How My Baby Sister Inadvertently Named My Genealogy Business

Last fall, the “situation” was hurtling violently toward “emergency.” I really needed a website for my genealogy business. I’d done a project with a local cemetery preservation committee and had a speaking engagement coming up with some opportunities for more. Now, I’d been self-employed for 18 years by that point. One of the lessons I learned the hard way was literally that you promote yourself or you starve. 

I needed a website. And for that I needed a company name.

But I was drawing a blank. I’d even purchased a genealogy related domain name but it just didn’t feel right. So I brainstormed. I wrote notes. I looked up genealogy and family history related quotes. I googled genealogy business names. Y’all know as someone who works in tech and writes for a living that I have serious doubts about the “stealing artists’ work” aspects of AI, but I even asked an AI for some genealogy company names around my area of specialty.

Times were that desperate. 

I had some ideas. Maybe something around “detectives” or “detecting” since I characterize my approach to genealogy as solving puzzles without preconceptions. Or maybe something around the word copper. My film production company is Copperhead Media (yes, like the mean little snake) so something else “copper” related would be good for what the money folks call “branding.”

But what? Copper Coin? Nope, that was a charming but now-defunct nearby coffee shop. Copperplate? Copperleaf? Sounds like a printing press. Not Southern-focused enough. Coppersmith? Hmm. Maybe. A little esoteric. I like the industrial feel, though. 

But hey, I still had two weeks to go until my next speaking engagement. Plenty of time to put this aside until measures grew truly desperate.

Meanwhile…My little sister, Amy, has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. From the time we brought her little 2 lb. 9 oz. ball of ginger-headed cuteness home from the hospital months after her preemie birth until right now she has always lived in our childhood home with our mom. 

Me, age 4 and Amy, age Infant, with the base of my rocking horse Silver in the background. Silver was sold at a yard sale not long after this new child arrived at my house and I’m still contemplating all the ramifications of this trade. Although she was pretty cute, Silver was MAJESTIC.

But I’m not the only Dunn sister working on making a big change. I’m over here changing careers. Amy, after meeting up with the good folks at local non-profit Circle of Friends, is working toward moving out into a home of her own.

See, the folks at Circle of Friends are also big dreamers. And just like me and Amy, their money is where their mouth is. They’re making and executing big plans to build a housing community where adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities can live on their own, with integrated community support, right here in Cherokee County, Georgia. (Find out more about Circles of Friends’ big plan here.)

Anybody who has ever spent significant time with Amy and I together knows that I am all about Amy moving out on her own. Is this because she literally stole my childhood bedroom the instant I moved out and turned it into half of her current massive two-room suite where she now lives and has every worldly possession she ever possibly want? Poll an air-mattress full of eldest daughters who might have liked to spend the night back at home once in a while for your answer to that question. 

That time Amy, age 8, was in a half-body cast for 6 weeks while I, age 12ish, was mistaken for a boy by elders a few times at stores due to my unfortunate haircut. I’m sure you’ll agree we were both experiencing an equally challenging summer.

I’m kidding. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my oldest pal and very first best friend. And with impetus from Circle of Friends, Amy has been really learning about life on her own. She took a cooking class! She plays baseball! We’ve had a frank conversation about monthly, periodic, and annual bills! 

Amy at the cooking class which I, the elder sister upon whose wise counsel she must rely, encouraged her to sign up for and yet only got one (1) hot meal out of!

Physical aspects of her cerebral palsy make driving unsafe for my little sis, but Amy has devilishly used this to her advantage by finagling a legion of willing chauffeurs into ferrying her to and fro. And these days, since we won’t always be around to get her where she’s going, one of my favorite things to do is encourage her to know where the heck she is on this earth. 

So every time I wear my Wheelchair Van Chauffeur Top Hat these days, I’m constantly asking Amy, “What county are we in? Which way are we going to turn up there to get to Dad’s house? What highway is this? What’s our exit number?”

Despite the scowl on her face during these quizzes and the irritation in her voice as she begrudgingly answers me, I know my beloved little sister adores how the time we spend together has suddenly and inescapably transformed into an Amy-specific geography class.

So there we were. Two weeks to go until my presentation. I was driving Amy to our dad’s house. Geography class was getting real. Now not only did I expect our future solo home occupant to know what roads she was on, I expected her to start learning the names of both original neighborhoods and esoteric landmarks.

Me: They call this community Sunnyside! 

Amy: Okay?

Me: (points to the left) There’s a really old cemetery up that road that needs a lot of repairing. 

Amy: (sighs) Are we going to another cemetery?

(Reader, don’t you worry about that other cemetery visit. We were there for like two minutes and that barely even made us late for cooking class!)

Me: Um… Guess not. And what we’re driving up now is called Copper Mine Hill because there used to be…. Copper…. Mines….

Amy: Jennifer. JENNIFER. Are you having a stroke?

And there it was. Copper Mine Genealogy

Copper Mine Hill is a special landmark in my hometown. Our awesome dad grew up on land that used to belong to the old copper mines. And copper mining and all that it entails is reminiscent of the poor, hardworking, hard to find people that I specialize in recovering from the records. 

There was absolutely no better name. Plus, it meant I got to organically incorporate Strange George the Donkey in my business. Everything is better with donkeys. Even genealogy businesses. 

So thanks, Aim-o, for helping me figure out my own business name by also being invaluably helpful to you in your quest to live on your own. You’re welcome, Little Red!

Amy’s and my first season in Miracle League Baseball. As the player, her job is to hit the ball and wheel the bases, both of which she excels at. As the Buddy (yes, my official title!), mine is to make sure she doesn’t get hit by throwing my body in front of hers thus creating moments of high drama.

2 thoughts on “How My Baby Sister Inadvertently Named My Genealogy Business”

  1. I think it’s a great name, has a pleasant ring to it, and very appropriate! I love that you know so much about Cherokee County. My family is from all over the place, making me a genealogical jack-of-all-trades, master of none!

    • The flip side of that is that I didn’t realize what all types of records are out there for a long, long time. (Town records in New England?!? What a treasure!) But it is very nice to be so deeply rooted in a county, for sure! Thank you for reading & commenting!


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