President and CEO, New York Genealogical and Biographical Society
MSLIS, MA, Simmons College, Boston, 2010
As president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies for four years, he helped raise $3 million to digitize records from the War of 1812
Photo courtesy of Genealogy Roadshow
Family Tree Arborist
You might say that genealogy runs in the family for D. Joshua Taylor. Taylor had been studying family trees for years bfore he made his name helping to bring the study of them to PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow as one of three starring genealogists. He got his start from his grandmother when he was only eight.
This lifelong hobby, and the genealogists he met along the way, led Taylor to pursue library work. “Understanding how these two worlds intersected was key for me to see opportunities for my own career,” he says.
Working with different libraries on the show and in other pursuits, Taylor has helped to highlight the many ways librarians are go-to resources for all genealogists, as guides to online services and by leveraging their own on-site collections.
“Customers need help using the subscription websites, understanding what resources are there, and then learning how to access the millions of sources not online,” says Taylor. “The truth is, more than half of my research takes place offline, at archives, libraries, [etc.].” Showcasing these collections was a big part of what made working on Genealogy Roadshow attractive. “I’ve [heard from] librarians [who] have seen consistent increases in patron visit[s]” when the show airs, he says.
With Roadshow on indefinite hiatus, Taylor now heads the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society as it prepares for its 150th anniversary. “Joshua is working to use technology, media, and tradition to create a fundamental digital nonprofit for genealogy and family history in New York,” says Simmons SLIS dean Eileen Abels.