Holly J. Sammons | Curriculum Vitae

2105 W. Genesee St. Suite 211, Syracuse, NY 13219 | genealogy@820research.com | 315.625.1160

Career History

820 Research, Syracuse, NY
Professional Genealogist (2017-present) www.820research.com
Owner and operator of 820 Research, a genealogy consulting business.  Work with a variety of clients on topics including but not limited to:

  • Forensic genealogy
  • Lineage society applications
  • Probate research
  • DNA research
  • Dual citizenship applications
  • Brick wall research
  • And more…

Genealogy and History Librarian (2005-2016) – Onondaga County Public Library, Syracuse, NY

While working in a regionally acclaimed genealogy and history library, I provided reference and research assistance in the fields of Syracuse and Onondaga County history and with all aspects of genealogy. As part of a 3-librarian team in this 100+ year old special library collection, I assisted with multiple levels of research and with a myriad of patrons many of them from around the United States.

In addition to many projects and initiatives throughout my tenure in the Local History and Genealogy Department, I worked directly with patrons on an average of 3-5 hours daily, providing public service almost exclusively at the reference desk.

Some of the work accomplished in my role as librarian in the Local History and Genealogy Department (LHG):

  • Provided in-depth reference assistance to patrons doing genealogy research – in person, through email, over the telephone and occasionally through the U.S. post.
  • Served as department head for seven years. In this position I:
    • Supervised 2 full time staff, and at different times from 3-6 part time staff. Also supervised Syracuse University graduate school interns on approximately 6 occasions, some from the library school others from the collaborative program with the anthropology and museum studies program.
    • Through assistance from RBDB grants and interns initiated a multi-year project to complete comprehensive cataloging of the Local History and Genealogy Department holdings, including many records that were omitted from all previous cataloging projects, such as serials, local collections and manuscripts.  This multi-year cataloging project reached a >85% completion of the Local History and Genealogy Collection.
  • With other department librarians, I supervised and began the initiative to create and publish online Finding Aids of some of the department’s larger collections, increasing public access to the library holdings.
  • Initiated a multi-year digitization project with Family Search to scan and publish online, thousands of books from the LHG collection.  With its involvement in this project, OCPL became one of 5 partners that Family Search worked with on this massive scanning initiative.  As of the first of May 2018, OCPL has over 6000 volumes scanned and available online for public use.  This was a truly significant project that opened up and made available the LHG historical collection to the public world-wide.
  • As the project leader of the Family Search scanning project, I oversaw 4-6 daily volunteers, and supervised library staff’s participation in the work needed to maintain the project, including bibliographic work, conservation work and more.
  • Lectured extensively in and around Onondaga County, including but not limited to:
    • Town of Onondaga Historical Association
    • Onondaga County Libraries – Marcellus, Onondaga Free, Dewitt, Fayetteville, Salina Free and more
    • Central New York Genealogical Society
    • New York State Family History Conference – 2016.
    • NYLA – New York State Library Assoc. Conference
    • NYS Archives Annual Conference 2012, Nazareth College
    • Town of Camillus Historical Society
    • NYS County Clerks, District 5 Conference
    • One-hour interview on the “Forget Me Not” genealogy radio hour.
    • Webinar with the New York State Biographical and Genealogical Society.
  • Wrote a number of successful grants including:
    •  LSTA grants
    • NYS Conservation/Preservation Discretionary Grants
    • CLRC Grants – RBDB retrospective cataloging grants for several consecutive years.
  • Served as department consultant in charge of the department’s web pages.
  • Spearheaded and developed online databases featuring public access to unique library genealogy content. These online databases used the InMagic Database Software, a suite of tools that allow records and information to be published online and made available for remote access to library content.
  • Maintained and update all technology in the department.
  • Developing an online image archive database in conjunction with Dr. David Lankes from Syracuse University. This project included digitization and preservation of a large collection of images – currently numbering 700+

Reference Librarian (1997-2005) – Onondaga County Public Library, Syracuse, NY

Throughout my tenure at OCPL, I have been responsible for a variety of tasks, been in charge of a number of different specialties and initiated a number of innovative programs.

