Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dana Saylor & Old Time Roots

I'm a history nerd. One of those real annoying ones who has a comment to make whenever something historical can be brought up. On a recent trip to DC with my boyfriend, his six year old son, and family, I often gave long explanations on the history of monuments and little known facts about Presidents. I expected a captivated audience, because who doesn't want to know who James Kilroy was during World War II? However, I quickly was talking to the back of a six year old's head as he thought to himself, "here she goes again" and ran off in the other direction. 

Fast forward a few weeks later; I'm sitting at my desk in my office at work when I receive a phone call from Dana Saylor, a local historian  and genealogist wanting to visit the archives at St. Mary's School for the Deaf to research for a client. She came in to meet with me a week or so later, and I was absolutely fascinated by what she did for a living. 

After that initial meeting with Dana I often thought about what she did and how important it is to this area. There are so many things that impress me about Buffalo, but I love how important tradition and "roots" are to the people of this area. 

I contacted Dana, and asked her if we could chat some more about her business Old Time Roots. Old Time Roots is a small business based out of Buffalo that helps clients go back in time and learn about the history of their family or property. Old Time Roots offers professional genealogy research as well as property research. Once a consultation appointment is set up with clients, Dana can determine how much time she will need to research, and can price quote based on the depth of the project. She typically charges around $25 per hour for her services, but package deals can be worked out during the consultation appointment. 

Dana, who grew up in Sterling, NY, studied Studio Art and Art History at Oswego College and graduated in 2001. While studying art history, some of the classes had to do with architecture, and Dana really enjoyed learning about the history behind buildings. After graduating she really wanted to learn more about "where she came from" and traveled to Italy to do some research. After finding out so much on her family and enjoying what she did, she decided to start up the business Old Time Roots in 2009. 

Dana loves a new challenge and says the most satisfying part of the job is finding out that piece of information her clients have been looking for. Putting together the pieces for her clients can be difficult, and there can be many roadblocks, but Dana is very creative in finding answers. 

"Clients should hire me because I love history. I live for research and finding out information about this area. While I love researching online and using the newest technology, I am well versed in traditional research methods so my clients get the best of both worlds. I am dedicated to each "mystery" I am trying to solve. " Dana told me.

I could tell the passion in Dana's voice as we spoke and was thrilled to see another Buffalonian deeply rooted in this area. While Dana didn't grow up in Buffalo, within a few months of moving here she found a great community of people and felt like she had lived here her whole life. Dana and her husband are also artists, and Buffalo is a great spot for artists to independently work and be successful. 

As is the case with most of the people I interview, we quickly start talking about the city and when I asked Dana what her favorite thing about Buffalo is, the answer was easy, "The people! The people in Buffalo make it all come to life here. They are so open hearted and willing to help. I'm always blown away by how incredible the people are here. It makes my work so much easier and enjoyable!" 

As I wrapped up my interview with Dana, I asked her how one would get started if they wanted to begin property research or diving into their family history. Her suggestions included checking out your attic or basement for old photos or documents you may have tucked away in a box. Many pieces to the puzzle could be sitting in your home, or could be discovered by chatting with some of your relatives, or even neighbors. 

Once you start to find some of the pieces (or if you aren't sure where to start), 
you can contact Dana at (315) 525-7474. Her website is and you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Dana inside Thin Ice on Elmwood

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