J Sanford Kruizenga, MFA

Independent Genealogist

Dismantling Brick Walls Since 2009

Genealogy isn’t just my career,
its my passion!  

“Before I became acquainted with Jay I hired the “Pro” genealogists to try to break through my other brick wall (whose claim to fame is working on the genealogy shows).  I cannot say enough about how different my experience was.  Jay’s work, both with his personal communication and documentation skills, as well as research skills far exceeded these other genealogists by a long distance…”

Kathleen Powell of Texas

My Story

From the age of 9 I have had an interest in my family history.  Sitting at the feet of my maternal grandparents I would soak in every word they told me about their early lives and those of our ancestors.  

Since that time my passion has only intensified.  I have broken through several brick walls in my own tree and  now am using my genealogical talents to assist others to do the same.  

Many of my clients offer me repeat business.  This is due to both my ability to find hidden resources and the respect I show their ancestors – treating each as I would my own.

I love what I do.  Genealogy is not only my career, it’s my passion.  I get a thrill from making new discoveries both for myself and my clients.  I seek out hidden resources and find what others couldn’t.  I don’t stop until I have the answers I seek.  

Those who have entrusted me with their brick wall problems know how I go the extra mile to find a solution to their problem.  If a solution exists…I can find it.   I know it takes a leap of faith to trust a genealogist like myself and that is why I have made my services affordable over the so-called “pros” in the industry.   

What I Do

General Research

From finding lost ancestors to researching how an ancestor died or what became of them: these are the most common daily research requests I receive. 

Reuniting Birth Parents with Children: Adoptions

Adopted?  Searching for your birth parent(s)?  Let me assist you in the process.  I have successfully matched adoptees with their birth parents and adopted ancestors with their kin.  

DNA Research

You took a DNA test…now what?  Let me define your results and help put you in contact with cousins from around the world.  

Locating Lost Graves and Buried Headstones

Been told your ancestor doesn’t have a headstone?  I have found over 100 buried headstones in the general Grand Rapids area: some that haven’t seen the light of day for over 100 years!  Let me find yours.

My Specialties & Fees

I have made my fee structure affordable.  While some “pros” charge in excess of $1500, my base fee is only $50 an hour.  I work in blocks of 10 hours.  So for $500 you get both my experience and dedication to your unique brick wall problem for 1/3 the price over my competitors.  

My specialties include:

  • Michigan Genealogy
  • Dutch Genealogy
  • Civil War (Lincoln’s War) Research
  • Early Grand Rapids History

My genealogy experience doesn’t end there.  I have researched around the globe for my clients: brought one family from Michigan, to Illinois, to Vermont and Canada; another into Canada and back to France; others back to the Netherlands and Scotland.

Dating An Early Grand Rapids Photo

I love the following glimpse into Grand Rapids' past.  Taken at 9:30 according to the tower clock in the background it is a northwestern look down Monroe Center toward the Pantlind Hotel. The photo is now in the public domain.  It was taken by the Detroit Publishing...

Finding the Father of Betty DeYoung Part 1

Betty Jane DeYoung 1921-2009 Mystery Photo that Pauline carried with her for many years.  Why? 9 September 1921 On the 9th day of September 1921, my paternal grandmother Betty Jane was born to Pauline Mastbergen.  Betty took the surname of her mother due to her being...

Don’t Wait Any Longer… 

Let’s Discover Your Ancestors Today!