The History Writers provides high quality, comprehensive historical services with a staff of professional researchers and writers who have over 55 years of combined experience in the areas of archival management, family history, genealogy and historical research and writing. Our growing team of professionals includes:
Brian D. Fors, Ph.D.: Historian and Archivist
Deborah L. Fors: Genealogist and Family Historian
Leah Gannon: Researcher, Copy Editor and Proofreader
Anna-Kjersten Hunsinger: Social Media Coordinator
Brian has a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Iowa and spent two years training as an Archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C.
At an early age I enjoyed reading historical narratives. Of course, I didn’t know it was called historical narrative then, I just liked the stories. By the time I went to college at Moorhead State University in Minnesota I knew I wanted to study history. At Moorhead and the University of Iowa, everything interested me: American history, Latin American history, Russian history, South African history, women’s history, frontier history, intellectual history, foreign policy, politics and local and regional history.
While finishing my dissertation at the University of Iowa, I worked for the National Archives and Records Administration. The National Archives trained me in all aspects of archival work, covering records management, acquisition, appraisal, preservation, processing and public service of historical organizations. I also had the opportunity to do this work for the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.
I research and write histories and provide comprehensive archival guidance. I focus on helping people connect to the past so they can use it as a guide for understanding the present, and then use it for directing their decisions in the future. I believe that the study of history and preserving the historical record plays an essential role in advancing the public good.
Deborah has an undergraduate degree in Scandinavian History and Culture that focused on history and the mid-19th to early-20th century immigration to the United States. She also completed a concentration in Museum Studies. Through continued professional development, she completed numerous classes, study programs and workshops through the National Genealogical Society.
I was born in Fargo, North Dakota and grew up in the mixed German/Scandinavian Community of Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, typical of many Midwestern communities in the 20th century. After graduating from high school, I went on to Moorhead (MN) State University and received a specialized undergraduate degree in Scandinavian History and Culture with a concentration in museum studies. Because of the research experience I gained with this degree, I was hired as a researcher for the University of Iowa Foundation. That was the beginning of a 25-year career in research and fundraising in Iowa, Minnesota, Maryland and Michigan.
Since moving back to Minnesota and officially retiring from fundraising in 2009, I have been able to focus full-time on family history and genealogical research. The largest research project to-date was working with NBC/TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are” episode featuring Cindy Crawford that aired in August 2013.
Services I provide include genealogy and family history research, consultation, start-up assistance and project management. While my research has primarily focused on Norwegian and German immigrants to Minnesota and the Midwest, it is not limited to these cultures and communities.
Professional Organizations and Affiliations
American Ancestors, member
Association of Personal Historians, member
Association of Professional Genealogists, member
Association of State and Local History, member
Blue Earth County Historical Society, former board member
Family Search, Historical Records indexer
Find A Grave, volunteer and contributor
Minnesota Genealogical Society, member
Minnesota Historical Society, member
National Genealogical Society, member
Nicollet County Historical Society, member
Organization of American Historians, member
Society of American Archivists, member
We abide by and subscribe to the following professional codes of ethics: