Claudia Breland

Expert Author

Claudia Breland began doing genealogical research over 35 years ago, when she inherited the family papers from her paternal grandfather. During college at Florida State University she made several research trips to interview elderly relatives and obtain records from county courthouses in Michigan. She went on to obtain a Masters in Library Science and has worked at the Seattle Public Library, the King County Library System and the Pierce County Library System. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors, and is secretary for the Puget Sound chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She has written for the APG quarterly and her local newspaper, and has done classes and presentations for the King County Library System and the Heritage Quest Research Library, as well as teaching classes in library research for two local community colleges.

Claudia does research at the National Archives (Seattle branch), the King County Archives, Puget Sound Regional Archives, the Washington State Library, Washington State Archives, the Tacoma Public Library, and smaller local historical societies. She has attended two sessions of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and will be submitting her portfolio for certification within the year.

Claudia's main expertise is ferreting out records online, and locating the vast majority of records that are not online. She has worked with clients in compiling applications for the Daughters of the American Revolution, in corroborating family stories, and in connecting with other family members. Her focus tends to be toward mid-19th century Midwest states such as Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, although she has done research in every region of the US and abroad.

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Favorite Genealogy Quote

"The past is another country. They do things differently there." ~ L.P. Hartley

What are your specific genealogical interests?

My main interests are in the Midwestern United States and historical newspapers, which can flesh out the details of names, dates and places.

What got you into genealogy?

When my paternal grandfather died, all his family papers came to me. I was immediately hooked by the stories of people who'd lived more than a hundred years ago, and wanted to find out more.

Most surprising genealogical find:

I was doing research for a client, and found her great great grandmother had died of consumption several weeks after giving birth to triplets. Sadly, all the babies died, too, and the newspaper articles I found online detail the family's descent from joy into grief.

If you could find the family history of any historical great, who would it be and why?

To my mind, the historical "greats" are the common people, who pushed westward in search of new land and a better life for their children. Their stories are the ones I love to find - and every one of them has a story to tell.

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