He Hit the Jackpot!

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)

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