The name for this blog, Across the Rolling Prairie, is a reference to my graduate thesis and continuing research into the lives of those that traveled through the rolling prairie by wagon and steamboat during the 19th century. It is also a nod to my roots as a genealogist. The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder fostered my love of history from a young age and helped spark an interest in family history by the age of 13.
I am an independent scholar and professional genealogist based out of the Greater Omaha area in Nebraska. I received my Masters of Arts in History from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in December of 2013. My ground-breaking thesis, We Are Now in Indian Territory: Men and Women’s Views of Indians along the Overland Trail, explored the complex and at times divergent manners in which the different genders viewed Indians while they migrated west along the trail system. I am currently writing an article based upon on my thesis.
Currently, my primary research project is “The Prince of the Upper Missouri: Captain James McGarry.” The lives of those who worked about steamboats have long been neglected by historians. An in-depth biography about a steamboat captain of the Upper Missouri has not been published in over 100 years. In 2016 I received the Independent Research and Creative Works Award from the Charles Redd Center for this project. My research was also featured in the Great Falls Tribune.
At the 2016 Missouri Valley History Conference, I received the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Outstanding Alumni Paper Award for my paper about Captain McGarry. In 2017, my paper “Steamboats North: The Life of John Christie Barr” was also very well received. In addition to presenting papers at the MVHC, I have given genealogy presentations at the Sarpy County Museum and the 2015 Nebraska State Genealogical Society Conference (NSGS). I am looking forward to presenting at the 2017 History Camp Iowa and 2018 NSGS Conference.
I enjoy supporting genealogy and history focused organizations. I served as the historian for the Pi Nu Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta for the 2014-2015 term. I previously served as Vice-President of Outreach for the NextGen Genealogy Network, an organization I established, and served as President of the Association of Professional Genealogists’ Great Plains Chapter. More recently, I founded the Rogue Genealogist. I am currently a member of the Nebraska State Genealogical Society and the Association of Professional Genealogists.