Five Questions with Kenyatta Berry

Five Questions with Kenyatta Berry

Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) president Kenyatta D. Berry fell in love with genealogy during law school. Now that passion has her traveling the country talking about—and doing—genealogy. 1. You’re trained as a lawyer. What attracted you to family history? My interest in genealogy started when I...

Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) president Kenyatta D. Berry fell in love with genealogy during law school. Now that passion has her traveling the country talking about—and doing—genealogy.

1. You’re trained as a lawyer. What attracted you to family history?
My interest in genealogy started when I was in law school. I was dating this guy with an unusual surname. One day I decided to check out his family, who were from Atlanta. They were in the Who’s Who [biographical reference]. I thought, this is so easy! My viewpoint changed when I started researching my own family.

2. What’s daily life like?
I work from home, so my life is really flexible. I travel like crazy, but I don’t have to go to an office. On weekends, I work on APG. I walk a lot: I live in a very walkable area in Santa Monica, Calif.

3. What do you do for fun?
I research people who aren’t even related to me. Growing up in Detroit, I learned about the same five people every Black History Month. Now whenever someone mentions a little-known African-American, I’m on it. I especially love researching entrepreneurs. I’m very entrepreneurial.

4. Who’s a favorite entrepreneur?
William Nickerson, founder of Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Co. He was run out of town in San Jacinto County, Texas, by the KKK. He boarded a train with his eight children for Los Angeles and later started Golden State, which became one of the largest African-American businesses in the country.

5. Why do you give so much free time to APG?
It’s an open organization—you don’t have to be a certified genealogist to join. It’s great for those new to the profession. APG is a valuable organization: We help people understand the business of genealogy. You can be the best researcher, but if you don’t understand how to run a business, you’re not going to succeed.

From the May/June 2013 Family Tree Magazine

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