Sylvia Murray, AG, who became accredited in the Midwest States in 1988 and the Great Plains States in 2012, has always been fascinated by family history and memories. She spent all her spare time learning about the craft, including the locations of records and resources in her areas of expertise®®®. She felt that taking the accreditation tests would tell her if she was on the right track as a teacher and researcher. It would also show her any areas of weakness to work on..
Challenging and Unique Aspects of Midwestern and Great Plains Genealogy
Sylvia feels that each of her two areas of accreditation has its own unique research challenges. She loves the Great Plains states and is fascinated with the Native Americans, which requires intense research and education. These records can be sparse and hard to find. Many are specific to each Nation or Tribe.
Midwest states allow a researcher to specialize in different ethnic and pioneer groups. She feels that the growth of this region resulted in a constant flux of records types. Each family story is one of survival and adaptation.
Advice for Others Pursuing Accreditation
Sylvia advises those who are interested in pursuing accreditation to decide on an area that they enjoy working in, where they have the most knowledge and expertise in using the records. She encourages them to visit the repositories and courthouses in person to get a hands-on feel for the areas. They should look at how the area would affect record keeping, be methodical in all notes and record keeping, and record great citations.
Some of Sylvia’s goals are to continually refine her knowledge and learn new resources as they become available—not just in her areas of accreditation but also in the field as a whole. She strives to stay current with advancements on the Internet in available records. She takes notes of any repositories changing or closing and on how this will affect her research. Her main goal is to be constantly learning and utilizing what she has learned.
Current and Future Research Projects
Sylvia loves to take on “dead end” lines and try to help the client break down the wall. Helping individuals locate and prove a Native American line will always be her favorite project as each one is so different.
She works constantly with youth in school, church, or Scouts to try to engender a love of the past and locating who makes up their gene pool. She hopes that they will pursue this for the rest of their lives. She loves to see the look of excitement and joy as they discover who they are.
Sylvia’s website is www.geniebug.com
Sylvia has been a Director of a Family History Center since 1982. She has served as a Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor for Genealogy for over 30 years. In addition, she has been teaching community genealogy classes since 1980. She has been told that she holds her audience’s interest because she is a storyteller. She is a sought after speaker on requested genealogy subjects and has been for the past 36 years. She loves every aspect of genealogy and loves to teach and help wherever requested.