Alaska Genealogical Resources

Here’s a link for the Alaska State Library’s genealogy resources. They even have a WorldCat link so you can search for other libraries with the same materials. Some of these materials are also available at Seattle area archives where I’m a researcher available for hire.


What Professional Genealogy Look-up Providers Do


Image via Wikipedia

Genealogists search records to find family ancestors, descendants, and other related people. Genealogists consult with others about their findings, instruct others about their pastime and profession, and publicize their findings. How do we do that? By helping each other look up records.

All genealogists are look-up providers to one degree or another. Some of us do lookups as society volunteers or on websites like Some of us do it as professionals. Some genealogists go as far as being credentialed as expert researchers, so other researchers have a better source to cite. Me? I’m just a professional look-up provider. I specialize in the Pacific Northwest states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

One of the ways I do lookups as a volunteer is posting to a GeneaBloggers theme, “Sunday’s Obituary.” Some of these posts come from materials I use personally, and some are extraneous to professional findings. I also post materials that might help another genealogist. All of the posts are meant to help others accurately trace their ancestry, family trees, and other persons.

Like many occupations, a genealogy look-up provider is a specialized job. Some people call us record searchers. We accept calls for specific documents or records and return the results of our efforts. When someone contacts us on or, for instance, we are ready to provide insight into the research issue. If we feel good about taking on a project with reasonable certainty of success, we bid on it. If we feel that there is little certainty of success or the project is beyond the ken of our services, we pass on it.

The lookup services I provide on GenLighten are straightforward record pulls from several archives and repositories. The site also allows researchers to make specialized requests to all researchers for an area. We, the area’s researchers, can respond and bid on the request or simply provide information that will help the requester make a decision on how to proceed with their project.

GenealogyFreelancers is less structured, as it is geared toward full-fledged genealogy projects. GenLighten users focus on specific records and GenealogyFreelancers users focus on projects with a wider scope, such as searching for entire families. The site also provides for international research projects, as it has a global focus. There is some overlap between the two, but that is unavoidable; you can post a project on either site.

The costs of using a genealogy look-up provider are generally less than those of using a full-fledged professional genealogist. The primary reason is that a professional genealogist has a higher cost of doing business while a look-up provider focuses only on the act of retrieving the record.

My rates on GenLighten are a bit above average due to costs that need to be accounted for; it is a business, after all. A professional genealogist generally has a higher standard for project acceptance as well as a minimum hourly working scale. They may require say, two hours to review all of the project’s documentation before deciding whether and when to proceed with a project. Genealogy look-up providers don’t need to analyze a researcher’s entire project before pulling a record.

Working as a professional look-up provider has its benefits and drawbacks. The benefits are that you are providing a service that helps others, you learn something new for yourself, and you receive income from it. As a professional, you need to account for your actions in a responsible manner. If you follow the rules of the site you are working through and follow recognized standards for genealogy professionals, then you will likely gain legitimacy and reputation in the genealogy pastime and flourish.

Check out both GenLighten and GenealogyFreelancers and see if there are projects you’d like to work with. If not, you can always work with a genealogical society as a member volunteer, pulling records from their collections. The benefits of doing lookups there are also pretty good.

Happy Friday.


© 2012 N. P. Maling — Sea Genes – Family History & Genealogy Research

Series Introduction: 1940 Obituaries

Over the next three months, I plan to post obituaries from the Pacific Northwest states. These posts will ostensibly be part of the Geneabloggers “Sunday’s Obituary” prompt. The overall theme, though, is that they all come from Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, and the months of January, February, and March in 1940.

Washington and Oregon have the best coverage of the four states that I focus on, so I’ve decided to focus on these two. Instead of my current location, Seattle, Spokane’s Spokesman-Review will provide the post content. Oregon’s Oregonian, out of Portland, will provide obituaries from there.

One interesting thing is that the two Alaska newspapers I’ve looked at for source materials, from Anchorage and Fairbanks, have no obituaries in them. My tentative workaround for this issue is to find articles about deaths through accident, murder, or other event, including of course, old age.

For Idaho, the University of Washington’s Suzzallo & Allen Library’s Microfilm and News department doesn’t have anything for the right time period. The closest interesting newspaper microfilm from that place and time period is at the Washington State University library in Pullman. Thus, Idaho will not be covered in the series, even though it is a Pacific Northwest state.

It will be an interesting series to read and I’m having fun putting it together. Enjoy.


© 2012 N. P. Maling

Alaskans Tackle the 1940 Census

Photograph of monument to first settl...

Whilst looking for items for a forthcoming series, I came across this article in the Fairbanks newspaper. It details a number of interesting points about the then-upcoming 1940 United States Census. What is interesting is that the two enumerators discussed had a long lead time to get to their enumeration districts and a very long route to travel.

The following is an extract, but I’d be happy to email a digital copy of the full article to anyone who wants one.

Alba To Go 2,500 Miles for Census

Goddard to Travel 1,750 and Both Routes Believed To Be Longest in Nation

What is believed to be the longest route under the American Flag for a census enumeration will be traversed by Frank Alba, pioneer Alaskan, who has been named as enumerator for five adjoining districts in Interior Alaska. He will cover a distance of 2,500 miles using a dog team and sled, and having the help of a driver.

Mr. Alba will start on his work this week and finish it by next April. He will fly from this city to Nulato within a few days. There he will be starting his census enumeration.

Goddard in Lower Kuskokwim

Leaving Fairbanks on the same plane that will take Mr. Alba to Nulato will be William F. Goddard, who will go to Bethel on the Kuskokwim. He is enumerator for three districts in the Lower Kuskokwim country, including Goodnews Bay. He will cover a route of not fewer than 1,750 miles, and will do his traveling with a dog team.

Mr. Goddard’s route probably is the second longest route in the work of census enumeration.

Both Mr. Alba and Mr. Goddard have their homes in this city.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Fairbanks, Alaska Territory, 6 November 1939, page 4, columns 1–2.