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We want to help you with your family histories & mysteries!

We are the owners, founders & genealogists of The Formidable Genealogist.

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Jen Shaffer 

I am grateful each and every day that I get to do this as my profession. I do most of our records-based research projects. I have extensive experience with records across the U.S. and Canada along with nearly all European countries and Mexico. I love working with other languages. I have a Russian degree and frequently work on projects with Slavic, Germanic, Scandinavian, Italian and Spanish-language components.

I pride myself on my ability to use creative methods to find even the most elusive ancestors and bring their stories to life. I love connecting with members of the genealogy community through daily genealogy tip videos across TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. (Links at the bottom of this page.)

Holly Bokelman 

I conduct our genetic genealogy research as well as many traditional, records-based projects. I enjoy the investigative nature of our work, whether it's breaking down genealogical brick walls, or formulating and testing theories. 


I research primarily across North America and Europe, aided by my language abilities in Spanish, French, German, and Italian.  I have a particular fondness for researching Colonial America, the Amish/Mennonite tradition, and small villages in Europe--in addition to those pioneering ancestors who moved on from their homelands and settled elswhere.

I love that I am behind the scenes, happily leaving Jen to her frequent and helpful tips on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. (Links at the bottom of this page.)


We adore what we do, and it shows in each and every client project.

Our main services encompass two main areas:

  1. Family Trees - We can start your family tree from scratch, continue research you've started or audit your research.

  2. Researching a Brick Wall - Do you have a research problem? We can help you resolve it.

Our rate is $68/hr with no minimum requirement for number of hours of research. We believe that even the smallest projects have value. We work with you and your budget to find the best path for your research project.

The quality of our work shows in our 5-star Google reviews!

Getting started:

Each project starts with hearing your research goals. We then make a recommendation of research hours to work toward your goal. To start the process, email us at

We are proud members of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the National Genealogical Society. To see summaries of our experience and research expertise, please click on our APG profiles below.

Jen's APG Profile

Holly's APG Profile

Just for visiting our RootsTech virtual booth, here is a PDF of 10 of our favorite free websites that you may not be using!

Here is a welcome video from Jen that describes our business a little more.







While Jen typically posts 2 genealogy tip videos per day across TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, here are a few greatest hits to help you in your research! See social media links at the bottom of this page to follow for more tips!

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