Every Genealogical Search is Different

Every genealogical search is personal - whether you're looking for your great-grandparents or seeking credentials to join a lineage society. Every search is different and some are certainly easier than others. You may want to do your own research and don't know where to begin. Or you may have made a lot of progress until you hit a brick wall.

My goal for you is "Family Research on a Budget." If you've decided to do some research into your family history and need help, you can hire a professional researcher who can kick-start your research, resolve difficult identification problems, read antique handwriting, plat land holdings, and identify documents critical to your success. As a nationally certified genealogist, I am qualified to do that research.

"Carol is a very experienced genealogist and she has a way of sharing her experience with her audience that informs, entertains, and challenges them to look deeper into their own family histories. Anyone, even non-genealogists, who have the opportunity to hear her speak should not pass up the chance to do so." -- Brad Morrison, Castle Rock

Carol Cooke Darrow, Certified Genealogist®

Carol Cooke Darrow, Certified Genealogist
Carol Cooke Darrow is a Certified Genealogist who works as a lecturer and researcher. She has a degree in history from the University of Texas and has been a Certified Genealogist since 2005. She is the co-author of The Genealogist's Guide to Researching Tax Records published in 2007. She is available to present at your genealogical meetings nationwide. Her current schedule of lectures and presentations is listed below.

Genealogist's Guide to Researching Tax RecordsCarol Cooke Darrow, CG, and Susan Winchester, Ph.D. and CPA, are co-authors of the Genealogist's Guide to Researching Tax Records. The book is a how-to guide to help you identify, locate, and understand the wealth of information available in these annual records. Tax records can be as helpful as census records in locating ancestors who lived before the first census in 1790 or who lived in areas with lost census records. The book was published by Heritage Books and is available at www.HeritageBooks.com

Let me help you with research in:

  • Denver Public Library (Central Branch) Genealogical Library (books and census records)
  • National Archives-Rocky Mountain Regional Repository, 17101 Huron Street, Broomfield, CO - I-25 and E. Baseline Rd, exit 229 (censuses)
  • Family History Centers (microfilm)
  • Colorado Historical Society (newspapers)
  • Colorado State Archives (records)
  • Professional Research Services

    Here are a few of the professional research services available:

  • Begin your family research with basic information and a report (4 hours)
  • Create a research plan that you can follow on your own (1-2 hours)
  • Provide you with an introduction to Ancestry.com (1-2 hours)
  • Help with Family Tree Maker or Legacy software (1-2 hours)
  • Assist with writing projects to document your family history (4-12 hours)
  • Do look-ups and make photocopies from U.S. census records or Colorado marriages and obituaries. (1 hour)
  • Hourly rates start at $25 per hour.

    Complimentary Research Services

    I offer complimentary research services at these two locations:

  • Central (Downtown) Denver Public Library, Tuesdays, 12 Noon - 4 pm
  • National Archives (I-25 North at Hwy. 7), Thursdays, 1 pm - 4 pm
  • "Listening to Carol's presentations and her advice allowed me to successfully conduct the initial research of the family trees of both my father and mother. Her guidance and encouragement helped me write a book about my mother's genealogy--much of which had been lost with the family's emigration to the U.S." -- Sandra Gill, Thornton

    Presentations and Lectures

    College Hill Lecture Schedule

    College Hill Library
    3705 West 112th Avenue
    Westminster, Colorado
    No classes May through August

    Date Topic Location
    Sept. 2, 2017
    1:30 - 3:30 pm
    Introduction to Genealogy and Ancestry.com
    Get to know Ancestry.com as a prime resource to do family research. Learn about the card catalog, census records, military, immigration and marriage records available online at Ancestry.com – free at College Hill Library, NARA, and Denver Public Libraries.
    College Hill Library
    Oct. 7, 2017
    1:30 - 3:30 pm
    Marriage, Separation and Divorce
    Marriage, separation and divorce have shaped the lives of many of our ancestors and their descendants. What may have started out as a dream of love and happiness may have turned into a nightmare of arguments, fights, separation, divorce or desertion. Finding records of these events, both happy and sad, are the challenge of the genealogist.
    College Hill Library
    Nov. 4, 2017
    1:30 - 3:30 pm
    Researching Land and Deed Book Records
    Acquiring land was one of the prime reasons for people to come to the American continent and to migrate from the New England and Virginia shores to the Pacific Coast. Learning about land distribution and the deed books that record the land transactions are the key to understanding your ancestors’ movements, wealth, and relationships.
    College Hill Library
    Dec. 2, 2017
    1:30 - 3:30 pm
    DNA and You
    A DNA test will tell you where in the world your ancestors came from and the test will also identify living people who share those same ancestors. It’s a brave new world out there—have you joined yet?
    College Hill Library
    Jan. 6, 2018
    1:30 - 3:30 pm
    Newspaper Research
    Free sites such as Library of Congress, Colorado Historic Newspapers, Iowa Historic Newspapers, and Elephind.com plus pay-for-view sites such as GenealogyBank.com, Newspapers.com and NewspaperArchive.com open up a world of access to your ancestors.
    College Hill Library
    Feb. 3, 2018
    1:30 - 3:30 pm
    Using Charts and Timelines to Connect the Dots
    What are you going to do with all the information you’ve gathered about your ancestors? You can enter the information into a genealogy software program or you can construct a comparison chart, a land in-and-out chart or create a FAN club chart.
    College Hill Library
    March 3, 2018
    1:30 - 3:30 pm
    Church Records, Ethnic Societies and Fraternal Organizations
    People tended to gather in groups, whether in a church or fraternal and cultural organizations. Church records are potentially rich sources for family historians seeking news of particular ancestors. Fraternal and cultural organization records may contain vital statistics and membership information about the local community. All are locality-based and provide insight into settlement patterns.
    College Hill Library
    April 7, 2018
    1:30 - 3:30 pm
    Writing Your Family History
    It’s never too early to put your research findings into writing. You can start with a fill-in-the-blank form, use a family tree software to collect your notes, or write your own history. Writing helps you organize your information, locate holes in your research, and create a document to pass on to your descendants.
    College Hill Library

    Free Genealogy Presentations

    Event/Date Topic Location
    Saturday, April 22, 2017
    1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Emigration and Immigration for Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England: Why Did They Leave and Why Did They Come to America? W.I.S.E. Genealogical Society
    Central (Downtown) Denver Public Library
    10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., Denver, CO, 7th floor
    Tuesday, June 6, 2017
    7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    Researching Deed Books and Land Records. Boulder Genealogical Society
    Frasier Meadows Retirement Community,
    4th Floor, Boulder, CO
    Monday, June 12, 2017
    1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Castle Garden and Ellis Island: New York Immigration Stations. Anthem Ranch Genealogical Society
    Anthem Ranch,
    16151 Lowell Blvd., Broomfield, CO
    Saturday, June 17, 2017
    10:00 am - Noon
    For Better or For Worse: Marriage, Separation, Divorce. Castle Rock Genealogical Society
    Philip S. Miller Library,
    Castle Rock, CO
    Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pmn
    Breathing Life into Your Ancestors. Broomfield Genealogical Society
    Eisenhower Public Library,
    2nd Floor, Broomfield
    Monday, Sept. 11, 2017
    1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Connecting the Dots with Charts, Timelines and FAN Club Charts. Anthem Ranch Genealogical Society
    Anthem Ranch,
    16151 Lowell Blvd., Broomfield, CO
    Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017
    7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    Identifying Ancestors with Common Surnames. Aurora Genealogical Society
    Aurora Central Library,
    14949 E. Alameda Parkway, Aurora, CO

    WriteNOW Writing Group

    Central (Downtown) Denver Public Library
    10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy., Denver, CO, 5th floor, Gates Room
    Sunday, 1:30 to 3:30 pm

