Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana

Expert Author

Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana is a Consulting Archivist, Genealogist, and writer. A trip to the Louvre Museum in Paris changed the direction of her life and lead her to the University of Illinois at Chicago where she earned a BA in Art History with a Certificate in Museum Studies. Since 2006, she has worked as a Consulting Archivist in a wide variety of Archives from Shure, Inc. to the Union League Club of Chicago. It was there that Laura's interest in genealogy was resurrected as she assisted researchers in their efforts to locate information about their relatives in the ULCC's collection.

Laura renewed her own genealogical research, begun in 1996, and started her blog, The Last Leaf on This Branch. Laura's passion for archives and genealogy have now combined and, through her business From Roots to Leaves, she provides the services and education required to efficiently and accurately uncover, document, and preserve family histories to maintain their place in our cultural heritage. She is also a speaker, available for workshops and presentations to groups both small and large.

Laura is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Society of American Archivists, National Genealogical Society, Association of Professional Genealogists, and National Trust for Historic Preservation and a number of state and local genealogical societies. Laura enjoys a wide array of other interests including paleography, languages, travel, great food, a wonderful cup of coffee, and stimulating conversation.

Favorite Genealogy Quote

"I may be the end, but I hope what I leave behind will be someone else's beginning." - Me

What Are Your Specific Genealogical Interests?

My passion is for the collection, organization and preservation of genealogical material. Too often we underestimate our own collections and the value that they hold to those who come after us. The saddest thing to hear is that family members have thrown away the "junk" that relatives collected, knowing full well that "junk" may have held clues to their family's history. Organization and estate planning are essential and critical tools to ensure the work we do lives on.

What Got You Into Genealogy?

I grew up with a strong sense of family, especially with my Mom's family. I heard lots of stories, and when I was in my teens I loved going through the old pictures that my mom had. After my Granny passed away in 1990 (she was 97), my Mom mentioned that she'd like to find out if the family stories of our line coming from William Penn and also being eligible for the Daughters of the American Revolution were true. A few years later I took up the search in earnest and I've been searching ever since.

Most Surprising Genealogical Find:

My most surprising genealogical find? This is a very tough one because neither of my parents knew very much about their parents, their parent's siblings, or any of their ancestors, so there've been a number of "Aha!" and "Uh oh!" moments. I think the thing that I'm most curious about is my family's connection to South America and specifically Brazil during the first half of the 19th century. There are far more questions than answers and an uncertainty about the manner in which the answers can be found.

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

I'm a lover of ordinary people. I believe their life stories are far more interesting than any historical "great."

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