Jen Baldwin

Jen Baldwin

Over a decade ago, letters were discovered; questions were begging to be answered. A passion for family history was realized.
Soon enough, Jen was experiencing what so many of us have; the adrenaline flow, the addiction for historical documents, facts, new resources and cemetery visits. Since then, she has been actively researching her families’ genealogy across the western United States. Having lived in five states in her adult life, her knowledge and first-hand experience of this vast region is one that has been invaluable. This consuming hobby has now turned to profession, as she discovers another passion: discovering the history of others.


As founder of Ancestral Journeys, Jen’s professional research focuses on the Rocky Mountain corridor: from the northern border of Montana to the central foothills of New Mexico. Bringing a unique perspective to the oft researched topic of gold rush miner’s and Victorian era settlers, she contributes regularly to the history of the area, but in a way never before explored. Starting with what is essentially a blank canvas; the genealogy of early mountain residents has been an exciting new venture. You can find her research, writing and public speaking services at Ancestral Journeys.

 Ancestral Journeys

In addition to her family, she spends her time working with the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, as a tour guide, museum docent and researcher; and wrote a monthly column for The In-Depth Genealogist, “The Family Atlas”: a look at unique resources for each state within the Union. She also presents on a multitude of genealogy and technology related topics around the Rocky Mountain region.


Jen is the founder of Conference Keeper, a website dedicated to compiling all genealogy and family history related conferences, events, classes and other educational opportunities from around the world. Including everything from major national events to the local society “special presentations”, this effort offers an extremely valuable tool to the genealogical community.

Jen Baldwin was the Director of Operations for The In-Depth Genealogist. She was also the author and creator of IDG's monthly column, The Family Atlas.


Go In-Depth with Jen:

Is there one area / specialty in genealogy you would like to learn / study?

After researching my own family for over a decade now, I find myself continuously attracted to journals, diaries, daily logs, lists, receipts… anything that gives me a glimpse of what those people were doing on that day. If I could pick just one part of the genealogy spectrum to work on for the rest of my life, that would be it. Daily documents. I was lucky several years ago and found a series of diaries written by a Moravian minister serving in western Canada from 1896-1909. It was my first experience with this kind of treasure, and it hooked me. These were the years in which my ancestors were settling in this area, and the congregations were just being constructed, literally from the ground up. It was published by the Canadian Moravian Historical Society (Edmonton Chapter) in 1990, and my copy has been picked through more than once. The idea that I can pinpoint an individual’s activities on a particular day more than one hundred years ago is truly amazing.


Conference Keeper
If you could go to any conference / institute which would it be?

As the owner and editor of Conference Keeper, I am intimately familiar with the vast array of conferences, institutes, sessions, and congresses available around the globe. I have found so many that I would love to attend, and as my personal bucket list gets longer and longer, I have to ask: can anyone answer this with just one?


I have two that are “must do” on my list. First, as the daughter of an Alabama native, I cannot resist the lure of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research from Samford University in Birmingham. This would be an exceptional course, and it would be a truly incredible opportunity to do all seven tracts. Since my maternal family still resides in Birmingham, the chance to visit that city would be doubly beneficial for me, allowing me the time and ability to visit with them, conduct research, and see the cemeteries and historic sites for myself. My second choice would be “Who Do You Think You Are? Live” in London. The world’s largest genealogy conference: I just would not be able to decline.


What is your favorite blog post from your personal website?

My personal blog, Ancestral Breezes, received more than 200 posts in 2012. After my first full year of writing my blog, I am incredibly proud of this achievement, but the post(s) I feel are most significant are the series I did on my tallest brick wall; my 2nd great grandfather, Oscar F. Brown (see series here). My goal was to determine if I had indeed conducted a Reasonably Exhaustive Search in establishing his lineage, and if I could from that evaluation, make an education conclusion as to who his parents were. I learned a great deal in writing those, and re-examining my own research. It was long, involved and completely satisfying to see it all “on paper”. Not only did it help guide my research as I move into 2013, it also allowed a new “cousin” to find me, and we have since been able to share information and make even more conclusions on our mutual 3rd great-grandparents.

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© 2012 Jen Baldwin

Genealogist and Family Historian, Jen Baldwin, is the owner of Ancestral Journeys, specializing in the Rocky Mountain Corridor. She writes for a variety of publications, speaks regionally on genealogy related topics; and maintains Conference Keeper, a website designed to compile family history related events around the world. Jen also wrote The Family Atlas, a monthly column for the The In-Depth Genealogist online at You can connect with Jen on her website.

This article originally appeared on The In-Depth Genealogist and can be found here. [insert original link]