I am good friends with Marge Bilski Friar. Her father was Edward Przybylski of Grand Rapids,Michigan. I am not a professional genealogist, but have just dabbled in it for over 40 years.

    I offered to help Marge and her family with their Polish roots. I found through ancestry.com that you have already done much work for the family of Marge’s Aunt Florence Przybylski-Brazitis.

    Since much of the data, photos etc. are PRIVATE, wasn;t sure if the family would share them or not. Marge asked me to ask you if there was a cost for the material, they would gladly pay.

    It looks like you have done quite extensive work on the Przybylski/Szymczak families.

    Thanks Jennnifer

    Blessings for the New York

    (Bro) Thom Smith
    St. Louis, MO
    (born and raised in Grand Rapids)

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