Dave brings fifteen years of experience in genealogy research and writing experience. He is a colorful writer, researcher and lecturer on several topics in genealogy. Founder and developer of Geneosity.com, he has developed a considerable collection of genealogy forms, research sources and discussion points on various aspects of genealogy. Dave specializes in online research methods, Irish genealogy and possesses a broad knowledge in many, other areas of genealogical research.
He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, and the Champaign County Genealogical Society (Illinois). He is a frequent contributor and volunteers to numerous genealogy websites, groups and field projects. Dave is also active in delivering presentations and lecturing on various topics in the auditorium and on the web.
Favorite Genealogy Quote
What are your specific genealogical interests?
My highest specialization areas are online genealogy, old document and photo analysis, Irish genealogy, U.S. census and vital records, as well as Chicago and downstate Illinois history and genealogy.
What I enjoy most about genealogical research is the discovery of information found by reading between the lines. Putting together pieces from numerous sources and being able to reconstruct parts of people�s lives long forgotten is the highest reward.
What got you into genealogy?
I�ve had the longing to know more about my grandparents and their families from a young age. My mother�s parents passed away when my mother was very young, and my father�s parents both lost before I was five years old. As with most families there were numerous stories passed down but I desired to know more about them, their parents, and the type of lives they lived.
Two of my aunts began doing research about fifteen years ago and I volunteered to help as much as I could. As the Internet was becoming the incredible resource that it is today, I worked countless hours online to pursue details that writing letters and making phone calls had struggled to locate. Year after year more became available, and with brand new materials coming out periodically I knew the next break through was just around the corner.
I�ve since dedicated considerable time and investment in building a greater skill for conducting effective research online, at libraries and by traveling to the locality of interest. I�ve traveled to numerous places, the most interesting and exciting to date was traveling across Ireland to visit the home where my grandmother was born and raised with thirteen other children.
Most surprising genealogical find:
One of the most difficult challenges I�ve faced was in my own Haas family line three generations ago. One particular couple born in the 1820s came to America and lived in many places before settling in Chicago. Locating their origin and time of departure from Germany was the single most difficult project I have worked on. Now I know that the very most likely cause of this challenge was because they were among a small population of people forcefully emigrated out of Germany in 1850 by their neighbors.
The poor communities of Rineck and Muckental were ridden with poverty and desperation to the point of residents stealing and begging in neighboring communities. Neighboring towns paid for the forced emigration of the residents of these towns to America, aboard three ships in extreme poverty and despair. Lack of record for my second great grandparents� specific origin may well have been withheld by to prevent embarrassment and the resentment among other German families based on the circumstances that brought them to America.
If you could find the family history of any historical great, who would it be and why?
Jehan Volay of France of the 1600s. Believed by many to be one of the originators of the playing card deck featuring whimsical images of royals and court figures. Card images depicting kings, queens and others were hand painted by this artist, many specifically for royal families themselves. Aspects of his design continue to appear in card decks today.
A single generation of family information creates the gap in connecting my own family with his. My ancestors lived in the same region and village Jehan Volay was from and during the same period in time. My great uncle Peter Volay who I admired dearly if connected would be a relative. Peter Volay was a notable artist in his own right. His work once appeared in the White House during the Clinton Administration and a long time contributor at the Art Institute of Chicago. Making this connection would have been a real honor to my Uncle Pete.
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