  • 1999-2002 Jobs and Education Librarian – oversaw the job information center, worked with a number of community and government groups to provide job seeking assistance to the people of Onondaga County.
    • Held monthly job information session for the public
    • Developed a new monthly program with the assistance of the Onondaga County Personnel Department, CNY Works, Regional Learning Center and the NYS Department of Labor. This unique monthly program, titled First Tuesdays, was a successful collaboration of different job providers to assist the unemployed.
    • Due to the success of this program OCPL was written up for several years in the annual publication, “What Color Is Your Parachute.”
  • 1999-2005 Film Librarian – in charge of collection development of the Central Library’s large feature film collection. This included the foreign language collection which I still am in charge of. The foreign language collection has developed into one of the most unique and successful collections at OCPL
  • 2001-2006 Digital Reference Librarian – after writing 2 grant proposals I received assistance from Dr. David Lankes to start a virtual reference service at OCPL.   This virtual reference service which began in February 2003 was the only virtual reference program at a public library in NY State outside of one that was running in Suffolk County, Long Island.
    • Wrote and was awarded an LSTA grant to market and promote OCPL’s virtual reference – then called AskOn. Through this grant I spent the better part of one year promoting and demonstrating all of the remote reference services of the library to public and school libraries, businesses, and local organizations.
    • In 2003 the Post Standard’s technology writer, Jan Dempsey, awarded OCPL the distinction of being on her list of top 10 technologies of the year, for the library’s remote reference service.
    • Trained OCPL staff including staff at branch and member libraries in staffing and using virtual reference.
    • Made several professional presentations of virtual reference including at NYLA and CLRC.
  • 1997-2005 General Reference Librarian, working mainly in the Central Library’s reference department, I have also been trained to work at each service location at that library.
    • In charge of telephone reference for 2 years, I oversaw the reference collection, maintained in-house reference materials that were used by telephone reference staff and trained new staff providing all aspects of remote reference – telephone, mail and virtual.
    • Assisted with collection development on numerous occasions, weeding and selection in specific areas, including but not limited to jobs, careers, technologies, and art.
    • Taught a wide selection of classes, many given at the Central Library or Staff Development Day or at branch and member libraries.

Indexer (1996-1998) Independent contractor, freelancer

    • Worked with Jean Armour Polly on two major projects:
      • Internet Kids Yellow Pages and Internet Kids and Family Yellow Pages – two very popular books written by Armour Polly, assisted with editing, and indexing.
      • ThinkQuest Web Site – worked again with Armour Polly on cataloging and indexing this well-known website.

Internship (1996) TextWise, Syracuse University, Dr. Elizabeth Liddy, President.

While finishing a master’s degree in library science, I worked for Dr. Elizabeth Liddy on an innovative web indexing project at TextWise – Liddy’s company was involved with several natural language processing projects. This internship gave me the opportunity to not only work on a cutting edge project but hone my technology and indexing skills.

Education and Professional Credentials

ProGen Study – currently a member of the 37th class of ProGen which will be completed in June of 2019

Association of Professional Genealogists – current member.

Certification in Genealogical Research – Boston University, Boston, Mass.  2017

Public Librarian Certification – New York State Department of Education – 1998

Master of Library Science, Syracuse University, 1997

Legal Assistant Certification, Syracuse University, 1990

Bachelor of Science – Sociology, University of the State of NY, 1989


 APGAssociation of Professional Genealogists

Central New York Genealogical Society

 New England Historic Genealogical Society

 National Genealogical Society

 New York Genealogical & Biographical Society

Volunteer Work

 Central New York Genealogical SocietyCurrent President,  Program Chair and member of the Tree Talks editorial committee.

The New School of SyracuseBoard Member 2011-2018

Interreligious Food Consortium – Board Member 2017-current

References Available Upon Request