Michael Hait, CG(sm), is a full-time professional genealogist, with over fifteen years of research experience across the United States. His specialties include Maryland research, African American genealogy, and records of the Civil War and Reconstruction era. Michael is a frequent contributor to genealogy magazines and journals, and a popular lecturer in the Mid-Atlantic area. For more information on Michael's available services, visit http://www.haitfamilyresearch.com.
"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots." - Marcus Garvey
What are your specific genealogical interests?
In my professional research I do a lot of work in Maryland, where I grew up. I also spend a lot of time researching African American families, especially enslaved families. In my personal research, my own ancestry comes from New York, Connecticut, Virginia, and North Carolina, while my wife's is from Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Dakota.
What got you into genealogy?
When I was young I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, and she introduced me to genealogy through a pedigree chart and family group sheets her sister had put together when she converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She continued to foster this interest over the years, until her death in 2002.
Most surprising genealogical find
One of my favorite genealogical finds in my own family was the wealth of articles on the family published in a Primitive Baptist newspaper in New York. In addition to numerous obituaries, there were also several letters written by my ancestor, Elder Henry Hait, who was a Baptist minister, including an autobiographical account of his life and conversion that ran several newspaper pages! This account helped me unravel a number of mysteries in his life.
If you could find the family history of any historical great, who would it be and why?
The blues singer Robert Johnson. The liner notes of his greatest hits album indicate that his origins are unclear, due to his common name and his southern roots. This challenge especially fits some of my research strengths, as well as my musical tastes.