Ruth Lang

Expert Author

Ruth Lang is a Board-certified Genealogist and owner of Lang Historical Research, based in Fresno, California. She specializes in Central California genealogical and historical research for clients. She worked with the Fresno Historical Society for nearly eleven years as an archive assistant and genealogical researcher. She has presented workshops and lectures for historical societies, libraries and organizations.

Ruth is a graduate of National Genealogical Society's American Genealogy course, the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research, and the National Institute of Genealogical Research held in Washington, D.C. Ruth is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the National Genealogical Society and is past 1st Vice-President of the Fresno Genealogical Society. She has served on APG's Professional Issues Committee.

Favorite Genealogy Quote

"Not to know what happened before we were born is to remain perpetually a child. For what is the worth of a human life unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?" -Cicero

What are your specific genealogical interests?

California Research, Gold Rush, Native American, Probate Research, Emigration and Immigration, Naturalization, Migration Routes and House Histories

What got you into genealogy?

I grew up in Minnesota and as a child I enjoyed reading the "Little House" books by Midwest native Laura Ingalls Wilder. In my teens, I read a well-written biography of Wilder. The author described how he had conducted research in courthouses, archives and libraries and found historical information on Wilder in census records, deeds, family records, newspaper articles, etc. The biography was so fascinating to read, and I realized my great-grandmother lived a similar pioneer life in the Midwest during the same time as Wilder did. I didn't begin my family history research until I was an adult, but the urge to do genealogy research started then.

Most surprising genealogical find:

When I worked for the Fresno Historical Society, I took an interest in an 1848 California overland trip journal stored in the archives. Only the name of the author was known. I discovered through subsequent research where he settled in California, the name of his wife and children, the family's Eastern origins, his untimely death and his daughter's marriage to a survivor of the Donner Party. It was very satisfying to bring his story to life so many years after the journal was written.

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

I can't think right now of a historical great who hasn't had his or her background traced! I am intrigued by the lives and social history of ordinary people. Their stories are still waiting to be discovered.

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