Jenny Lanctot

Jenny LanctotJenny began her genealogical journey back in 1990, after her grandfather passed away after years of unsuccessfully trying to find his birth parents, and she inherited all of his research.  After many years of fits and starts, she began researching in earnest and hasn’t stopped.  Now her tree is filled with hoodlums, ne’er-do-wells, and farmers. Don’t forget the farmers.  She still has no idea who her grandfather’s parents were, but is hopeful that DNA will help solve the mystery.

Jenny supports her genealogy habit by working as a Paralegal in a small law firm in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude with an AAS in Paralegal Studies from Chattanooga State Community College in 2011, after an 18-year hiatus.  Clearly, persistence is in her blood.

When she isn’t working, you can find Jenny pursuing her true passions: genealogy and writing.  She has a personal blog Are My Roots Showing? where she incorporates both. She serves as Secretary, Webmaster, and Social Media Director for the Chattanooga Delta Genealogy Society.  She is a regular contributor to the society’s blog Off-Shoots, and has written several articles for the society quarterly Southern Roots & Shoots.  Jenny is also a regular contributor to the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ blog FGS Voice.

Jenny completed the Intermediate Genealogy and Historical Studies course at Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in 2013, and is now a proud member of ProGen 24.  In addition to becoming a professional genealogist, she hopes to eventually earn certification by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

Go In-Depth with Jenny:

What is one tip you would give a newbie genealogist?
I’m totally going to cheat on this one and turn my one tip into many: read my “Getting Started” column in Going In-Depth!  A little birdie told me that there will be lots of tips for new genealogists (and maybe even a little something for everyone else too).

Is there one area/specialty in genealogy you would like to learn/study?
I’ve always wanted to know everything about land records because it’s a pretty safe bet that if there was one thing people were keeping records of, it was land ownership and transfers, which makes it a pretty reliable area.  The various federal, state, county, and local laws regarding such things as who could own land and what you were required to do (or prohibited from doing) are fascinating.

What are your feelings about adding non-blood related lines into your research? (i.e. adoptive, step families, etc.)
Because my grandfather was adopted at the age of 4 and we still haven’t been able to find his birth parents, I’ve been researching his adopted family (they are a very colorful bunch).  And even though they aren’t blood related, they did help my shape my grandfather into the man I knew and loved.  And if it wasn’t for that family, I might not even BE here.  Sometimes there is more to “family” than just blood.

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© 2014 Jenny Lanctot

Jenny Lanctot writes regularly on her own blog Are My Roots Showing? ( and is a frequent contributor to the Chattanooga Delta Genealogy Society blog ( and quarterly publication, Southern Roots & Shoots.  She is the author of Going In-Depth's bi-monthly column Getting Started, and contributes to The In-Depth Genealogist blog. You can find The In-Depth Genealogist online at

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