Jennifer Holik is a professional genealogist, lecturer, and author with over 20 years of research and writing experience. She has a Bachelor's degree in History and believes history must be incorporated into genealogical research to fully understand the lives of our ancestors. Jennifer lives in the suburbs of Chicago and specializes in Chicago genealogy, writing, and youth education. She enjoys a good mystery and the thrill of tracing the history of old homes.
Jennifer is the author of To Soar with the Tigers, a book about Flying Tiger Robert Brouk. In 2012 she wrote and published a set of kids' genealogy curriculum books as well as one for adults and societies. The Branching Out series is available through Amazon in paperback and also digitally on the Kindle and Nook. She authors two blogs, the Generations Blog where she writes about her work and books, and Chicago Family History where she writes about her Chicago ancestors. In addition to blogging, she has written for local Chicago area genealogical society publications, the National Genealogical Society Magazine, the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, and Reach Out, a youth publication for the Federation of Genealogical Societies.
Favorite Genealogy Quote
"Genealogy and history (religious, economic, social, and political) cannot be separated. Men cannot be dissociated from the times and places in which they lived and still be understood. It is impossible to recognize the full extent of research possibilities if you are not aware of the historical background from which your ancestors came." Written by Val D. Greenwood in The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy 2nd Edition.
What are your specific genealogical interests?
I enjoy reading and understanding the history of an area, particularly Chicago. My professional research focuses are typically Cook County and DuPage County genealogy, although I have also worked in Indiana and Missouri. I also research the history of homes helping people in DuPage County gain historic recognition for their old home. I lecture on using Excel, OneNote, Maps and Blogging to visualize your genealogical data in a new way to locate gaps and more research forward.
What got you into genealogy?
I completed a family history project in a history course when I was finishing my Bachelors in History. So many interesting people and questions emerged from that initial project that I just could not walk away from the research.
Most surprising genealogical find
It was not what I found but who found me! I was found by the widow of Robert Brouk, a cousin who was a Flying Tiger in China between 1941-1942. Robert married Virginia Scharer late November 1942 after returning home from China and was killed in an Army Air Corp training accident three weeks later. No one in the family knew what became of Virginia. Her grandson saw a post I made on a Flying Tiger message board in 2005 and told Virginia. She then emailed me. Thanks to her support, encouragement, love and willingness to share information, I wrote Robert's story, To Soar with the Tigers, and published it in January 2011.
If you could find the family history of any historical great, who would it be and why?
Right now there isn't a historical great I would like to find. My family provides enough mystery and entertainment to keep me interested. There are so many stories or pieces of information passed down that need to be investigated before I would consider looking at historical figures.