Gail Shaffer Blankenau
- Business Name
- Discover Family History
- Non-Research Specialties
- Lecturer/Presenter - On-site
- Lecturer/Presenter - Virtual
- Research Specialties
- Emigration & Immigration
- Federal Records
- German American
- Heir Searcher
- Land Records
- Lineage Societies
- Research Time Periods
- 18th Century
- 19th Century
- 20th Century
Gail Blankenau is a professional genealogist, speaker and author, specializing in German genealogy, land records, and lineage research. She first became interested in family history by looking for treasures in the attic when she was growing up. As a teenager, she started labeling old family photographs and things progressed from there.
As a professional, some of her recent client projects have taken her to Salt Lake City, Utah, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Illinois, Texas and Missouri, as well as numerous projects in Nebraska. Her own roots are from almost every state east of the Mississippi.
In addition to performing private client research, Gail enjoys speaking and writing about genealogy. Her articles have appeared in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, The Genealogist, Everton's Genealogical Helper, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, The Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly and Nebraska Ancestree. Gail is also a charter member of the Great Plains chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.
I will research your American or German ancestry with emphasis in the Midwest and New England. Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, the state library and archives is minutes away with statewide collections. My clients come from all over the country, and I have done lineage research, German research, heir research, and helped with lineage society applications, such as the Mayflower Society and NSDAR. One of my other main specialties is land records.
Nebraska, Midwest, New England, Mid-Atlantic, France, Germany
- MA in History; MA International Studies; BA French and English
Phi Kappa Phi Honorary
Phi Alpha Theta History Honorary
Alpha Mu Gamma Foreign Language Honorary
- French near fluency, working knowledge of German, including old German script.
- History Nebraska State Library (former Nebraska Historical Society); local courthouses/societies in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. I also travel to the Family History Library and the National Archives.
- IGGP Conference 2019:
Entertaining and unlike any other presentation that I heard while attending the conference.
National Homestead Monument 2015: Gail is the first one I call when I have a conference to plan.
Client Card: Thanks for all of your work on my family ancestry!! You are so much fun to work with.
Client Card: Words cannot express enough gratitude I have for all the help you gave. You were instrumental in solving the biggest mystery of my life.
And many more...
• Genealogy 101 – Hunting and Gathering
• Genealogy 102 – The Journey
• Stories in Stone: Cemetery Research
• Keeping up with the Smiths and Joneses –
Researching those common surnames
• Who is Hiding in Your Drawer? Dating and
Identifying Photographs (also a short version – 20
• Beyond the Basics: Hands on Practice with
Genealogical Research (Computer Lab)
• The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – Citations for
Your Family History
• A Family Odyssey: Marriages, Murder and
• Break Through Brick Walls Using Land Record
• Break Through Brick Walls Using Land Records
• Who Is Hiding in Your Drawer? Dating and
Identifying 19th Century Photos – 1849-1900
• Dating and Identifying Photos – 1880 to 1910
• Rich Resources for Poor Ancestors
• Tumbleweeds in the Window – Women
Homesteaders: Three Case Studies (UPDATED!)
• Searching for Answers to Real Research
Questions: DNA Case Studies
• Proof or Consequences: Change How You View
• Connect the Dots with a Family Migration Study
• Probing the Probate
German Heritage Series:
• Finding Your Germanic Ancestral Village
• Deciphering Old German Script
• Using German Parish Records Part I
• Digging Deeper into German Parish Records Part II
• Find Your Roots in German Farm Histories
• Beyond the Bauer [Farmer]: Your German Ancestor’s Place in the Social Structure
• What’s in a Name? Deciphering German Given Names and Nicknames
• Dating and Identifying Your German Ancestral Photos
• Germans from Russia – An Introduction
• Unexpected Union – a Tale of Two Soldiers in the Great War
• Peopling the Prairie: Germans in America’s Heartland
• Marrying the Farm: It’s Complicated (Intermediate – Advanced)
• Researching Nebraska Ancestry Online
• Take All to Nebraska – How They Came
- "It's All in the Family: The Benefits of Family Associations," National Genealogical Society Magazine, 47, no. 2 (April-June 2021). 13-18.
“A Comfortable Place to Live In: Using Homestead Files in Family History,” National Genealogical Society Magazine, 45, no. 1 (January-March 2019), 17-23.
“A Nickerson May Have Influenced Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea,” Nickerson Family Association, Fall 2017.
“Nickerson Portraits from the Past,” Nickerson Family Association, Fall 2016.
“The Cotuit Ghost,” Nickerson Family Association, Fall 2015.
"Women Homesteaders," National Genealogical Society Magazine, Vol., 40, No. 2, April-June 2014.
"Sergeant John Smith of Rhode Island, with Descendants in Early Ohio." The Genealogist, Vol. 26, No. 1, (Spring 2012).
“Prayer Cards and Funeral Cards in Genealogy,“ Nebraska AncesTree, 2012.
"April Fool's for Genealogists, " Family Chronicle,
"Portraits from the Past," Internet Genealogy, Apr/May 2010.
"Some Descendants of Nathaniel Mead of Greenwich, Connecticut, through his son Josiah Mead," New England Genealogical Historical Register, Jan 2009 - three parts.
"Abraham Daniels Family Bible with annotations," Ohio Genealogical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 3. Sep 2008 p. 161-162.
"Rich Resources for Poor Ancestors," Family Chronicle, (Nov/Dec 2008), Moorshead Ltd., Canada.
"Using German Parish Records," Everton's Genealogical Helper, (January 2009) Logan UT, Everton Publishers.
"Signature Style," Family Chronicle, (Mar/Apr 2009), Moorshead Ltd., Canada
"When the Irises Bloom," Family Chronicle, (Jul/Aug 2009), Moorshead Ltd.
"Keeping Up with the Smiths," Family Chronicle,
(Sep/Oct 2009), Moorshead Ltd.
"19th-Century Photos: How to Spot a Copy," Family Chronicle, Nov/Dec 2009, Moorshead Ltd.
I also published in mainstream publications such as NebraskaLand, Nebraska Alumnus, Country Victorian Accents, Field and Stream, and more.
- IGHR: Advanced Methodology 2015
Genealogical Institute on Federal Records 2016
- Association of Professional Genealogists - Great Plains
Genealogical Speakers Guild International
New England Historical and Genealogical Society
National Society Daughter of the American Revolution (NSDAR
Alden Kindred Life Member
Y-DNA project co-administrator
- Blog link
- Business site: www.discoverancestry.org
|Street Address:||7424 Stevens Ridge Road|