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Professional Genealogists

The reference staff of the Midwest Genealogy Center cannot do extensive genealogical research for patrons. If you are unable to visit the Library in person, or if you need searches in other records, you may wish to employ someone to do research for you.

The following researchers have expressed a willingness to conduct research for hire and have asked to be placed on this list. It should be clearly understood that the list is provided as a service for your convenience and does not constitute an endorsement by the Library.

If mailing, we suggest you enclose a legal-size self-addressed, stamped envelope with your initial inquiry. The Friends of the Missouri State Archives, PO Box 242, Jefferson City MO 65102 also provides a list of researchers.

Brian H. Schneden, Schneden Associates LLC

Specialties: Germanic genealogy  
625 E. Acorn St.                 
Gardner, KS  66030      
913.660.0656 / 202.239.5401

Brian has over 30 years of experience in multiple areas of research and geographical areas. He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the National Genealogical Society; a charter/founding member of the American Schleswig-Holstein Heritage Society; and the principle of Genealinc™, a full-service genealogical firm engaged in world-wide genealogical based investigations, research and consultative services. Genealinc™ is the genealogical, education, and travel services branch of Schneden Associates LLC, based in the Kansas City area.

Christl Webster

Specialities: European/U.S. history, especially German and Austrian; read old German script.
816.224.3346 / 816.786.4939

Christl is a native of Vienna, Austria. She has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Vienna. Christl came to the U.S. on a Fulbright scholarship and obtained an M.A. in American History from UMKC. Professionally, she has been working as translator/PR at Bayer Corporation, and as an analyst at Shook, Hardy & Bacon. Christl is proficient in Spanish. She also works with several translation agencies on a freelance basis. In addition, Christl performs genealogy research for clients with a focus on German church registers dating to the 17th century.

Claire V. Brisson-Banks, Timeless Genealogies

Specialties: US, UK, Canada, brick wall solutions
14608 E 41st St. S.
Independence, MO 64055

Claire V. Brisson-Banks, BS, MLIS AG®. A Rhode Island native currently living in Missouri. A 2010 MLIS graduate of SJSU, Accredited in England and Mountain States Regions, lecturer, Professor, Mentor, writer and avid blogger. Author of The Social Media Guide for Ancestral Research: Using Web 2.0 Strategies. A British and U.S. Research Consultant and Technology Specialist at the FHL, Salt Lake City, UT from 2005-2013. Currently an Online Family History Professor for BYU-Idaho.

Claire has her own business, Timeless Genealogies, does private research, sells personal history books and CD's and does family history/genealogy tutoring, mentoring, and blogging. 

Deb Eberle Downard, Tree Tracer Genealogy

Specialties: Research in Missouri, southeast Kansas, and Arkansas, teaching basic research skills
816.425.5453 / 417.622.1404

Deb has been doing genealogy for over 30 years, not only in this country, but in her familial hometown of Walenstadt, Switzerland. When she started out in the small town of Eureka, KS, she was an officer in the Greenwood County Genealogical Society and wrote a newspaper column about beginning genealogy. Currently a member of the National Genealogical Society, Deb has attended two national conferences as well as many state conferences and regional workshops. Since moving to Kansas City from her hometown of Joplin in 2011, she have been increasing the client base in her research business. She is the Registrar of her DAR chapter--Marguerite McNair Chapter in Raytown. Deb is also a photo volunteer for Find a Grave and takes pictures at Mt. Moriah Cemetery and Mausoleum with over 135 photos to her credit.

Memberships: Newton County, Missouri, Genealogical Society (Friends of the Library), Jackson County, Missouri, Genealogical Society, former board member of the recently disbanded Joplin Genealogical Society, National Genealogical Society, and Daughters of the American Revolution.

Research resources: Ancestry, Find-a-Grave, Missouri Digital Heritage, World Vital Records, Eastman's Online Genealogy,, NARA, DAR, Fold3, BLM land patents, Arphax, Genealogy Bank, and various state sites and libraries as needed.

Denise Gripp, Family History Specialist (DBA Ever-After Enterprises)

Specialties: An innate knack for finding that needle in a haystack! Specializes in records/resources/research for/in Iowa and its contiguous states; large and small research requests welcomed; timely service and reasonable rates.
311 E. 4th Ave.                                      
Indianola, IA 50125       

With over 20 years experience in research, with family research as her specialty, Denise is well-equipped to solve your most pressing research problem. She have served as VP/Education Coordinator/Conference Planner for the Iowa Genealogical Society and is currently the President of her local genealogical society. For the past six years, Denise has served as MW Regional Coordinator of the Association of Personal Historians (, having published numerous personal history compilations; she has even dabbled in videography.

“Brick wall” solutions are her main forte. She is proud to have solved two out of two adoption projects. Her past experience has included a two-year stint with, via their since-defunct ExpertConnect program. Denise's current projects include ongoing assistance to an Air Force Museum curator from the UK in his endeavor to find alive-and-well family members of fallen U.S. airmen from World War II, in his attempt to memorialize each and every one. You’ll find no initials behind her name; she has had no need to invest in expensive and extensive certification programs. Her strong Midwestern work ethic has served her quite well over the years. For her ever-growing “testimonials” list, please visit her web site, where you’ll also find some intriguing free forms to assist you in your personal research endeavors. Research and road trips are Denise's two greatest passions!

Dorris Keeven-Franke

Specialties: German emigrants; early Missouri frontier families; heir tracing; lectures
email:; use subject 'genealogy research'

Dorris has been doing genealogical research professionally for over 40 years and has extensive experience with families that emigrated from Germany to Missouri prior to 1850. She is willing to do consultation and advice to overcome "brick walls." She does research primarily in east central Missouri counties and does not travel.

Family History Detective

Specialties: Researching complete family histories
Contact: Todd White

We specialize in researching complete family histories for you. If you have names, dates, and scattered information on your family, we can perform the research and compile everything together in one package. We offer a leather binder that will contain a family tree, reports on your ancestors, and copies of the source documents found during the research. Todd White was elected Program Chair of the Association of Professional Genealogists Heartland Chapter for 2011 - 2012. Clients have included celebrities, authors, and the PBS series Finding Your Roots.

Heidi Taylor, A Positive Genealogy

Specialties: Great Lakes Region, Adoption, Services for the Blind
1802 Devonshire Place
Independence, MO 64057

Heidi has always enjoyed family history and research and is thrilled to be able to help others finding their family bloodlines. With over 25 years of experience and having some of the best research facilities in the United States right here in her back yard, she can't wait to see who is in your family. Owner of A Positive Genealogy, Adoption/DNA researcher, MGC Brick Walls group instructor, Midwest Genealogy Center volunteer, Kansas City Irish Festival genealogy volunteer, former board member of the Jackson County Genealogical Society, member of the Buckinghamshire Family History Society (England). Contributor to: WESearchers-Breckenridge, Michigan. Continuing research for her DAR membership.
Fees: $100.00 for first five hours/ $15.00 per hour after.

Joan Kusek, Vintage Products

9640 Walmer
Overland Park, KS  66212

Joan F Wagner, So Many Ancestors…So Little Time

Specialties: Family research, mentoring, teaching
6029 Broadmoor Street, #2314
Mission, Kansas 66201

Are you new to family research? Don’t know where to begin? Had your DNA tested, but are unsure how to make use of the information. Joan has over 20 years experience in research and can help you trace and find your ancestors.

You control how much research, mentoring, and teaching she does. Before beginning any work, a clearly written game plan will be created outlining a set of specific goals and costs, supplying a better understanding of the scope of your project. This game plan will be provided free of charge. Need or want more information, email or call. So Many Ancestors is here for you.

Katherine Schober


Katherine is a German-English translator, specializing in genealogy. She has worked with old German handwriting,  and has translated 19th century letters, marriage certificates, baptismal certificates, and more while helping people to trace down their families. With a Master's Degree in German and four years spent in German-speaking Austria, Katherine is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the New England Translators Association. Please feel free to contact her with your translation needs.

Laurel Smirl


Though not a professional genealogist, Laurel has been researching genealogy for over 25 years. The more information you can provide, the better chances she will be able to help you find the information you are looking for. Laurel researches by computer only, United States only. She charges $10 per hour, payable before research begins, and accepts PayPal, cashiers check, or cash as a form of payment. Call or email for more information.

Legacy Tree Genealogists

Specialties: genetic genealogy; U.S. research; European research; LDS; immigration; German transcription; family biographies; personal histories; Canada; old English handwriting; genealogical Latin; Native American; African American; Russia; Mandarin Chinese; DNA; Latin records; classical, medieval, and Renaissance prosopography; South Africa; Eastern European languages including Cyrillic script; military records
50 W. Broadway, Suite 303                         
Salt Lake City, UT  84101    

Ricki King, Roots to Branches Genealogy, LLC

Specialties: U.S. research; Complied family research report containing finding, items searched and image copies.
950 65th St
Windsor Heights, IA 50324

Ricki is a professional genealogist located in Iowa who is able to do U.S. research. Ricki provides research and consultations big or small along with helping you plan your research. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Drake University, a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University’s Center for Professional Education, and holds a Certificate of Completion in the ProGen Study Program. Ricki holds memberships in the Association of Professional Genealogists, National Genealogical Society, Iowa Genealogical Society and State Historical Society of Iowa. She enjoys learning about her family as well as helping others embark on a journey to their family’s past.

Sharlene Miller

Specialties: Midwest, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, probate, land records, census, military records and pension files
20788 Orchard Lane
St. Joseph, MO 64505

Sharlene is an experienced genealogist whose research focus is in Midwestern States including Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota, and Michigan. She also has research experience in other states including Oklahoma, Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. She has been conducting genealogical research for more than 30 years. As most people do, she started learning about genealogical research by working on her family's history and then branched out to research her husband's family. She later started helping others with their genealogical research. Sharlene has been certified with the Board of Certification for Genealogists since 2002. She completed the NGS course "American Genealogy: A Basic Course" and has taken a genealogy course from Brigham Young University. Sharlene is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, National Genealogical Society, Missouri State Genealogical Association, Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society, Southwest Pennsylvania Genealogy Society, and Western Pennsylvania Genealogy Society.

Tammy R. Eledge, Eledge Family LLC

Specialties: Kansas and online research
503 3rd Street
Waldo, KS 67673
785.324.9061 (call or text)
email:                                                                                                                  website: website:

Tammy has over 25 years of experience in genealogy research. She provides on-site research in Russell, Osborne, Rooks, Lincoln, and Ellis Counties in Kansas. Tammy conducts research using both paid and free websites for projects both local and out of the area.

Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG, Lind Street Research

Specialties: German genealogy, reads German church records (in German script)
416 Lauder Lane
Inverness, IL 60067

Teresa is a Certified Genealogist SM who specializes in German-American and Midwest research, as well as reading German script. She has been interested in genealogy since she was a child and currently has many pleased clients. She presents quality genealogical lectures for local societies and national conferences.

Unlock Your History


Unlock Your History specializes in specializing in genealogical translation of all Germanic languages to help others discover what is locked in their family letters, postcards, certificates, diaries, wills and more.

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