J Sanford Kruizenga is a former Marine turned Genealogist. His specialties include Michigan, Civil War (what he refers to as Lincoln's War), and Dutch ancestries. While he has been researching his own family tree since the age of 9, he has shared his expertise with clients since 2009.
Having been adopted as a baby, I was faced with many unknowns throughout my life. I was able to track down my biological parents but that was about it. I had a great relationship with my biological Mother but not so much with my Father and I hit a brick wall when I got to my paternal grandmother. I was, however, able to determine that she was also adopted. I had no idea where to turn from there. Thankfully, I reached out to Jay who was not only able to point me in the right direction, he was absolutely the reason I was able to continue building my family tree and solving many mysteries in my Ancestry DNA “family.” I am confident that without Jay’s help, I would have never been able to obtain the valuable information. I found Jay to always be helpful, professional and very timely in his responses. When looking for someone to help you with your search, I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed in your choice to seek Jay’s help.
J. Nester (Michigan)
Jay, you’re NOT only a premiere photographer but a ‘miner’. Thanks for digging these out. Photos are GREAT!
Thank you very much! I am very impressed…you are certainly a professional photographer!
OH MY GOSH, thank you for the envelope of the pictures and and printed package of my ancestors.
Jay found my great grandparents graves, and helped me learn that I have Dutch, French Canadian, and English ancestors going back to the 1600s in America. I never imagined I would learn so much. Beyond his great knowledge of genealogy sources, he has a unique curiosity and a sixth sense that leads to the finding of crucial details that most other people would overlook.
Very Professional Experience. Jay is extremely efficient and easy to work with.
D. Van Haften (Michigan)
While writing a family history I approached Mr. Kruizenga to look into some discrepancies about the background of my great-grandfather, a Dutch immigrant who had lived in the Grand Rapids area. There was conflicting data from family members, Ancestry.com, family trees, etc. I needed a professional genealogist, someone who had access to foreign records and who could translate the Dutch material and make sense of it. I also wanted the backing of a professional’s “seal of approval” on whatever was found.
Mr. Kruizenga pursued the project with unexpected vigor and competence. I received four lengthy reports from him that addressed each of my questions. Not only did I get the raw data (at least 10 records of births, deaths, marriages, maps, etc.) but an intelligent and comprehensive analysis that was tailored to my quest.
Mr. Kruizenga handled the entire project with honesty, competence, patience, and professionalism. It is clear that he loves what he does and is very good at it. As for the results of our collaboration, he solved a century-old discrepancy and gave me considerable additional information that I had not expected. I cannot say enough in my praise of Mr. Kruizenga.
D. Walstad (North Carolina)
Congratulations to Diana Walstad for her perseverance to see this through. Her book has now been published. Entitled “Family History (1860-1950) of a Doctor’s Daughter” the book is available through Amazon.
This is the 2nd time I have taken advantage of Jay’s services. I hired him to investigate my French roots. After a family reunion I was appalled that no-one knew anything of our French side. Jay picked up the trail taking my French roots from Grand Rapids to Chicago, from there to New York, then into Canada where he discovered I descend from the “Filles du Roi” (King’s Daughters)! What a find! And he didn’t stop there… he brought my family back to France.
K. Tasma (Michigan)
It was with amazement, gladness, reverence and deep gratitude… You did an AMAZING job in recovering and photo-documenting Jane’s stone so carefully and completely, and the epitaph is beautiful and poignant. I’m extremely grateful.
Jay is phenomenal, what more can I say! I couldn’t begin to understand how he does what he does…with speed and clarity. He was able to take my ancestry back to Holland with rich details and all in an easy to understand format.
S. Ophoff (Michigan)
Jay, I can’t thank you enough for finding Ekke Rozema’s headstone. I am just now wrapping up a one-year genealogy effort on my grandmother and her 14 siblings, of whom Ekke was the firstborn but died after five days. The whole family has been connected to the project via a Facebook page, and we had resigned ourselves to Ekke’s marker being lost. What a fantastic thing you are doing! Thank you again!
Thanks Jay… your work is outstanding and reasonable cost wise. I would certainly recommend you to friends and family. All the best!
