Genealogical Resources at the University of Idaho, Moscow

The Moscow, Idaho, University of Idaho has recently put up a three-page description of their genealogical resources. It is a great guide to items available for genealogists in both their regular and special collections.

The selection of items includes:

  • digital items on their website and others
  • local and regional materials
  • electronic databases the university has access to
  • maps and atlases
  • other groups in the area who might be able to help you

The guide also contains basic tips on how to use WorldCat, the international bibliographic database, to search the library’s catalog from a distance. A few of the resources also reference Washington State, particularly the eastern portion, of which Idaho split off from in 1863.

These tips and lists of available items, produced by a professional who knows the pastime and profession, is a great resource for those researching northern Idaho genealogy.


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

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

Re-starting look-up services

I’m planning to begin offering look-up services in Pacific Northwest area archives in the coming weeks. I’ve been a member of Genealogy Freelancers for some time and had participated in the beta several years ago. I’ll be restructuring my offerings and fees this weekend and should have them posted on those sites next week sometime.

You may see references to in some of my older posts. That site name has been taken over by a completely unrelated person and does not deal with genealogical issues. I think it was an unfortunate occurrence, but it was unavoidable under the circumstances. Seattle Book Scouts is also no longer functioning as a web site at, so those references should also be avoided.