Mike St. Clair's Home Page
My Other Websites
Welcome! I'm pleased that you could drop by.
I'll admit right up front that most of the information here is probably useless to you, but some of it may be interesting. If you are a genealogist, there are links to potentially valuable areas on the Web that I have created or that I maintain.
Although it might be hard to believe for such a young, vibrant looking chap, I'm the father of seven and grandfather of fourteen!. Since I was also raised with eight brothers and sisters, along with oodles of cousins, family is pretty important to me. I grew up in Idaho where I learned to appreciate natural beauty and the ability to get away from crowds. After high school I spent two years as a missionary in Appalachia, where "kinship" and the beauties of the "hills and hollers" are very important. I didn't learn until later that many of my own ancestors lived in Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. My five years in Southern California were hard for a country boy, but while there I was introduced to the best thing in my life - a lovely California girl who is now my wife. After my schooling at Long Beach City College, Cal State Long Beach, and Brigham Young University, I lived for sixteen years in the Washington DC area.
The historical and genealogical resources available in Washington are wonderful but I learned the hard way that commuting four hours a day was incompatible with my happiness. Now I'm a resident of the great state of Utah where I work from home most days and seldom have to drive to Salt Lake more than a couple of times a month. It sure doesn't make me long for those hours of stop and go on Shirley Highway and I-270. When I'm not at work or glued to my computer at home, I enjoy getting out of doors into the mountains, the canyons, and the deserts where I hike, fish, back-pack, camp, observe nature, and see the sights. My family are my favorite companions in all these activities. And most of us also enjoy participating in, or cheering each other on, in sports like basketball, softball, football, soccer, volleyball, horseshoes - you name it; we like it. And just don't bother trying to get through to me (or most of my kids and grandkids) during college basketball's championship tournament. We have a big family trophy on the line on this one and it's spent time in many of our homes during the past 15 years.
My wife Anna is my best friend and my sweetheart. In March 2009 we
celebrated spending forty two wonderful years together. We've proved
that a boy from
"sticks" and a girl from the big city (Long Beach, California)
can not only get along together, but thrive. Anna is an exceptionally talented
pianist who fills my life with good music.
In 2009, Anna and I have launched an enterprise called Genealogy by Saints, which provides professional research services
to those who want extra help in researching their family history. We offer a strong combination of genealogy/technology training and
experience to the table. Please note that we have an increasing number of free useful resources available at our website that most
genealogist and researchers will find useful, even if they are not looking to hire someone to assist them. I've been elected President
of the Salt Lake Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists for 2011 and am looking forward to supporting an excellent
group of professionals in improving their ability to do effective, quality research in behalf of clients.
I spent a good part of my working career helping implement computers and networks at the U. S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. While there I helped implement the first terminal-based computer systems in support of the House; also one of the earliest large-scale local area networks in the country, connecting thousands of terminals and hundreds of computers on Capitol Hill. I enjoyed and learned a great deal from the technical challenges involved. It was also very interesting (although sometimes disheartening!) to learn more about our country's political process from the Washington perspective. But I survived that experience, and returned from it having seen far more positive than negative about the institutions there. And I met and worked for two individuals at polar opposites on the spectrum of politicians I'm sure. At the top end was Congressman Augustus Hawkins of California, and at the bottom was Congressman Wayne Hayes of Ohio, both of whom supervised the computer organization during part of my time in Washington. There is no doubt that Mr. Hawkins was the best loved and Mr. Hayes the most hated. Guess who was responsible for the most progress? It sure wasn't the congressman from Ohio!
For seven years, I was Manager of Network Administration for Geneva Steel in Utah Valley where I was responsible for building a plant-wide fiber optic backbone and planning for implementation of ATM. Geneva was the only integrated manufacturer (from raw materials) of steel in the Western United States and they had a well-earned reputation as one of the cleanest steel mills in the world. Alas, in recent years they were seriously impacted by the general problems in the U.S. steel industry and they are now gone for good.
For another seven years I provided similar support for Dynix in Provo, Utah. Over time they were also known as Ameritech Library Services and epixtech. They have now merged with another company named Sirsi. There I was a working, hands-on manager of a group managing internal company networks and computers that supported internal company systems. Since we were heavily involved with the Internet and with libraries all around the world, I was really excited to be there. I love libraries and use them a lot.
During my college years, while my buddies were falling in love with co-eds, I fell in love with computers and took every computer-related class I could find. (Aha! I saw that word "nerd" flash through your mind! I'll have you know that back during the pre-cyber days they called us "brains" and it was usually a positive statement, not a put-down.) During my senior year studying accounting, Brigham Young University began offering a computer science degree. By sticking around a little longer, I met the requirements for both degrees and I became a member of the first class of computer scientists to graduate from BYU. I REALLY enjoy working (and playing) with computers. Sometimes it seems almost a sin to get paid for doing something that's so much fun. Whoops! I hope my boss doesn't read this far.
In order to harness and meld my enthusiasm for family, computers, and genealogy I've become a writer and electronic publisher for genealogists. My work has appeared in publications like the NGS/CIG Digest, Genealogical Computing, Pioneers, and the Journal of Online Genealogy. My other "publications" circulate on computer bulletin board systems, commercial electronic networks, and the Internet. In some cases I'm the author; in others I've cooperated with the author to create an electronic version of a publication I feel has value to the online community of genealogists; in yet other cases I've just helped get something online that was totally created by someone else. Elsewhere in these pages you will find links to my other web pages.
During May 1998, while enjoying a great National Genealogical Society Conference in Denver, I received the surprise of my life. I had been told that I should be in attendance at the Friday night banquet as I would be receiving an award. When Anna and I arrived, we were surprised to be escorted to the front to sit at a table with President Shirley Wilcox, Executive Director Fran Shane, and several NGS Directors. At the end of the awards ceremony, it was announced that I had been elected a Fellow of the Society, rarified company indeed. It was a great honor, which I do not feel worthy of, but that I will treasure always. The esteem of such a classy organization, and such great individuals, means a lot to me. I'm grateful for the opportunity I've had to be a part of NGS and through it to provide service to the world-wide community of genealogists.
One of my greatest pleasures and passions in life is my involvement in USGenWeb, an all volunteer organization that is devoted to providing free resources on the Internet for genealogical researchers. Over the past ten years I've served on their board, as a state coordinator, and county coordinator for several counties. At present I'm the county coordinator for Teton County Idaho. There are coordinators for every US county and one for every state. There are also some special projects with corresponding volunteers focused on areas like African American research, Tombstones, etc.
In an effort to improve my research and writing talents when it comes to genealogy, I've decided that over the next couple of years I will be attempting to earn some performance based credentials in this area. The CG® (Certified Genealogist) credential is awarded by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. The AG® (Accredited Genealogist) credential is awarded by ICAPGen - The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists. Both are superb organizations. Both have a demanding application and approval process. I have decided that I will be applying first to become Accredited for the Mountain States Region with ICAPGEN. Once I succeed with that I will be moving on to the BCG. I've found these folks really know their "stuff" and I would like to join that sort of crowd.
Having been a long time publisher on the Internet, I've been through the web hosting wars and have
tried many different hosting providers. Unfortunately, in the process I have had some very unpleasant
experiences as providers have failed, servers have gone belly up, and support organizations have treated
their clients badly. I think I have finally found a provider that is inexpensive while watching out
for their customers needs. They provide phone support, not just trouble ticket based support, and to
my delight I found them to be located within a few miles of my home. If good support and excellent performance, and low prices for a massive unlimited GB of disk storage and including a free domain name sounds unbelievable, you should take a look at "bluehost"
which I now use exclusively.