Welcome to the Research Rabbit Hole - a blog series exploring all the fun, random paths we end up on at work. Today's entry is from Joan Ogwumike, Prospect Research Associate at the Obama Foundation.
Throughout our tenures as prospect researchers, we experience and conduct a genealogical search at least once – you know, the search in which a family tree is uncovered, explained, and analyzed. Well, my most recent search was unlike any before it. It was the year 2021, the Summer was hot, and Covid 19 masks were optional. The research request was based on an email from a daughter inquiring on how to get her parents more philanthropically involved with the mission. From there, my quest began – who were her parents, and what was their capacity? First, I searched high and low for more information on the daughter, learning occupation, spouse, and aha, alma mater! By knowing her alma mater, I hoped that I could find a graduation roaster. If I could find that, somewhere in the depths of Vint Cerf and Beyonce’s internet, then I could find her maiden name which would help me find her parents.
After an hour of selective keyword searches, I was able to find a scanned graduation program, and most importantly, the daughter’s maiden name. As I searched for any results on the name, I was able to find her grandmother and grandfather’s obituaries, which also listed her parents. This was a joyous moment, one of those moments when you sat back in your seat and felt accomplished because, finally, the parents were found.
But yes, now you are realizing it too…I had spent all of that time figuring out the parents’ names. Hours, spent on names, meant that now the actual prospective research was to begin.
Long story short, the parents were wealthy, what more could be said?