B. Carson (Michigan)
I love doing my own research on my family tree. I’m pretty good, and enjoy it immensely. I look at it like an investigation, or detective work. So, why hire Jay? He brings fresh eyes to the case, and found things I couldn’t. I was thoroughly happy with the results, and will be using him in the future, for other projects on my tree. Thank you Jay! You did a wonderful job on my 5 items. Very thorough, and even went beyond what I expected. Again, many thanks.
F. Guerkink (Michigan)
How fortunate that we located Genealogist Jay Kruizenga! Long ago we hit the amateur researcher’s “brick wall”. We had performed on-line searches in the Grand Rapids area for historical & genealogical societies, churches, cemeteries, county clerk offices, and more.
Jay responded promptly to my email inquiry. We reviewed a sample work contract and knew this was the way to go to learn more. And we are thrilled with the results!
Jay is detailed in communication back and forth. He knows where and how to dig deeply for a variety of information about our relatives. Additionally, Jay provided local and national history of that era – that is when our people became real.
In our contract with Jay we listed the specific areas and people that we wanted Jay to research. Jay gladly utilized the information that we had already collected over the years. He said it saved him initial research time, which permitted him to go after more hidden information. We set a maximum number of hours for the contracted job – although we happily admit that we extended the contract time by ten hours when Jay found additional, pertinent, historical family information.
It is amazing what can be found from old newspapers, State archives, old & obsolete cemetery records, law enforcement/court records, and more.
Jay digs deeply.
Jay drove to various locations, even in the snow, to research information. He requested copies of documents from various agencies and resources. Jay is quite the photographer: the photos that he took of the gravestones and other locales were excellent. His investigations of the very old archives at the cemeteries proved to be the info that we needed to solve many puzzles. We live far away – we could not have done any of this footwork ourselves.
In our relative’s garage we found an old, quite damaged photo. On the back of the old photo, some names were faintly penciled. We did not recognize the names – we guessed those were ‘nick-names.’ Jay helped us identify when the photo was taken – 1889. Jay confirmed the photographer and the location and assisted in identifying the five young children in that photo.
Jay put all that collected detail into a concise, large, well-organized report. We recall telling Jay (when he first posted his research report on-line) that we sat excessively long at the computer – viewing his report while all the time being fully intrigued and entertained by his findings!
Now that this project is complete, we miss the exchanges with Jay; we miss working together to solve mysteries together. We look forward to the future when we will again recruit genealogist Jay Kruizenga for researching another branch of our family tree.
D. & J. Stittgen (Alaska)
My experience with Jay has been exceptional. Originally, I contacted him regarding his work on a Poor Farm cemetery in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was very helpful and seemed quite knowledgeable of Michigan cemetery records in general. I explained my “brick wall” and he thought that he might be able to find more information about my family member. Not only did he find more information, he hit the jackpot!
Jay located probate records in a rural part of Michigan where we had been told all records were lost when the entire town burned. Undeterred by the claims that all records had been lost, Jay transcribed handwritten probate records that revealed the sad tragedy of what happened to my family, and even uncovered the existence of a previously unknown child.
He followed the family’s move to Illinois, which in turn revealed a Civil War enlistment record. That record finally told us where my ancestor was born – Georgia, Franklin County, Vermont. The record contained a second mystery – a clue to an unknown second marriage, which too was researched and found.
After such extraordinary success, I engaged Jay’s service a second time to assist in finding my family roots in Vermont. The Vermont search has turned into a “mission” for both Jay and myself. As with all things for this ancestor, nothing is easy, no records exist in obvious places. Jay has found every male with the (common) surname of my ancestor and has methodically and painstakingly researched each one to rule them out, or in, as the father of my ancestor.
Again he has traced them as they moved. From Massachusetts to Connecticut. Then to Pennsylvania. Even Canada. Each one has been documented with whatever could be found – vital records, cemetery records, land records and probates, newspapers, county histories and family genealogies.
With every communication, I continue to be impressed with Jay’s attention to detail, logic, knowledge, and his experience, but mostly with his tenacity. He truly cares about his work and more importantly, he seems to genuinely care about the people he is researching. To say that he goes above and beyond is an understatement.
Before I became acquainted with Jay I had hired the “Pro” genealogists to try to break through my other brick wall (whose claim to fame is working on the genealogy shows). I cannot say enough about how different my experience was. Jay’s work, both with his personal communication and documentation skills, as well as research skills far exceeded these other genealogists by a long distance. I look forward to working with Jay to resolve all my difficult family history problems.
K. Powell (Texas)