We love our sponsors and one sponsor we want to introduce you to is Barry Kline of Trippin' Over Roots. Jean took some time to interview him and this is what we learned about his genealogy journey.
Jean: Barry,your business is called “Trippin’ Over Roots.” I know a lot of our readers have problems with their research and probably trip over a lot of roots before finding the right family. Is that where you name came from, or is there a story behind it?
Barry: When starting a business, finding a unique name is always a challenge. I wanted a name that was memorable and one that reflected a bit of my personality. I have been researching my family’s history since being assigned a family history project in high school. One of the first things I learned is that researching an ancestor is almost never as easy as you think. There are always twists and turns, problems to solve and the need to untangle truth from fiction. Trippin’ Over Roots reflects the challenge we have when researching family history. Our ancestors quite often trip us up, but we get back up and continue to untangle their stories.
Jean: So, you went to SLIG in January 2015 and took the Advanced DNA class. You have a lot of courage. What are some of the most important things you took away from that experience?
Barry: There are some great opportunities to learn about using DNA in your genealogy research. I took the beginning class at GRIP in Pittsburgh, the Advanced DNA at SLIG and the DNA and Adoption course at the Forensic Institute in 2015. I first heard CeCe Moore speak about DNA and genealogy at the APG Professional Management Conference in 2014. I knew after that lecture I wanted to pursue DNA as a specialty in my business. Taking these courses have been a challenge but they are so worth it. One of the most important things to remember when integrating DNA with genealogy is that DNA is just another item in your toolbox. DNA will not automatically fill out your family tree but it can help confirm your traditional research or give it support where the paper records are not available.
Jean: You live in the DC area and are able to help people with their research in that vicinity. Tell the readers what repositories are available, how you can help folks find their ancestors there, and how much advance notice you need to do a lookup.
Barry: The DC area has a wealth of repositories for genealogical research. I can either perform the research needed to answer your questions or I can assist your research by retrieving documents, like a Civil War Pension file from the National Archives, much faster than having to order them directly. A few of the repositories I frequent are the National Archives in Washington and College Park, MD, the Library of Congress, the Daughters of the American Revolution Library, the Library of Virginia in Richmond as well as courthouse houses and other smaller local repositories in the D.C. area. One of the areas that I love to research is the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The Valley runs from Morgan and Berkeley Counties in West Virginia south to Augusta County in Virginia. Other counties that are included in that area are Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Shenandoah, Page and Rockingham Counties in Virginia and Hampshire and Hardy Counties in West Virginia.
Depending on current projects, turnaround time can vary although it is generally pretty quick. For pulls and lookups, unless they are urgent, I usually hold them till I have other work at a particular repository which helps cut down on various costs, like travel expenses if applicable.
Jean: You have been doing your own research for some time, I imagine. Can you tell us a family story from your own ancestry? Why is it one you remember (what meaning does it hold for you)?
Barry: I have been researching my own family’s history since I was in high school and was assigned a project to create a family tree. To complete the project, I turned to my grandmothers. They provided me a wealth of information I used not only for the project, but to kick start my interest in genealogy.
Like everyone, there are many stories that I have heard am still researching to either prove or disprove. One that was combined with a particularly memorable experience is that of Kline’s Mill in Stephens City, Virginia. Early in my research, my paternal grandmother had told me about a mill near Winchester that was supposedly built by one of my ancestors on my grandfather’s side of family. We found the location of the mill and I was able to take her to visit the site a couple of years before she passed away in 2000. The mill was still standing along with the original house and we were able to walk the grounds. It was a connection to my ancestors, to walk, with my grandmother, where they walked and to see where they lived and worked. I have continued to research the mill over the last several years and have learned a great deal. The original mill was built by my fifth great grandfather Johannes Jacob Klein as a flax-seed mill sometimes after he moved his family to Frederick County, Virginia from Pennsylvania in 1764. In 1794, he and his son Anthony expanded and converted the mill to produce flour. The mill actually continued to operate till the 1950’s as a sawmill. The foundation of the building is still strong and the legacy that Johannes Jacob Klein left is as well. It left a huge impression on me to be able to stand there with my grandmother and know that the success of this mill, over 200 years ago, was one of the reasons I am here today. We are here today because of the triumphs, hardships, risks and perseverance of our ancestors. I do the work I do to honor them.
Jean: When people hire a genealogist, they often have no idea what to expect in time expenditure, fees, results, etc. What do you tell a new client to expect from you and your services that maybe sets you apart from others?
Barry: When beginning work with a new client, I like to remind them that research is a process. Especially if they have not done any research on their own. At the beginning there might be lots of discoveries. But as the research progresses, or if there has been lots of research done prior, then progress may be slower. Managing the client’s expectations as well as being mindful of their budget is part of my job. Client research, just like my own family’s research, is very personal. I go on new journey with each client and each is just as important as the next.
Genealogical research is very rewarding. Even though I do enjoy researching for my clients, I have come to find that I enjoy researching with them even more. I have had a growing number of clients that want to do the research themselves. Many have been true beginners. We sit down either in person or via a video chat and create a plan for their research. They do what they can, if they need information in my area I retrieve it for them, or I help them find a researcher in other locations. It is extremely rewarding seeing, or reading in an email, the excitement when they have made a new discovery!
Jean: Any other words of wisdom?
Jean: Thank Barry for being a sponsor of the Gena and Jean Genealogy Cruise!
-Jean Wilcox Hibben