History’s Mysteries LLC is a new researching firm setting out to uncover answers to your inquiries about history in Northeast Iowa, central to the Waterloo area in Black Hawk County. Our expertise lies in the research of real estate and cemeteries as well as other areas of genealogical and ephemera research.

We are a proud member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and abide by APG Code of Ethics seen here. We are currently working on our certification through the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Applicants for BCG must demonstrate The Genealogical Proof Standard which can be seen here.
If you would like our assistance to answer a burning question you might have, please send an email to HistorysMysteriesLLC@yahoo.com. In your email, specify your question and provide additional background on what you already know and what steps you have taken (if any) to previously research this question. A phone conversation can be arranged to discuss your project in detail. We do ask for a $50 retainer before the preliminary research plan is presented. This preliminary plan will review your contact information, the questions we will try to answer for you, an initial search of pertinent information readily accessible, potential sources and repositories we will utilize and the suggested steps of research. Once we present this information to you, we will have you sign an agreement allowing us to conduct the stated research plan and complete your requested project for the number of hours you have authorized. Upon completion of the research and report, we will present you with a copy of your report, detailing our findings and suggestions for future research, if it would be beneficial.

We are currently accepting new clients. You will be provided with detailed information as soon as possible. A backlog could increase wait time, but expect the search and report to take two weeks. We will use our online resources first to minimize travel expenses while verifying original sources whenever possible.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Waterloo Wednesday – For All the Small Schools

Buildings of former glory slip by the wayside every day. They are often remodeled, re-purposed or demolished and before long, the majority of people forget what the building’s original function was or that it was even there. It could have been a school, a church, a post office, a town hall or a bank building. Couples such as Barb and Dave Else of Cedar Falls have made an effort to recognize schools across Iowa with their book, For All the Small School: A photographic pursuit of Iowa’s forgotten schools. Anyone who can help Barb and Dave Else identify the nine unidentified schools in their book can contact them at daveelse@cfu.net. Their book is available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and thewriteplace.com.
            Time changes everything, yet we can’t forget who we are and where we came from. The former structures of our hometowns molded our lives and the lives of those who have taken the initiative to document or preserve the past; we can’t thank those people enough. We commend you, keep up the great work!

“Couple’s book is strictly ‘old school’,” Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, 12 June 2014.

Friday, July 4, 2014

BCG Certification

Well, I have finally submitted my BCG (Board for the Certification of Genealogists) portfolio. Now I wait for the judges to grade it before I receive the results. No matter the outcome, the process has been a great experience. I have improved my research procedures and honed my skills when it comes to applying the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard) to research projects. These advancements in my processes are a benefit to my clients, and I take pride in offering clients my services while following the BCG Code of Ethics.
            To present clients upfront with your terms and practices is important to both parties so everything is understandable and neither party loses time or money. Communication is one of the most important factors to make each and every research project as productive as possible.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Real Estate Research

Real estate is an important part of historical and genealogical research. Real estate records do not generally tell you when a house or business was built, when your ancestor was born, how they died, or who their parents were. They do however provide a significant amount of detail on your ancestor’s life. The records can help to determine when they moved to or from an area, what their occupation may have been, their financial status, or mention other individuals in their FAN club (family/friends, associates, neighbors).
When a real estate record is located, efforts can be made to locate other pertinent records, such as court records, tax records, maps or newspapers. Without attempting to locate real estate records, gaps will likely be left in our research. After all, don’t most researchers want to know how many acres their ancestor farmed, how close they were to town and the circumstances of their property acquisition and sale among other details of their ancestors’ lives?