Thursday, March 21, 2013

Welcome (Back) to Unsolved Histories!

Welcome to Unsolved Histories!  I’m Liesa Healy-Miller, and this is my forensic genealogy practice.  I specialize in cases with legal implications – lost or missing heir search, quiet title research, adoption search, and more.

The name is new, but the business is not.  I’ve worked as a professional genealogist for several years now – tracing people throughout Southern New England and beyond. 

I’ve skittered along the East Coast, plunged into the depths of the Deep South, and traversed the pond to Dublin.  There I searched for names in record books shredded by bullets during the Irish Civil War.  How cool is that?  Love what I do!

Ironically, though, it was the depth and breadth of my searches – both real and virtual – that helped me to narrow my career focus.   While I love tracing the past, I wanted to do more than just reconstruct a family’s history.

Don’t get me wrong – tracing family history is painstaking, important work.  And it definitely affects living descendants – hopefully in positive ways. 

But I crave impact.  As a former TV reporter, I guess I haven’t overcome the need to see and feel the results of my work.  In my former calling, the payoff from the work could be swift and dramatic.  And I produced something tangible every day – my story, airing each night on the six o’clock news.

Impact?  Drama?  If that’s what I want, why choose genealogy?  There’s no nightly deadline, and the world is definitely not watching.  By its nature, the work is often ploddingly slow, meticulous, and filled with attention to minute detail.  It can also be maddeningly frustrating.  And solitary.

So why am I doing this?  And why forensic genealogy, specifically?

In this business, the payoff is not usually swift.  But with age comes patience, and the willingness to wait for those twin payoffs of impact and drama. 

And, with patience, I still get those payoffs - the thrill of the chase, the challenge of tackling an unsolved mystery, and – most importantly – that feeling of passion for my work that comes straight from the soul.

In this context, “drama” means finding that elusive heir.  Or telling that adoptee: “I’ve found your birthmother, and she’s dying to meet you.”   Talk about having an impact on someone’s life.

In my spare time, it’s helping to identify unclaimed remains, or
offering advice on how to solve the seemingly unsolvable historical mystery.

I like “Unsolved Mysteries” as a business name – but that phrase will forever conjure images of Robert Stack in a trench coat.  That show will live on in reruns for the rest of our natural lives – and beyond.  It’s safe to say that name is taken.

Instead, I’ve chosen a different new name for my same old venture: Unsolved Histories.  “History” is often used as a collective term.  But we all have our own histories.  They are unique to us, and only us.  

The plural form of that word honors that sense of singularity, the intricate twists and turns that each life takes.   And my passionate quest to untangle those threads - to solve the family mysteries that cross my life’s path.

Thanks for coming along for the ride!