How Fortunate that We Located Genealogist Jay Kruizenga!

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)

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