About Claire

Claire's my name, genealogy's my game.

Claire Gene Esker began her interest in genealogy at age 21, when she realized no one had documented her grandfather's Polish family. Since that time, a series of lucky strokes, serendipity, and good detective skills helped her earn a place in the University of Strathclyde's Genealogic, Palaeographic, and Heraldic Studies Program. She graduated with merit in 2020 with her thesis on Polish American women in Chicago during the turn of the 19th century.

Since then, she's been published in Morasha, the newsletter of the Illinois Jewish Genealogical Society on the subject of women's ethical wills and described her thesis in Rodzinny, the journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America, where she also serves as a volunteer researcher.

A member of the Register of Qualified Genealogists and the Association for Professional Genealogists, Claire is continuing her education at the National Institute of Genealogical Studies and through ProGen 56.

Vision, Mission, and Values

My Vision

At Past Forward Family History, the historical and cultural experiences of families are incredibly valuable. They can give us a sense of closure, a feeling of belonging, and an understanding that we are not alone, either in our own communities or in the whole of the wider human family.

My Mission

My aim is to help clients discover and understand the influences that brought them to where they and their families are today by recounting the experiences of their ancestors with sensitivity, humanity, and the addition of necessary context.

My Values

Past Forward Family History values a few important ideas:

· All families and individuals are worthy of respect.

· Families are unique in their makeup and experience.

· We owe our ancestors an honest remembrance of their lives.

· Understanding our histories can help us build bridges to respect.

· The young benefit from seeing their lives as part of a larger story.

· As a family historian, it is my responsibility to keep learning and growing.