My name is Scott van Pletzen-Rands, and I currently live in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
I first discovered genealogy in my tween or early-teen years, when my parents purchased an IBM PC in the early 1980s with 64k of memory. One of the first programs they installed on it was the MS-DOS version of Personal Ancestral File (PAF). They pulled out the family Books of Remembrance–pages and pages of pedigree charts and family group sheets–and started entering the information, person by person, into PAF. I think I was more curious about the computer, so I helped do some of the data entry. Soon however I was the only one doing it, spending hours at the computer becoming more and more fascinated about the names and places I was discovering were part of my history.
In my mid-teens, my mother worked in our local Family History Center. I would go with her sometimes, especially during summer breaks. Those were my first adventures into actually researching my genealogy. I would order microfilms from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and spend my days there looking through roll after roll. And I loved it!
Over the years, genealogy was my hobby. I would get lost in it, and discover that hours had gone by without me realizing it. In 2014, I decided it was time to take it up a notch and attended my first genealogy conference (FGS2014). Since then I’ve been attending conferences, webinars, and studying proper methodologies in genealogical research and reporting, and meeting some amazing people along the way.
My specialities include South Africa (particularly the Cape Colony and Orange Free State, about 1800-1920), Utah, Iowa, mid-western US in general, and Scotland. I am also quickly learning about US land records and English research. I am currently a member of the Association for Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, the Ohio Genealogical Society, and the eGGSA branch of the Genealogical Society of South Africa. I am also “on the clock” (working on my application portfolio) with the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
If you need help with your family research, I would be honored to take a look and let you know how I can help. Just send me an email at email@example.com.
All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. They should not be construed to speak for any other person or organization.