Academy 2022 Faculty

Nichelle Barra

Nichelle BarraNichelle Barra is originally from Saginaw, Michigan, but has lived in many states and currently resides in Colorado with her husband and dog. She studied secondary education at Central Michigan University with a double-major in English and history, and has taught middle and high school English in Florida, Indiana, Colorado, and virtual schools. She pursued genealogy professionally in 2013 with the NGS Home Study Course, BU Genealogical Research Certificate (OL15), ProGen Study Group (25), 2017 GRIP (Practical Genetic Genealogy), 2019 & 2020 SLIG (DNA for the 21st Century Professional & Advanced Legal Concepts for Genealogy), 2019 Gen-Fed, local & national conferences, webinars, and speaking at local societies. Nichelle started her genealogy business, Copper Leaf Genealogy, in 2014, and has worked at Ancestry ProGenealogists since 2018. She works primarily with DNA analysis, research in the Mid-West, New England, and some Mid-Atlantic and Canadian research. Nichelle is currently on the clock for her BCG portfolio.

Catherine B. W. Desmarais, CG

Catherine B. W. Desmarais, CGCatherine B. W. Desmarais, CG, is a full-time professional genealogist, author, and educator, and owner of Stone House Historical Research. Board-certified since 2011, she specializes in forensic research for probate, real estate, and military repatriation cases. She has a broad range of experience in the U.S. and internationally, with a particular focus on Vermont and Ireland.

Catherine is the past vice-president of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and has previously served on the board of the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy. She has a master’s degree in Education from the University of Vermont, and has taught at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh, and the Forensic Genealogy Institute. Her research and writing have been published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Crossroads, and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly.

Daniel A. Earl, MS

Daniel A. Earl, MSDaniel Earl, MS, lives in DeWitt, Michigan with his wife and six children, and he has researched his family history for 30+ years. He is a professional educator, teaching at both the collegiate and secondary levels. He holds a Master's degree in psychology focusing on learning development across the lifespan. He is also a professional researcher and lecturer, having spoken across North America at numerous local, state, provincial, and regional conferences as well as national conferences such as the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, RootsTech, the Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Management Conference, and as an instructor at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. Dan is the president of the Hungarian Genealogical Society of Michigan and serves on the boards of directors for many genealogical societies.

Paul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGL

Paul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGLPaul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGL, is a Senior Genealogist at AncestryProGenealogists where he conducts unknown parentage and complex brick-wall research. In that role he has led research for nine episodes of the television show Who Do You Think You Are?. Paul is BCG-certified and an ICAPGen Accredited Genealogist professional; he holds a master’s degree in public history and a professional certificate in geographic information systems. He has authored or co-authored numerous books and articles, including Georgia Courthouse Disasters and Georgia Land Lottery Research. His publications have earned him the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Award for Excellence and the American Society of Genealogists (ASG) Scholar Award, and he is a winner of the NGS Family History Writing Contest.

Colleen Robledo Greene, MLIS

Colleen Robledo Greene, MLISColleen Robledo Greene, MLIS, is an academic librarian and college instructor who has been researching her family history since 1997. She is the Digital Literacy Librarian at California State University, Fullerton, and also teaches an online graduate-level genealogical research methods course for San Jose State University. Colleen is a nationally recognized genealogy speaker and educator specializing in Mexican and Hispanic research; methodology; libraries and archives; virtual education; and emerging technologies. Colleen publishes a genealogy education blog at

Linda M. Hunter, MS, PLCGS

Linda M. Hunter, MS, PLCGSLinda M. Hunter, MS, PLCGS, has been researching for over twenty years, primarily in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Growing up in northwest Pennsylvania, she served as a Naval Officer for 28 years, living in and deploying to six different countries and five U.S. states. Upon her retirement from the U.S. Navy in 2015, Linda turned her passions for family history and tackling tough analytic problems into a genealogical career. She focuses on forensic genealogical endeavors, researching U.S. Army military repatriation cases and locating missing and unknown heirs for attorneys. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and master’s degrees in Applied Mathematics and Systems Technology (Space Operations) from the Naval Postgraduate School. Linda currently serves as vice presidence of the Association for Professional Genealogists (APG) Forensic Genealogy Special Interest Group.

Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS, FUGA

Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS, FUGAKaren Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS, FUGA, of Monroe, New York, is an editor, author, lecturer, and professional genealogist. She served as editor of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record from 2011 until her retirement at the end of 2017. She was named a fellow of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society in November 2012, and has served on the NYG&B Family History Advisory Committee (formerly the Education Committee) since 2011. Karen was made a fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association in 2019. She has lectured at national, state, regional, and local conferences, and coordinates institute courses at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research. She holds an MA from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in History Museum Studies (State University of New York, Oneonta). She has served on the boards of APG (as Regional Vice President and Director) and FGS (as Director; Vice President of Administration; National Conference Chair of the 1997 FGS conference in Dallas, Texas; and Chair of the FGS Public Relations Committee, 1992-1998).

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, FASG, FUGA, FNGSThomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, is an award-winning genealogical researcher, author, and educator. He co-edited the National Genealogical Society Quarterly in 2003–18. He is a former trustee and past president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, past board member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, and recipient of its Grahame T. Smallwood Jr. Award of Merit and its Professional Achievement Award. He also has received the Utah Genealogical Association’s Silver Tray Award and its Award of Merit. Retired from a thirty-year career in higher education and professor emeritus at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., Tom coordinates courses at the Institute on Genealogy and Historical Research and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, teaches classes at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and its Academy for Professionals, and speaks frequently at national, state, and local genealogical society seminars. He has written more than twenty-five articles in scholarly genealogy journals, the textbooks Mastering Genealogical Proof and Mastering Genealogical Documentation, and chapters in Professional Genealogy and Advanced Genetic Genealogy. He specializes in skillfully using genealogical evidence and writing genealogical articles.

Janice Lovelace, PhD

Janice Lovelace, PhDJanice Lovelace, PhD, is a genealogical researcher, author and lecturer, with over thirty years of experience. Dr. Lovelace is a frequent speaker at national and regional genealogy conferences on health and genetics, ethnic minority genealogy, and research methodology. She authored the National Genealogical Society's continuing education course African American Roots: A Historical Perspective and is an instructor at the Midwest African American Genealogical Institute (MAAGI). She is a national board member of Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and serves on her local society's board. She belongs to the Ohio Genealogical Society, AAHGS, and the National Genealogical Society (NGS).

Angela Packer McGhie, CG, FUGA

Angela Packer McGhie, CGAngela Packer McGhie, CG, FUGA, has a passion for teaching genealogy. She is the Education Director for the National Genealogical Society and a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Angela enjoys coordinating courses for the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and she teaches at several other genealogy institutes. She served as the administrator of the ProGen Study Program for six years and is now on the board of directors.

Angela speaks at national conferences and has published articles in Crossroads, the APG Quarterly, and the NGS Magazine. She is a past president of the National Capital Area Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists and currently serves a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists Education Fund.

Kelvin L. Meyers

Kelvin L. MeyersKelvin L. Meyers is a fifth-generation Texan and has been a professional forensic genealogist since 1996. A frequent speaker to genealogical societies and family associations throughout the United States, Kelvin specializes in southern brick wall problems for clients.

Kelvin is a 1989 and 1990 alumnus of the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research at Samford University and has returned to IGHR as lecturer in the Southern Course and the Professional Course. In 2016 he co-coordinated with J. Mark Lowe, "A Swing Through the South" at SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogical Research). In 2019 Kelvin coordinated the "Burned Counties and More: Overcoming Record Loss" course for SLIG.

He is a past board member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, a past President of the Lone Star Chapter of APG, and a founding member for the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy (CAFG).

The Dallas Genealogical Society awarded Kelvin the Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck Distinguished Service Award in December of 2018.

In 2016 Kelvin published Research in Texas for the National Genealogical Society Research in the States series. Kelvin is also the director of the Texas Institute of Genealogical Research (TIGR) sponsored by the Texas State Genealogical Society.

Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG

Michael S. Ramage, JD, CGMichael S. Ramage, JD, CG, is a full-time forensic genealogist, author, lecturer and expert witness. Mr. Ramage has served as a Trustee, officer and now General Counsel of BCG, and he is the current President of the APG Forensic Genealogy Special Interest Group. His 25-year law practice included real estate and estate law and litigation. He has taught numerous genealogy courses at genealogy conferences and institutes around the country. His related publications include the “Forensic Specialization” and “Ethical Considerations” chapters in Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards, Elizabeth Shown Mills, editor (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2018).

