IDG Introduces Melissa Barker

Melissa Barker has been a Certified Archives Manager for the Houston County, Tennessee Archives since 2010. She has also been a Professional Genealogist, working with genealogy clients, since 2004. She is very passionate about teaching others about researching in archives, finding unique records in archives and records preservation. Melissa, a.k.a. The Archive Lady, lectures, teaches and writes about these subjects in various venues across the United States about how to find their ancestors in archived records. Melissa lives in the Middle Tennessee area and specializes in Tennessee genealogy research. She has been researching her husband’s Tennessee ancestors for 27 years and continues that research today. Melissa’s own ancestry is in the areas of West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania and she enjoys researching her family from a distance by contacting and working with various archives in those areas. She has been married to her husband for 29 years and they have one grown daughter.

Melissa is a member of the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society, Society of Tennessee Archivists and Society of American Archivists. She is on the board of directors of her local Houston County Historical Society and the board of directors of the local Chamber of Commerce. She is well known for her informative webinars and lectures. She has written articles for several genealogical and archival publications. She writes a bi-weekly column for her local newspaper The Stewart-Houston Times called From the Archives. She is also the Reviews Editor for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Quarterly Magazine FORUM where she works with publishers to obtain the latest genealogical books to review for the FGS FORUM readers. She is also a regular contributor to Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems podcast.

Her love of genealogy, archives and eagerness to share her passion with others lead her to create The Archive Lady in 2015. As The Archive Lady, she talks to genealogists across the world about their intimidations of researching in archives and being overwhelmed trying to preserve their family records. She writes a popular blog entitled A Genealogist in the Archives where she posts helpful advice on the best techniques for researching in archives and great how-to posts on records preservation. Melissa writes a bi-weekly column for Thomas MacEntee’s Abundant Genealogy called The Archive Lady where she answers reader’s questions on the topics of archived records and preserving precious family records.

Melissa’s column The Archive Lady’s Corner in the Going In-Depth digital magazine will give readers quick tidbits of information that will help them when they are researching in archives, libraries, historical societies, genealogical societies, university archives and even museums! She will be sharing her knowledge of records preservation and how to find unique records in archives from working in an archive on a daily basis.   

About Terri O'Connell

Terri O’Connell is a professional genealogist in the Chicago area, focusing on Midwestern United States Genealogy, with a main focus in Illinois and a special interest in Irish research. She is also the owner of Cruise Planners – O’Connell Cruise and Travel (, a full service travel company. Their mission is to encompass the full family: vacations, reunions, and history travel. Terri is a travel enthusiast with a passion for genealogy and enjoys bringing the two together to assist her clients in their travel needs. You can find Terri online at, or you can find her at for all things genealogy. Terri is the Executive Director of The In-Depth Genealogist.

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