    Event/Date Topic Location
    September 11, 2016 Set personal goals. Discuss different types of genealogy writing including personal memoir. Assignment for October: Write a one-page narrative of one ancestor you did not know personally. Use the fill-in-the-blank form if you prefer. Central DPL, Gates Room
    October 9, 2016 Share narratives. Assignment for November: Write a new narrative about an ancestor using either a photo of that ancestor or a document referring to that ancestor and explain its significance. Central DPL, Gates Room
    November 13, 2016 Share your ancestor story. Discuss narrative techniques and citations. Assignment for December: Write a story about your family and any holiday you choose. NOTE: Central DPL, Rockwell Room, 4th Floor
    December 11, 2016 Discuss dealing with negative information and using the positive negative. Assignment for January: Decide on your spring project and create an outline for your project. Central DPL, Gates Room
    January 8, 2017 Bring and share your project outlines. Discuss mechanics such as footnotes, photo editing, fonts, spacing, etc. Assignment: Start writing on your project. NOTE: Central DPL, Rockwell Room, 4th Floor
    February 12, 2017 Discuss formatting issues and how to set up a book format for your project. Share your first draft and compare to outline. Assignment: Continue writing on your project. Central DPL, Gates Room
    March 12, 2017 Discuss electronic publishing options. Assignment: Continue work on your project. Central DPL, Gates Room
    April 9, 2017 Discuss revisions to your project and how to smooth the narrative. Assignment: Complete your project. Central DPL, Gates Room
    May 21, 2017 Present your project to the group. Central DPL, Gates Room


    Event/Date Topic Location
    TBA . .

    Lecture Topics

    New Topics!

  • Breathing Life Into Your Ancestor. (all levels)
    Information such as occupation, education, even cause of death supplemented with newspaper stories, county histories, maps, journals and diaries can help you round out the picture of your ancestor and the world he lived in.

  • Advertising for Settlers (all levels)
    Starting with handbills promoting the fruits available by planting in Virginia in 1609, advertisers have promoted immigration, cheap land, easy transportation to the gold fields, and steady work in America. Advertising worked as a steady flow of immigrants came knocking on the golden door.

  • Cemetery Symbolism. (all levels; non-genealogy groups)
    Deciphering the messages written in stone on tombstones can enrich your understanding of your ancestor.

  • Identifying Ancestors With Common Surnames. (all levels)
    Are you stumped by the Smith, Jones and Williams families and the many John and Mary couples? Learn how to separate and identify these confusing people by establishing specific dates and locations for their births, marriages, and deaths.

  • Land, Lots of Land (all levels)
    The American continent offered land to entice immigrants from around the world. Land was given away by colonial governors, awarded as military bounty land, distributed by lottery, sold by cash sales by the U.S. government and distributed by the Homestead Act of 1862. How did your ancestor get land - and how much did he get?

  • Putting Your Research Into Writing. (intermediate - advanced)
    Whether you're writing a compiled genealogy or a family history, putting the facts on paper and bringing the ancestor to life can be challenging and fun.

  • Researching European Records Without a Passport. (intermediate - advanced)
    To succeed at European genealogy research, you must learn about the standard records of the country of your ancestors through websites, books, maps, and genealogy societies devoted to that country. The growing number of online resources will help to speed you on your way.

  • The Story's In the Newspaper - If Only I Could Find It! (all levels)
    Newspapers offer a world of personal information about the events of our ancestors' lives both happy and sad. The problem is that newspapers present a pretty big haystack. There are many new online resources available but success depends on finding the newspaper for the right date(s) and right location.
  • Using Timelines, Comparison Charts and FAN Charts to Identify Your Ancestor. (all levels)
    Collecting and recording information about your ancestor on specialized charts and timelines can help you clear up the confusion and clarify the story of your ancestor.

    Additional topics which are currently available:

  • 10 Steps to Jump Start Your Genealogical Research. (beginner)
    Genealogy is a fascinating hobby that will make you part detective, part puzzle solver. Here are 10 steps to get you started.

  • Brick Wall or Picket Fence. (intermediate - advanced)
    The things that seem to be standing in the way of your genealogical research may be easy to overcome when you have carefully identified the road block and learned effective ways to overcome it.

  • Castle Garden and Ellis Island: Immigrant doorways to New York and the U.S. (all levels)
    Castle Garden opened as a New York City facility for processing the crowds of immigrants arriving between 1855 and 1890. Ellis Island, a federal immigrant receiving station replaced it in 1891.

  • Court Records: Defendants, Judges, Jurors, Debtors, Social History. (all levels)
    Court Records offer a lot of information about the community and the time period - and you will often see your ancestor in court as a plaintiff, defendant, witness, or juror.