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGLJudy G. Russell, "The Legal Genealogist," is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches, and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. A Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side, she is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, and numerous state and regional genealogical societies. She has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and National Genealogical Society Magazine, among other publications.

Judy is on the faculty of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Georgia, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and Boston University’s Center for Professional Education. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Board for Certification of Genealogists, from which she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer. Her blog – chosen as one of the American Bar Association’s top 100 in 2013 and 2014 – appears at The Legal Genealogist website (

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CG

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CGKaren Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CG®, BCG Trustee, is an author and national lecturer focusing on topics related to using genetic evidence correlated with documentary evidence to solve genealogical brick walls. A Chicago local, she holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago and has completed advanced graduate study in Social Anthropology at the Colegio de Michoacán, Mexico. Her genealogical practice specializes in Midwestern U.S., Chicago, and Mexican research as well as complex problem-solving, unknown parentage, and DNA analysis. She is a coordinator and faculty member at IGHR, and SLIG. She is a faculty member at GRIP. She received the NGSQ Award for Excellence for her complex evidence case study incorporating traditional documentary research and autosomal DNA analysis in the June 2016 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Most recently, she published “Drowning in DNA? The Genealogical Proof Standard Tosses a Lifeline” in Debbie Parker Wayne’s book Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies. She holds the credential Certified Genealogist from the Board for Certification of Genealogists where she serves as a Trustee and is chair of the standing DNA Committee.

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, FUGA

D. Joshua TaylorD. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, FUGA, is a nationally known and recognized genealogical author, lecturer, and researcher and a frequent speaker at family history events across the globe. Passionate about family history, Joshua is the President of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NYG&B). He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including RootsTech’s Distinguished Presenter Award, the Federation of Genealogical Societies Award of Merit, and the Rubincam Youth Award from the National Genealogical Society. In 2017, Joshua was named as one of Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers. Joshua was made a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association in January 2022.

Active in nonprofit leadership, Joshua has previously served as President, Vice-President of Administration, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). He has previously worked for leading family history organizations including the New England Historic Genealogical Society. In addition to writing numerous articles relating to family history, he is the author of “The Keane and Sheahan Families of Bridgeport, Connecticut,” a study of a family’s immigration and life in New England after the Irish famine. He is also the coordinator for courses at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh.

He holds an MLS (Archival Management) and an MA (History) from Simmons College and has been a featured genealogist on Who Do You Think You Are? with Sarah Jessica Parker, Kelly Clarkson, Ashley Judd, Reba McEntire, and Rob Lowe. Joshua can be seen taking America through their past as a host on the popular PBS series Genealogy Roadshow

Franchesca Werden

Franchesca WerdenFranchesca Werden, the owner and managing partner of Breakthrough Genealogy, is a professional genealogist with specialties in Italian genealogical research and forensic genealogy. Her client roster includes several law firms as well as companies which provide assistance with Italian dual citizenship applications. One specific area of focus is assisting clients of Italian descent with determining their ancestral town of origin, a necessity for clients interested in obtaining dual citizenship. She is on the teaching team for both of Boston University’s courses in genealogical research.

Franchesca has a B.S. from Boston University in Broadcasting and Film and is a graduate of B.U.'s Certificate in Genealogical Research program (OL24). She is a member of APG, APG Virtual Chapter, APG New England Chapter, APG Forensic Genealogy SIG, NGS, and SCGS.

Katherine Willson

Katherine WillsonKatherine Willson lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband and two dogs, and she has researched her family’s genealogy for 40+ years. She works full-time as a genealogical researcher for private clients, and she averages 65 lectures annually at local, state, regional, and national societies and conferences, including the Association of Professional Genealogists’ Professional Management conferences, the Federation of Genealogical Societies conferences, the National Genealogical Societies conferences, and RootsTech conferences. She is the Past President of the Michigan Genealogical Council, and is the Founder and President of the Virtual Genealogical Association, whose membership has grown to over 1900 members from 23 countries. Katherine is currently on the clock for her BCG certification, and continues her education through SLIG (3 years), SLIG Academy (2 years), and GRIP (2 years).