Today we’d like to introduce you to Valerie Wade.
Valerie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Lynnfield Historical Consulting is a major part of a vision I’ve had for most of my adult life. I love connecting people to their ancestors. Through Lynnfield, I help people see the economic, social and spiritual value of history, not through textbooks or long lists of dates, but through their own families and communities. When I moved to Houston after graduate school, I missed doing rigorous archival research. However, I did not want to rush right back into academia. People around me knew that I had a knack for history and after assisting them with some family history projects, I took a leap of faith and turned my passion into a business.
Genealogy was constantly floating in the background of my childhood. My dad was a huge fan of Alex Haley’s “Roots” and my maternal grandfather was a meticulous record-keeper. So, I always tried to wrap my head around the fact that I exist because of a perfect set of circumstances involving countless people before me. What were their lives like? What were their favorite foods? Their hobbies? Their fears? How did everyday people experience major historical events, like the Maafa (The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade), the Reconstruction Era or the Harlem Renaissance? Genealogy helped me see myself beyond my individual experiences. I want to share that feeling with others, especially Black Americans who face hurdles when researching their family histories.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Establishing and maintaining Lynnfield Historical Consulting has certainly not been a smooth road. Some struggles are internal. Not allowing myself to become comfortable with only a 9-to-5 is a hurdle. It is easy to become settled into a routine, but if that routine is not fulfilling you, you’ve got to move around. I still have lots of fears and anxieties that I continue to work on, but I am getting better at working hard and having faith in my vision and abilities.
Other struggles are external. Many people don’t know what historical consulting is, so, I must do a hefty amount of explaining and educating before I can even get to the point of securing clients. It’s not like accounting or catering, where most people are aware of your industry. I continue to face some discouragement from individuals who are convinced that history has no practical application. I stopped and started this work several times over the last few years because some of that discouragement got to me (I’m over that now)! Research shows that young people who know about their cultural history, have better self-esteem than those who don’t. Knowing about historic buildings in older neighborhoods can bring tax incentives. There are many misconceptions about genealogy and history out there. I’m doing my best to correct them.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I established Lynnfield Historical Consulting because I noticed that most people are unaware of how useful history is in our everyday lives. One day, I received a call from a landman who was attempting to find the heirs of a piece of real estate in northern Texas. The property belonged to a distant relative but I was able to offer some information because of my knowledge of my family tree. I realized two things after this interaction, that there were professionals out there struggling with genealogy and historical research, and that there are people missing out on inheritances and royalties because they don’t know their family trees. Why not use my skills and interests to fill these gaps? In this spirit, I created Lynnfield with the goal to help “Unlock Your Legacy,” whether that is through genealogy or any other form of historical research.
A historical consultant does the complicated work of researching history for clients. Historical consultants offer their expertise in a number of fields. Filmmakers hire historical consultants to ensure period pieces are accurate. Museums hire us to help create exhibits. To obtain federal funding for important buildings, local governments hire historical consultants to write proposals for historic landmark recognition.
Genealogy is the most common reason individuals hire historical consultants. Part of Lynnfield’s guiding philosophy is that it is essential for every person to have access to their extended family’s history and cultural traditions. Hiring Lynnfield can be a crucial first step in preserving your family’s history.
Lynnfield Historical Consulting distinguishes itself by focusing on storytelling. History is full of drama, comedy and inspiration. Unfortunately, most of us miss out on all the exciting parts because of the dull, mechanical way that history is taught in many schools. Lynnfield wants our clients to know that good historical interpretation is more than a recitation of dates, names and events. By hiring us, you will get context. No matter what your needs are, one thing remains true: History is crucial to comprehending our place in our communities.
What were you like growing up?
I was a bookish kid. A quintessential shy nerd. I’m dating myself but one of my most valued possessions was my Waldenbooks card. I grew up in Nacogdoches, Texas, where Stephen F. Austin State University is located. I might as well have been a student there, for all the time I spent in the library. I had thick natural hair before it was cool, when relaxers were still supreme. My mom was relatively strict, so I always felt a little behind with the latest slang and music. So, I got teased about my hair and my not-quite-fashionable clothes and my penchant for being a teacher’s pet. It wasn’t all bad, though! I have so many happy memories playing clarinet in the school band, participating in UIL Prose and Poetry competitions (I briefly thought I would be a spoken word poet when I grew up) and running around town with my sisters. Like many kids from small towns, I got away as soon as I could after high school, but as an adult, I appreciate it so much.
- Genealogy Research Packages – $100 and up
- Family Reunion Packages – $700 and up
- Ad Hoc Research Projects – $20 per hour
- Address: Houston, Texas
- Website: www.lynnfieldhistorical.com
- Phone: 832-308-8563
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lynnfieldhistorical/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LynnfieldHistorical/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/lynnfieldhc
Clint Lister II