Mike Henry

Expert Author

Mike W. Henry (MA-Ed) has been conducting genealogical research for more than 30 years, getting his start as a teenager when his great-great aunt, the family historian, came to live with him. His fondest memory as a child was when he and his father exhumed fragments of their ancestor�s tombstone from a drainage ditch next to an old, abandoned family cemetery. After researching his own lineage for 20 years, Mike began helping others connect to long-lost relatives and trace their lineage. The myth he most likes to disprove is the one that begins with �You�ll never be able to trace my family tree because��

Today, Mike specializes in finding solutions for dead ends and creating biographies that even little children will love. An outside-of-the-box kind of person, he roots out data in outside-of-the-box ways � yet always maintains a scholarly approach. A minister in the performing arts and a community action worker for 28 years, he has a special heart for the social and spiritual impact of a person�s heritage and insight into what made ancestors do the things they did. A certified teacher in Communication Arts and Social Studies, he knows history and culture well and how to design fascinating materials for school-age children. He uses the knowledge gained from his professional experience to profile ancestors and reconstruct readable family stories. He is the author of several history books and family tree activity books for children.

Favorite Genealogy Quote

�If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance� � George Bernard Shaw.

What are your specific genealogical interests?

I enjoy all US research and any research that requires an understanding of history and culture. The majority of my experience has been in US Midwest research.

What got you into genealogy?

In 1980, my parents and I visited an old, abandoned cemetery that had been inventoried a few times over the past 100 years. After assessing the damage caused by vandals and a herd of cows that used the cemetery for shade from the heat, we wondered if some stones may have been thrown by vandals into the nearby drainage ditch. On a subsequent visit, we brought waders and a pitchfork. After several hours of careful prodding, we located several gravestone fragments and one complete marble stone � none of which had ever been recorded on any other inventory. Some of the fragments came from my gr-gr-gr-grandfather�s headstone.

Most surprising genealogical find:

In 1980, my parents and I visited an old, abandoned cemetery that had been inventoried a few times over the past 100 years. After assessing the damage caused by vandals and a herd of cows that used the cemetery for shade from the heat, we wondered if some stones may have been thrown by vandals into the nearby drainage ditch. On a subsequent visit, we brought waders and a pitchfork. After several hours of careful prodding, we located several gravestone fragments and one complete marble stone � none of which had ever been recorded on any other inventory. Some of the fragments came from my gr-gr-gr-grandfather�s headstone.

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

Historical �greats� do not intrigue me; I prefer to find family histories of average people because average people are just as much a part of our nation�s heritage as those who, through fortune, fame, and entitlement, have been privileged to be immortalized in history books. I would prefer to find the lost family histories of African Americans or Native Americans than all the �greats� in American history.

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