What's in a Name?: Sitting Down with Lisa from Roam Your Roots
Those of you familiar with us at Flea Market Love Letters H.Q. will know already that we are all about community. In this interview we sit down with Lisa Buckner as she dishes out the answers to questions about family ancestry, where to get started and how she came to be a real life History Detective.
Lisa Buckner first started flexing her genealogical skills with the fantastic found photography reunion project The Forgotten Faces Project which sought to reunite family members with lost photographs. Since then she's gone on to build out her own genealogical research service Roam Your Roots. Read on for a taste of her work.
Question: How did the idea for Roam Your Roots come about? Where does your interest in genealogy come from?
Lisa: "My two biggest passions are genealogy and travel. I've been doing genealogy for years - before me it was my dad, and before my dad it was my grandpa, so it runs in the family! Recently with AncestryDNA and 23andMe, all of a sudden everyone is interested in their family history and knowing where they "came from". So I thought it was a perfect time to launch a new genealogy venture, not just teaching people how to research their family history but focusing specifically on the geography of it all. I want to empower people to experience their ancestry through travel - not just knowing the country or the region where their ancestors came from but teaching people how to find specific addresses and locations so they can see these special places for themselves!"
Q.: Can you tell us a bit about your other project, The Forgotten Faces Project?
L.: "The Forgotten Faces Project was my first blog - unfortunately it's been pushed to the sidelines a bit while I focus on building up Roam Your Roots (sorry if you're a follower on Instagram and have been waiting patiently for new content!) but it's still a project near and dear to my heart. I constantly come across piles of old photos collecting dust at antique stores and I know that genealogists are always looking for photos of their ancestors. So what's a genealogist to do but buy them and try to return them to their families? I focus on buying photos that are labeled with names and I do a bit of genealogy research to tell the story of the person photographed and also to find any living descendants."
Q.: While the Flea Market Love Letters project deals with similar areas to The Forgotten Faces Project, we've always found genealogy a bit daunting. How do you recommend someone go about starting to research their family history?
L.: "Genealogy is really consisted of two parts: researching records, and collecting family stories. Talking to your family first - especially if your grandparents are still living - is so important. Not only will their memories bring the details you find in records to life, but they'll also save you a lot of research time. Ask about names, dates, and places. If your grandparents are still living, ask them who their grandparents were, where they lived, what they were like. When you're ready to start finding records, I would recommend starting with death certificates because they'll typically give parents' names. For example, if you don't know who your grandparent's parents were and your grandparent has since passed, find their death certificate, which should give their parents' names, and then find the family living together in the 1940 census (the latest census to be released). You'll then be able to work backwards."
Q.: How much does someone have to know about their family history to get started on their genealogy?
L.: "Just your parents names! Well, knowing your grandparents names helps too, but really anyone can get started with research just knowing their parents names and some other basic information like where or when their parents were born. If you're an adoptee searching for your biological family, the process is a bit different. Typically in these cases it is recommended to take a DNA test."
Q.: Can you walk us through a client on-boarding experience at Roam Your Roots?
L.: "I have a few different services that I offer, from genealogy research packages with customized heritage tour itineraries to helping clients obtain dual citizenship. If you have a genealogy question or are interested in services, send me an email and we'll walk through it together!"
Q.: From your work on YouTube it's clear you love what you do! Do you have a favorite moment from your travels and research?
L.: "My grandmother's family settled in Wisconsin in the mid 1800s when they first arrived from Ireland. This side of my family was so special to me - I grew up with my grandmother and she had so many family stories, photos, and heirlooms. I had researched this family for years and finally had the chance to go to Black River Falls, WI to see where they had settled. I tracked down the farmland they had once owned and visited a beautiful little church overlooking the rolling hills of western Wisconsin where my grandmother's great-grandparents are buried. I had seen so many photos of this place and their grave and I was finally there, sitting next to it, in what I can only describe as one of the most serene American landscapes I had ever seen. Therein lies the beauty of genealogy: it takes you to places you would never otherwise go and connects you to your own history in a way that nothing else can."
Q.: With COVID-19 affecting travel around the world how do you suggest someone adapt their research while using helpful services like yours at Roam Your Roots?
L.: "Don't underestimate the beauty of domestic travel! If you live driving-distance from where your ancestors once lived, make a road trip out of that. Visit their graves, or the homes they once owned, or the church they attended. You'll be sure to find hidden gems anywhere you go."
How can I get in touch with you to learn more?
Send me an email! firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also subscribe to the newsletter by visiting roamyourroots.com. And be sure to keep in touch on social media! Roam Your Roots is on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest.