Meet Luana Darby, MLIS, AG®, accredited in U.S. Midwest

What motivated you to pursue accreditation?

I have been working on my own family history and that of friends and family for many years. In 1999, after moving to the Salt Lake City area, I decided that I wanted to pursue my education and genealogy as a business. I love putting together puzzles and helping people and isn’t that what genealogy is all about? I decided to return to school at BYU and complete my degree in Family History. This gave me a good foundation, but I wanted more. I decided to go back to school and get a master’s degree in Library and Information Science through San Jose State University and graduated in 2012. I began the accreditation process when I was at BYU, but knew I needed more experience. After working for myself and others, I decided that I needed to prove it to myself and others that I was up to the rigor and testing of the AG process.

What are some challenging or unique aspects to researching in your area of accreditation?

The Midwest is challenging in different aspects than other areas of research. The region has a diverse amount of records. It also was a melting pot of peoples from around the world. As I research in the region, I may run into records of other languages such as German, French, and Polish. Most official governmental records in the United States are in the English language, but church, fraternal organization and newspapers in the area may have been written in the language of the immigrant. If a researcher is not finding answers in the “traditional” records of the region, turning to these alternative records may provide answers to brick wall problems.

What advice do you have for those pursuing accreditation?

Take the time to familiarize yourself with research in each of the areas or states of your region. Understand the history, migration paths and unique records of the area. Take the time to write up your family research in the area, complete with a written report, research calendars and family group sheets. The more you practice, the more you will feel confident in your abilities and comfortable with the process. Don’t give up. Find a mentor and someone to be accountable to throughout the process. Having that extra push really does make a difference.

What are some of your goals as a genealogist?

I interested in accrediting in Germany and the U.S. Mid-Atlantic states, as one of my research specialties is Palatine Germans. I would also like to publish a book or two concerning Palatines, to facilitate the research process for immigrants of this time period.

I would like to expand my business to offering clients a one-on-one experience in the records of their ancestors, whether in the records of the Family History Library or in the archives of their ancestor’s place of origin.

What research projects are you involved with now, or have planned for the future?

I just finished wrapping up research as a genealogist for Season 3 of “Relative Race.” It was exciting to put together my skills as a genealogist and what I have learned about DNA and solve unique research challenges. I can’t tell you exactly what happened, you will have to watch Season 3 to find out…

I would like to expand my record retrieval and research services in Europe to include offering my clients a “Who Do You Think You Are” experience for themselves and their family. I have been successful doing this for several clients, pointing them to living members of their families back in the home country, but would like to add tours of the ancestral sites and give them the experience they see others have only on TV.

Do you have a website you would like to have mentioned?

My website is Lineages by Luana.

When did you receive your accreditation?

I received my accreditation in February of 2017.

Is there anything else you want to let us know about your genealogy experience or activities?

I love being a facilitator in the mentoring process and watch others blossom. My current group is amazing. The genealogical community will have some incredible AGs in the very near future.

I also love being able to present genealogical webinars. These are fantastic resources that I wish would have been available for my education when I first started. We all wish we could attend presentations in person, but what an amazing opportunity to present and to listen to a wide array of lectures from experts around the world.

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