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I offer a variety of professional information services. More about me.

Although I focus primarily on genealogy/family history, I am also available for information services related to engineering, medicine, science, social history, technology, theology, and possibly more areas (just ask).


Service Area Description Example
Information Retrieval Often called “lookup,” this service involves retrieving one or more pieces of information with a precise citation, or one that I determine is “precise enough.” 1) Please find all the U.S. Census records for John Benns (b. 1830, England; m. BEF 1855, to Cordelia; d. 31 MAR 1882, OH). Children’s names and dates and any other known family information has been provided (with source citations) to assist you.
2) Please copy a few pages from this book for me (citation follows).
Research As the client, you determine what type of information you need, how much you are willing to spend, and how long you are willing to wait for results. After locating the information, I will obtain/make copies for you. All information will be annotated with source references. Please find the ancestors and family members (wives and children) of John Benns (b. 1830, England; m. BEF 1855, to Cordelia; d. 31 MAR 1882, OH). All known family information has been provided (with source citations) to assist you. I have already searched census records for Benns, Benz, Bems in the 1860 to 1890 censuses (attached). Please begin with a search of 5 hours and document all findings and analyses of conflicting information. [see NOTE at bottom of page.]
Analysis If you’re stuck, you can send me what you have, and I can analyze it to see what conclusions can be drawn, where I recommend more information be gathered, and what other steps might be good to take next. I’ve been researching John VanDeventer, father of Henry Simon VanDeventer. I’m sending you all the research I’ve done to date (both what I’ve found and where I’ve looked in vain). I can’t tell whether I have one John or 4. Can you help me make sense of all of this?
Presentations I am willing to speak on just about any topic you suggest, but only if I think I can speak with enough background knowledge to answer most questions that might be asked during the presentation. My presentations page (under the Services menu) provides brief descriptions of all my talks.
Information Preservation This service involves scanning client-provided print or film (negative or slide) photographs or documents. 1) Please create an archival-quality digital product from my grandfather’s slides. The finished product should be delivered to me on a flash drive (which I’ll reimburse you for).
2) Please scan this large set of slides to produce a “proof set” for determining which items should be scanned at higher resolution. I realize this product is usually suitable for printing 4×6 images.

NOTE: Why sending me everything you have is important:

1) If all prior research is not provided at the beginning of the project, including copies, I may duplicate some of your research. If this happens, you are still liable for the charges associated with this research.

2) The first step in any research is to review what has been done previously to determine what conclusions are valid and well supported, probably valid but requiring more support, and lacking sufficient evidence- this is called problem analysis. Since each researcher brings to the analysis their own experience and thought patterns, it is important that it be done by me as well as you. Occasionally this analysis will reveal that you already have the answer to your research question. More often, once this analysis is done, I can develop a detailed research plan, citing both research methods and resources and other recommendations. At this point, you may choose to pursue some or all of the work yourself, and/or to set a research pace for me that fits your budgetary constrain


page last updated: 19 Apr 2012
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I am willing to present on more than the topics listed here. What is listed is just what I have either already developed and given or are ideas that I am actively working on. If you would like a presentation on a different topic, please contact me. I will only say yes if I think …

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About Me

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My full name is Sarah Ann Van Deventer Kirby. Kirby is my birth surname. Genealogical Experience My genealogical interest began early and evolved naturally. I had a fortunate childhood in which both sides of my family socialized closely. I grew up knowing not only my first cousins, but my second cousins as well. As part …

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