MAY I INTRODUCE TO YOU . . . Eric Proffitt
I have the pleasure of introducing you to Eric Proffitt and his blog, RootsBid described as, “Our world-renowned blog has seen a lot of traction around the genealogy circuit. Amie Bowser Tennant (United States) and Liz Palmer (United Kingdom) are among our professional bloggers who have a wide variety of family history topics that they cover effectively with entertaining and introspective angles. The blog is a great resource for genealogy tools and techniques for enthusiasts at all levels.”
Eric, please tell us a little about yourself.
“I was born in Provo, Utah and I have lived in many different states including Ohio, California, Hawaii, and Washington. I currently live in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. My wife, Rebecca, and I have seven children, and I enjoy being part of a large family.”
How did you get started in genealogy?
“I have been interested in genealogy from a young age. As an adopted child, I have multiple family lines that have been of interest to me to help me understand my roots. My paternal grandparents have inspired my interest in genealogy with their example and efforts in family history work. I also worked for Ancestry.com which introduced me to resources and people that helped me break some barriers in my genealogy work. It was an amazing experience to be able to move my family history work forward and find generations of family that were previously undiscovered.”
When and why did you start your genealogy blog?
“The RootsBid genealogy blog began publishing in the spring of 2015. The purpose of the blog is to provide interesting and creative resources to support genealogy enthusiasts at all levels. One of the main purposes of RootsBid is to help connect people around the world to help each other with their genealogy roadblocks. The blog has been very successful as a resource for the genealogy community.”
How did you choose the name for your blog?
“It is the same name as our website service.”
What are your tips for new bloggers?
“Start writing today! Write about anything you are passionate about. As you practice writing, you will find you have a rhythm and style all your own. Embrace it. I would also encourage a new blogger to join groups such as GeneaBloggers and lean on others for support in your new endeavor.”
Please tell us about your favorite post(s) on your blog.
- 6 Ways in Which Genealogists Have a Servant’s Heart – “This blog post, written by our blogger, Amie Bowser Tennant, is so inspiring. There are many genealogists who have service, and serving others, as their top priority. We love being a part of this community.”
- 12 Days of Family History Research for Free – Day One – “This was a series of twelve blog posts written by Liz Palmer. She is our blogger for all things European. These blog posts were a great help for those unfamiliar with research in Europe.”
How much time do you spend on family history research?
“I spend a lot less now that I have RootsBid to help me. I would love to spend up to two hours a day on genealogy, but as a husband and young father of seven children, it is not always easy to find the time. We make time as a family and many of my older children have become involved in genealogy work as a result.”
Who is your favorite ancestor(s) and why?
“My favorite ancestor is Juliana Chorjinski. She is my great-great-grandmother. She was a very brave woman who left her home country of Poland to move to America with her husband and two children. Her husband died a few years later in a train accident and she was left to raise her family on her own. She later remarried and had five more children. She is one of several female ancestors, including my mom, who lost their husbands and had to raise their children for a time as a single mom.”
How has genealogy improved your life?
“Genealogy has helped me to feel grounded and to gain an understanding of who I am and what I am capable of achieving. I have been impressed at how many times I have discovered that my personality, character traits, talents and interests are shared by many of my ancestors.”
What do you love the most about genealogy?
“I love the challenge of unlocking the genealogy puzzles and overcoming the roadblocks. Linking generations together is exhilarating.”
What family story or heirloom do you cherish?
“One of my favorite family stories is about an ancestor, Jane Johnston Black, who was a midwife. When she lived in Nauvoo, Illinois, John Taylor, a former religious leader in my faith, was shot. He asked for her specifically to be involved in the operation to remove the bullets and to nurse him back to health. I now live in a community with some direct descendants of John Taylor.”
Besides major websites like Ancestry and FamilySearch, what research tool or source has been helpful in researching your family history?
