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