Bloomfield TownshipSeptember 02, 2009
Local genealogist launches new Web business
By Robin Ruehlen
C & G Staff Writer
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Tracing out a family tree, although fascinating, can also prove extremely time-consuming to the amateur genealogist.
With the help of a professional, however, family sleuths can get their hands on more ancestral information than they thought possible — just take it from the guy who has traced his bloodlines all the way back to 1263 A.D.
Bloomfield Township resident and professional genealogist David Irwin launched YourAncestralFamily.com in August to help people trace their roots, locate long-lost relatives or heirs, and get a comprehensive picture of their own unique history in detailed reports and photographs.
“If the client wishes, we can research just a specific family line or family lines on the tree, and we provide a free consultation to determine the cost and time of the research project,” he said.
Irwin, a graduate of Michigan State University and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, said his 30-plus years of experience and access to the largest database of public records in the world make it easier for people to get a more complete, accurate history of their ancestors from North America, Canada and the British Isles.
“The first thing we do is send you a pedigree chart, and ask that you fill out as much as you can — names, maiden names, dates of marriages, births and deaths, and we take it from there,” Irwin said.
“Most people hire a genealogist because they don’t have the time to do the research themselves. I’ve been doing this for 32 years, and after that long, you know how to get in the databases and manipulate the information to bring out what you need. You can find names that might have been mispronounced or written down incorrectly in the records as well.”
Although Irwin, a descendant of Michigan pioneer Charles Callow, was able to trace a line on his mother’s side of the family back to the 13th century, he cautioned that some family lines can only be traced to the beginning of civil records — the early to late 1800s.
“There are records that date back to the 1600s, but a lot of people’s lines dead-end before that,” he said.
“We can’t promise everyone that we can trace you back to Charlemagne, but we will thoroughly search the records and leave no stone unturned in finding everything we can.”
For those who want to search for ancestors in Europe or other areas of the world, Irwin said he could recommend and refer clients to other professional genealogists.
“To some extent, we can also help with German and French roots, but we are limited to those records in those areas,” he added.
Irwin said YourAncestralFamily’s customer base also includes law firms, government and the media, and the site stays up to date with the latest industry innovations. In addition to his client work, Irwin is also an author, speaker and historian.
“We also do family history photography. If someone wants photos of where their ancestors grew up or the school they attended, we can get that, and I also take photos of headstones,” he said.
Client Richard Bloom said he hired Irwin to trace his grandfather’s ancestry, and was so pleased with the result he asked Irwin to trace his grandmother’s side as well.
“He was able to follow my grandfather’s roots back to Austria and Vienna — I never knew my grandfather’s history or the fact that he had four brothers,” Bloom said.
“It’s exciting. We’re in the process of developing the entire family tree now.”
For more information, visit www.yourancestralfamily.com or call (248) 481-8214.