About Me

IMG_0680My 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 genobsessed@gmail.com.

All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. They should not be construed to speak for any other person or organization.


3 responses to “About Me

  1. Hi Scott–

    I stumbled onto your page while searching for Sterns in St. Louis. Some of my grandmother’s siblings settled there around the turn of the 20th century, after growing up in Quincy IL, and some of their descendants remain there.

    My cousins (but not the Sterns) and I are, like you, obsessed with genealogy, and we had quite a time finding the origins for our Sterns, the first of whom (we think) immigrated to the U.S. about 1838 from the village of Handrup in Lower Saxony.

    Do you know where your Sterns came from, and when? Ours were Catholic, and it appears that yours were, as well. That narrows the field. Thanks for putting up your website!

    Maureen Girard
    Pacific Grove CA


  2. My Sterns came from Lothringen–now Lorraine, France–about 1835. I haven’t found information about them prior to their settling in Millstadt, Ill, in 1843. They were Catholic, definitely.


  3. Thank you for following my blog. I look forward to learning from yours as well.


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