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Ricki-Sue-King-Genealogist-and-Owner us wearing a yellow shirt with glasses. The background is the Iowa Capitol.

Roots to Branches Genealogy specializes in forensic genealogy cases involving identifying unknown or missing heirs, probate cases, and family history research.

Most people want to learn about their family history but don't have the time or know where to begin. We research for you.


Ricki King is a 2015 certificate holder in Boston University's Genealogical Research program, holds a BA in History from Drake University, completed Progen, and attended several genealogy institutes. She is passionate about providing opportunities and resources to inspire and support current genealogists and the next generation. She is the founder of Roots to Branches Genealogy, LLC, author of "A Father's [Lynching? Murder?] Provides A Possible Motive for an African American Woman's use of Multiple Maiden Names," which ran in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Volume 109, No. 1, (March 2021) and a webinar presenter for the Iowa History 101 Series: "Iowa's Black Migration: Into, Around, Out of, and Back Again, and "Forever Free: Rediscovering Heroes, Heroines & Helpers of Central Iowa's Underground Railroad." She presents Pre-Beginning Genealogy lectures at local public libraries. Ricki's genealogy enthusiasm started while working for thirty-one years at John Deere Financial, from where she retired in 2019 to pursue her genealogy passion full time.

As of 5 January 2022, Ricki took office as a member voted in Director with the Association of Professional Genealogists, an international group. As of 2021, Ricki is the Vice President of the Iowa Historical Foundation, which works with the State Historical Society of Iowa.

In the Spring and Summer of 2021, during COVID, Ricki worked with the Forever Free Mentoring Pilot Program, mentoring a high school and a college student, helping to research twenty-two people possibly buried at Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa. The persons examined were known to have helped or used the underground railroad as freedom seekers. Some freedom seekers also served in Iowa's 60th Colored infantry during the Civil War.

Ricki working with local, state, and federal agencies to preserve history, submitted their application on fifteen individuals to the National Park Service's National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. As a result, an announcement was made on 30 September 2021 that Woodland cemetery is accepted into the Network. In addition, History Quest, a separate program involving Woodland cemetery. Ricki recorded videos containing the UGRR research used in the application, which will play once a QR code next to a headstone is scanned.

While volunteering as a death certificate indexer with the State Historical Society of Iowa, Library (SHSI), and Archives Research Center, she noticed fetal death records were forever closed. Ricki's zeal and dedication have benefited the genealogy community with her two years of lobbying the state legislature to change Iowa law on access to fetal death records. Finally, her follow-through opened all Iowa death records after 50 years. She continues her work to help all genealogists and historians by serving as Vice President on the SHSI Iowa Historical Foundation Board and volunteering.

In 2020 Ricki ran for President of the United States on the Iowa ballot, making history as the first Black person born and raised in Iowa to run. She did this while promoting genealogy by naming her party Genealogy Know Your Family History Party. Thus, every time her accomplishment is mentioned, her party's unusual name will also be. In her spare time, she is researching 333 Blacks living in Iowa on the 1850 United States federal census, following them through to the 1900 United States federal census.


  • "Butterflies glide from floor to ceiling in an exhibition reflecting Black American migration," Talk of Iowa with Charity Nebbe, January 2023.

  • "Ricki King, Genealogy Business Owner," Host: Coffee with Cleo part 1 with Cleo Franklin, Dec 2020.          

  • "Ricki King, Genealogy Business Owner," Host: Coffee with Cleo part 2 with Cleo Franklin, Dec 2020.          

  • "The Business of Genealogy with Ricki King," Host: Insight on Business with Michael Libbie, July 2020.


Media Appearances

"Dead Files," Travel Channel TV, Genealogist, 2020.

Published Articles

King, Ricki. "Separating Identities of Two Hattie Campbells of Marion and Ralls Counties, Missouri, Reveal Hattie King's Mother." National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Volume 110, No. 4, (December 2022): 265-273.

King, Ricki. "Research Guide Iowa.," page 33-36, Familytree Magazine. July-August 2022.

King, Ricki. "A Father's [Lynching? Murder?] Provides A Possible Motive for an African American Woman's use of Multiple Maiden Names." National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Volume 109, No. 1, (March 2021): 29-44.

King, Ricki. "Women and the 1925 Iowa State Census," WOW Women of Worth April-May 2020.

King, Ricki. "Women of Three Generations," page 24-25 and page 26, The Urban Experience October 2018.


Bachelor of Arts, History, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, 2005.

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, 2005.

Boston University, Center for Professional Education: Genealogical Research Certificate, 2015.

ProGen Study Program, 2016-2017

Continuing Education

Beyond Fundamentals: Hands-on Forensic Genealogy, Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, 2021.

Fundamentals of Forensic Genealogy, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Academy for Professionals, 2021

African-Native American Genealogy, Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI), 2020.

Researching African American Ancestors: Government Documents and Advanced Tools,

Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society Conference (AAHGS), 2020.

Researching African American Ancestors: Government Documents and Advanced Tools, Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), 2020.

Preserve Iowa Summit, 2020.

PI Education, 2020.

Association of Professional Genealogists: Professional Management Conference, 2018.

Iowa Genealogical Society Conference, 2003-2019.

Federation of Genealogical Society Conference, 2015.

National Genealogical Society Conference, 2031, 2020.

Professional Memberships/ Affiliations/ Volunteering

*Albemarle Charlottesville (Virginia) Historical Society

*Association of Professional Genealogists, Director (2022-current)

*Association of Professional Genealogists- Chapters Heartland and Northland

*Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center, Past Board Secretary

*Iowa Civil War 150th Celebration, Advisory Committee.

*Iowa Genealogical Society

*Iowa Historical Foundation Board, Vice President (2021-current)

*National Genealogical Society

*Private Investigative Agency; Ricki King, Private investigator

*State Historical Society of Iowa

*State Historical Society of Missouri

*Targeted Small Business, Iowa Economic Development Authority

various State historical and local societies


Ricki King adheres to the Association of Professional Genealogists Code of Ethics and the Board of Certification of Genealogists Genealogy Standards


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