Lisa Lee

Expert Author

A professional genealogist, Lisa B. Lee is the owner of GotGenealogy.com, where she publishes a monthly newsletter, the Got Genealogy Gazette, which provides timely and useful information to help genealogists make the most of their online genealogical searches. Ms. Lee is a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (University of Toronto), where she obtained her PLCGS (Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies) with certificates in U.S., Canadian and Irish genealogy and methodology. Since the inception of ExpertConnect by Ancestry.com in 2009, Ms. Lee has been an Expert, and conducts professional research for clients all over the world, on Ancestry.com's behalf. In addition to the Got Genealogy Gazette, dozens of her articles have been published in numerous genealogical journals and newsletters in North America.

Ms. Lee speaks and conducts workshops at genealogical societies and conferences in the U.S. and Canada where her animated style, infinite knowledge of everything internet, wit and humor ensure that attendees will not only learn a lot but will have fun doing so. She invites you to join her on FaceBook: www.facebook.com/got.genealogy?

Favorite Genealogy Quote

"Speling Dusn't Cownt," which is my very first Golden Rule of Genealogy. There are nine other rules, but this is my favorite and helps clarify how important it is to ignore spelling in genealogy and focus in on how names sound. All ten Golden Rules are available for download at GotGenealogy.com.

What are your specific genealogical interests?

Canadian research, blacks in Canada, U.S. and Irish research, finding as much as I possibly can online, so that when I do get to the archive, museum, library or county courthouse, I can concentrate on finding those documents I can only get in person.

What got you into genealogy?

1970, 9th grade, 14 years old, Alex Haley visited my high school (Highland Park, MI) and lectured about he he'd traced his family all the way back to the specific tribe in Gambia, West Africa. I sat there, dumb struck, hearing his saga which, prior to that time, I'd thought was impossible. He'd actually traced his family back through slavery all the way to Africa. 1970 was in the midst of the black power movement, so my search for self was intense. From that day, I started interviewing my oldest relatives and tracing my roots.

Most surprising genealogical find:

My father has always told us that we're a direct descendant of Pocahontas, via John Randolph, the former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and a famously unmarried member of the Virginia Randolph family. Per oral history, John Randolph had a child (my great great grandmother, Martha Randolph), with one of his inside slaves. In a visit to the Virginia Historical Society, in Richmond, several years ago, I discovered a letter from John Randolph, in which he stated, "I write with a blotting pen upon greasy paper, unclean all offensive in the eye of God -- because I am under the powerful influence of the Prince of Darkness who tempts me with a beautiful mulatress (mulatto girl and a bottle of ice Champaigne) Champagne." From this letter, it's apparent that John Randolph was not unused to cavorting with his female slaves and the story of Martha's roots gains greater credibility.

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

Buck O'Neil — John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil was a first baseman and manager in the old Negro Leagues baseball. Prior to his death, in 2006, I partially researched his family's history on behalf of my brother, who was a friend of Buck's. Buck had insisted that his grandfather was African, but my research proved otherwise. I'd like to finish that line to find out who truly was the last African in that line and how that story came to be passed down that way.

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