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D Joshua Taylor

If you watch genealogy shows on television, that name should sound quite familiar. He’s been a featured genealogist on “Who Do You Think You Are?” with Sarah Jessica Parker, Kelly Clarkson, Ashley Judd, Reba McEntire, and Rob Lowe.  Lately he can be seen on the PBS series Genealogy Roadshow, working with people from cities around the U.S.(1)

He made an impression on me, as well as many others, because he looks so vastly young to be as knowledgeable and helpful as he comes across. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to attend some seminars presented by him, and was even more impressed.

His grandmother shared her love of genealogy with him when he was young (about 10), and he’s been hooked ever since. While other kids were outside playing ball and riding bicycles, he was hunting for more ancestors and badgering his current relatives about  photos, facts and stories.

The first presentation I attended was about his work with the genealogy TV shows. Absolutely fascinating! He shared various experiences around the research, filming and presentation to the seekers. It was funny, informative, entertaining, and over way too soon. There is nothing stuffy or boring about Josh’s genealogy!

One of the other seminars he presented was what’s available on the Internet and what isn’t. As much as it seems is on the internet, the vast majority is still found in local, state and national repositories. He also suggested focusing more on where our ancestors lived instead of just collecting records or as he calls it: locality searching.

Tips and strategies were shared about this, such as developing a locality profile, timeline, researching local events, digging into thing that normally might not be associated with genealogy research. It gives a broader picture of our ancestors lives, and may even solve puzzles which previously didn’t make sense. Why did g-g-grandfather move from Indiana to Arizona, and then back again? Comparing his year of arrival – year of return, the fact there was a drought the year before he moved back, might have more to do with returning to Indiana than missing his family there.

I came away refreshed, rejuvenated, and inspired to broaden my genealogy research outside of censuses, and birth, marriage, and death records. Josh is a terrific speaker and his passion for genealogy fairly oozes out of his pores! If you have a chance to see him, even if it means driving a few hours, do it!


(1) Bio – Genealogy and Family History – D. Joshua Taylor

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