“RootsBid.com was originated from my own experience with trying to break through genealogy barriers that I was experiencing in my ancestral homelands. I have also used Polish and Pomeranian genealogy websites that have been beneficial, but are not always easy to navigate due to language barriers.”
Which genealogy blogs inspire you?
“So many! I very much enjoy FamilySearch.org’s blog so that I can keep up with all the newest things, of course GeneaBloggers is a great one, and I have recently been touched by the adoption stories shared by Dawn Kogutkiewicz at Dawning Genealogy.”
What interesting connections have you made through blogging?
“Amie, one of our RootsBid bloggers, used a death record for a William Partington from Shelby County, Ohio in a recent blog. She later heard from one of his descendants. This descendant was excited to meet someone from the same hometown as his ancestor and they were able to share information about the family’s history. It was a great connection!”
What do you think is the most interesting change in the past ten years in genealogy/family history?
“The most exciting change is the capacity of the internet to connect people in ways that have previously been impossible. This is a main part of the vision for RootsBid — to bring the concepts of crowd-sourcing and collaborative economy to the genealogy field. The internet and websites like RootsBid can help people across the world, even in the small and distant corners, to access genealogy resources and specialists to help them discover their ancestors.”
What is on your genealogy bucket list?
“Definitely one of the top priorities on my genealogy bucket list is to visit my two major homelands again, the United Kingdom and Poland. I have had dreams of going there and discovering records and to walk where my ancestors walked. Without the time and resources now, I am grateful for RootsBid and other resources that can help me discover and make my ancestors a part of my life now.”
If you wanted to leave a message for future generations, what would you tell them?
“Understand and learn from the past—a big part of that includes what we can discover about ourselves through our family histories. Family history, like world and national history, can help us to build on what has already been done and not make the same mistakes. I would also encourage future generations to get outside themselves and make a difference with others in the community and around the world.”
When did you start your genealogy-related business?
“The RootsBid concept was originated six years ago when I was facing barriers to getting information from my ancestral homelands. We officially started the business in November 2013.”
What was your motivation for starting your business?
“I was motivated by my own frustration with the roadblocks I experienced in my genealogy research, and I knew I was not alone. I saw a great opportunity to create a win-win situation for those looking for help and potential helpers around the world by developing a collaborative economy in the field of genealogy.”
Blogging is just one aspect of social media. How important has social media been to the growth of your business?
“Social Media is critical to business success for internet-based businesses and is essential in the world of mobile devices. We use it to promote our blog content, to introduce our brand and bring new users to our website, and to engage with our audience. We want our brand to incite confidence with our users and to be part of everyone’s conversation!”
How did you get interested in genealogy and family history?
“I have to give credit to my grandparents who helped inspire and spark my interest in genealogy. They were family history missionaries in my church.”
What types of products and services do you provide to customers?
“RootsBid solves an enormous problem in family history research, where so much can be accomplished in an ancestor’s homeland, but that homeland is inaccessible. Hiring local certified genealogists is not always possible, or reasonable within a limited budget. Much research can be done by professionals and non-professionals alike—both of which can be found on RootsBid.”
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start their own genealogy-related business?
“Do your research, test your assumptions, and learn from what others have done in the past. If you haven’t seen our blog, you owe it to yourself to read it!”
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Please take a moment to head over to the RootsBid Blog, and leave a comment, letting Eric know you stopped by. Thank you Eric for telling us about yourself and your blog. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you better.
© 2016, copyright Jana Last. All rights reserved.
Jana Last is a wife, mom and grandma living in sunny California. She loves family history and enjoys learning about her ancestors. She started her family history research in 1996 after the death of her maternal grandfather. She is the author of three blogs and a website: Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog, Grandpa’s Postcards, Jana’s Place and Jana’s Genealogy and Social Media Hub. Are you a genealogy blogger who would like to be interviewed for the “May I Introduce To You . . .” series? If so, contact Jana via email at email@example.com.