  • Digging into Cemeteries. (beginner - intermediate)
    Use online tools to locate the final resting place for your ancestor and find obituaries.

  • Finding 20th Century People. (all levels)
    Have you lost track of cousins, schoolmates, military buddies? There are ways to use school yearbooks, city directories, birth, marriage, and death records to locate these long lost friends.

  • Finding Your Ancestor in the Tax Records. (intermediate - advanced)
    The census taker came once every ten years and often missed people. The tax collector came every year and seldom missed anyone.

  • Going Back in Time. (beginner - intermediate)
    Travel the time machine back to learn what events affected your ancestors and perhaps caused them to leave a record behind.

  • The Immigrant Experience. (beginner - intermediate)
    Leaving your home country to set sail for America was sometimes a wrenching decision. The trip was filled with dangers and hardship, and the welcome was not always friendly. Learn about your ancestor's decision to leave the home country and the experience of journeying to America.

  • Location, Location, Location: The Key to Genealogical Success by Researching in Your Ancestor's County (all levels)
    Most genealogy records are created on the local level so it's vital that you learn as much as possible about the county boundaries, history, maps, population, geography, religions, crops, and occupations of your ancestor's hometown. When you become an expert on that location, you will find the records you're looking for.

  • The Naturalization Process. (intermediate - advanced)
    Becoming a citizen was not always easy and finding naturalization records can be a challenging task.

  • Not All Widows Have Dead Husbands. (intermediate - advanced)
    Our ancestors' marriages are often idealized -- we think of them marrying for life and living happily ever after. But research often uncovers women living apart from their husbands, women abandoning their homes and families, and even divorcing or being divorced. Learn how to recognize and account for women who don't fit into the "married for life" model.

  • Organizing Your Genealogy Research Starts With a Plan. (all levels)
    You're faced with a pile of documents, a camera card full of unlabeled photos, and more than one flash drive full of microfilm pages. When it's hard to know where to start organizing, you need to start with a goal and focus on a plan to meet that goal. The plan may include a file folder system, an index of your photos, a timeline of the life of an ancestor, or a tracking chart of records for an ancestor.

  • Researching Back Before 1850. (intermediate - advanced)
    Don't be discouraged when you learn that only the head of the household was named in censuses before 1850. You can use land records, tax records, wills and probate records, and Revolutionary War pension applications to flesh out the family.

  • Understanding U.S. Court Records (intermediate - advanced)
    The maze of courts and the numerous records may seem discouraging to a researcher, but there is treasure to be found. Jury lists can help to locate your ancestor, debt cases can explain your ancestor's financial position, road orders can provide location, and chancery records can explain settlement issues.

  • Using Census Records to Build Your Family Framework. (beginner)
    How to use census records and the amazing amount of information they contain.

  • Using Maps to Add Direction to Your Genealogy. (all levels)
    Maps come in all shapes and detail. Finding the right map can lead you all the way back to your ancestors.

  • Using Timelines to Solve Problems. (intermediate - advanced)
    Timelines can place people into historical context, they can separate people with the same names, and they can help to solve twisted document information.

  • Who Do You Think You Are? An Introduction to Genealogy. (beginner and non-genealogy groups)
    Start with yourself, your parents and your grandparents to gather information that will allow you to move backwards through census records, marriage, military, and immigration records to expand your family tree.

  • Why Did They Do What They Did? Social and Cultural Influences on Our Ancestors. (intermediate - advanced)
    People are affected by the belief system, the laws, the climate, and the technology, as well as religious and ethnic influences of the time they live in. We want to know why they do what they did.

  • Wills and Probate Records Point to Relationships. (beginner - intermediate)
    Learn how the administration and probate process can tell us about the life of the deceased and clarify family relationships.

  • Writing Up the Family Tree. (beginner and non-genealogy groups)
    Start with a goal and write one story at a time.
  • "I always learn something new when you are the speaker!" -- Susan Seager, Weld County

    Selected Genealogical Links

    Unraveling Your Past Business Card

    The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designation CG a proprietary service mark, of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by authorized associates following peer-reviewed competency evaluations. Certificate No. 459, renewed, expires 4 May 2020.