The making of a genealogist
In 2009, four months after my wedding, I was laid off from the only job I’d had since graduating from University of Toronto. I decided I didn’t want to work as a school administrator anymore; I wanted to do something more in line with my interests. I had received an Hon. BA in English Literature, but felt that I needed some more career-focused education so I enrolled in Seneca College’s Library and Information Technician Program. However, I’d just missed the start date for that year’s program, so I needed something to keep me busy while I waited for the next one to come around. I wrote a (now out of print) book on Canadian culinary history and catalogued my home library of 1,500+ books. Then my grandmother asked if I could look into something for the family history research she was doing. The more things I verified and the more new things I found, I could see my ancestors’ stories come together like an image on a tapestry. I was hooked and there was no looking back.
In 2010 my book, From Pemmican to Poutine: A Journey Through Canada’s Culinary History, came in fourth place in the Culinary History category at the Gourmand International Cookbook Awards in Paris, and first place in the Best Culinary Book category at the Cordon D’Or International Culinary Awards, as well as the Gold Ribbon prize for best overall.
I completed the Library and Information Technician program at Seneca and realized that a lot of the research skills I had acquired would be as useful in genealogy as they are in libraries. This is when I realized that I could hang our my shingle as a genealogist. Now, I get to do what I’m passionate about and help other people get the same sense of discovery and fulfillment that I experienced from learning about by family history. I am constantly taking courses and seminars to upgrade my skills and credentials so that I can provide high quality, accurate research for my clients: including at the National Institute of Genealogical Studies, through the Ontario Genealogical Society, and at conferences such as OGS Conference, and RootsTech in Salt Lake City where I volunteer as a research coach with Trace.com.