Wife, mom, coffee addict and genealogist. Introvert and most at peace in a library doing research….or on a beach. I’m undecided about that one.
My name is Amy Leibman (maiden name Barritt) and have lived in the Omaha, NE area forever. The majority of my family migrated and stopped in Western Iowa. I love history but I’ve always been fascinated by the average person -especially women. You can thank Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House books for that. Ok, I’ll admit it, I also was addicted to the tv show.
Reading Wilder’s books sparked an awareness that life had been so much different than my own and being able to read it through the eyes of a child protagonist made it that much better. I wanted to know what life was like for people like me: not wealthy, not famous -just “normal”.
As I got older, I still had that passion for history and a want to research genealogy but I never got around to do it. Hell, I didn’t even know HOW to go about starting. Then, September 21, 1999 my dad died.
Beyond the sense of just losing him, I became more aware that I had lost EVERYTHING: his humor, his stories, and his knowledge of his family. I have a wonderful aunt (hi Marsh!) who could fill me in on details but it is not the same. There was nothing like sitting at his kitchen table listening to his stories and his gigantic open laugh.
Fortunately thanks to Al Gore and his internet that he invented (I’m joking!), genealogy information was becoming more and more accessible. Documents that you once had to travel to a library or courthouse to find were suddenly made available and I didn’t have to get dressed to look at them! Thanks, Al.
My dad’s death really was the catalyst for me to want to know more and I started to research various websites but found a lot on familysearch.org. I hit a gold mine! At first, I was Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -I just grabbed EVERYTHING.
I was so flipping excited to go back farther and farther and farther until one day I realized that something was wrong: some of the information I grabbed couldn’t possibly be correct.
Somebody lied on the internet?! Lie may be the wrong term…but they were wrong. So wrong.
I stopped and thought about my predicament and what it meant. The problem wasn’t that someone was wrong on the internet. The problem was with me and that I was greedy.
I learned my very first two lessons:
1. Don’t be a name collector
2. Trust but verify
That second one is exceptionally important and one that started to bleed into my career. For 15 years, I held some type of investigative position: I handled fraud investigation and anti-money laundering for a bank, fraud/Compliance at Paypal, Associate Investigator for a government contractor doing security clearance investigations, and a worker’s compensation adjuster (I had applied in their investigations unit but they suckered me in as an adjuster).
From each position, I learned new investigative techniques that I found myself using in genealogy. Because when it comes down to it, genealogy is finding facts, piecing together facts, developing theories, testing those theories, and digging, digging, digging. It can be frustrating and there are times when I find NOTHING at all. It makes me want to punch my computer or a book or a snooty librarian (I kid I kid!).
I started Heartland Genealogy Services because I truly have a lot of fun researching and when I walk into a library, I’m excited by the possibilities of what I might find. I really want to help people discover those who came before them. Perhaps you don’t know where to start or how. Perhaps you don’t have a lot of time. I want to help you find that and I hope that it sparks some desire for you to learn more.
Certificate in Genealogical Research Dec 2018