Faculty

Deborah A. Abbott, PhD

Deborah Abbott PhDDeborah A. Abbott, PhD, is a professional genealogist specializing in genealogical methodology, manuscript collections, and African American family research. She is a member of the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Archives Commission, the Lakeview Cemetery Community Outreach Committee, an affiliate with the Kentucky-Tennessee Associates, past president of the African American Genealogical Society, Cleveland, Ohio, and a retired professor of Counseling from Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. She holds an AA degree from Cuyahoga Community College, both the BS and MEd degrees from Tuskegee University in Alabama and the PhD degree from Kent State University in Ohio.

Dr. Abbott is coordinator of the African American Track at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) in Athens, Georgia, and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). She teaches at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and the Texas Institute of Genealogical Research (TIGR) in Dallas. Dr. Abbott presents lectures and workshops for national, state, and local genealogy conferences, colleges, and libraries.

She has articles published in the Ohio Genealogy News and FamilyTree magazines. Dr. Abbott can be found teaching African American genealogy in a segment entitled “Needles & Threads” on Ancestry Academy, an educational video course for Ancestry.com. She teaches monthly classes entitled “Using Ancestry.com in Genealogy Research” at the Lakewood (Ohio) Public Library and coordinates the “Genealogy and Family History Clinic” for the Cleveland Public Library.

Dr. Abbott is a member of the National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Association of Professional Genealogist (APG) and the Genealogical Speakers Guild (GSG).

A Cleveland, Ohio native, she is a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the Tuskegee University National Alumni Association, and Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland.

John K. Alexander, MA, MLIS

John K. Alexander, MA, MLISJohn K. Alexander, MA, MLIS, has a Master of Arts in History from the University of Utah and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington. He is a Product Manager at FamilySearch with 12 years’ experience on the FamilySearch Cataloging, Indexing, and Collection Management teams.

Leslie Anderson

Leslie AndersonLeslie Anderson, a native Virginian, is a former librarian with 20+ years of experience in Local History/Special Collections reference services. She was named a Virginia Humanities Scholar in 2020 and won the NGS Family History Writing Contest in 2013 for her article "Tabitha (Bugg) George Smith of Mecklenburg County, Virginia.” Leslie served as Project Editor for the Virginia Slave Births Index, 1853- 1865 and co-authored Alexandria. She has been published in genealogical journals and newsletters and appeared on C-SPAN’s American History TV and other online media.

Her professional development includes coursework at the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and Gen-Fed. She is a member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, the National Genealogical Society, the Virginia Genealogical Society (former secretary on the Board of Governors), Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, and Westmoreland County Historical Society.

Leslie received her Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and a Master of Science in Library Science from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She blogs at 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry: Private Lives, Public Records.

Daniel Atwell, MLIS

Daniel Atwell, MLISDaniel Atwell, MLIS, manages the newly constructed Family History Library Scanning Center. He plays a key role in the digitization efforts of the Family History Library and its partners. Daniel received his MLIS from San Jose State University. He supported SJSU’s MLIS program accreditation renewal process in 2022 and served as vice-chair on his local public library board from 2019–2021.

Brandon Baird, AG*, MEd

Brandon Baird, AG, MEdBrandon Baird, AG, MEd, attended and graduated from BYU with a BA in Family History and Genealogy. He started working at the Family History Library in the summer of 2013 as a part-time Latin America Research Specialist. In March of 2014, he was hired full time and has continued as a Latin America Research Specialist. As a Latin America Research Specialist, he assists individuals in researching their Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and French ancestors. He has become an Accredited Genealogist through ICAPGen in the Spain, France, Mexico, Portugal, Italy, Peru, Chile, Colombia-Panama, Argentina-Uruguay, and Venezuela regions. In 2017, he graduated from the University of Utah with a Master of Education in Instructional Design and Educational Technology. He teaches at conferences both nationally and internationally on a variety of genealogical topics, as well as at the Family History Library.

Jen Baldwin

Jen BaldwinJen Baldwin has been working in the realm of professional genealogy since 2010 but has been pursuing her family history since she was a youth. She is currently the Research Specialist and North American Content Manager for Findmypast. Jen lectures, writes, and consults on a variety of genealogy related topics, and was part of the research team for season two of Genealogy Roadshow on PBS. She is the author of course materials for the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. She is excited to discover unique resources that allow for a different perspective in genealogical research, including the vast research opportunities for family historians around the world to take advantage of UK collections, such as newspapers and the 1921 Census of England and Wales. She was a proud volunteer for the Federation of Genealogical Societies, serving as a Board Member and the Program Committee Chair for the 2019 Family History Conference in Washington, DC. Additionally, she was co-creator and host of #genchat, a popular crowd-sourcing and conversation venue on Twitter.

Gary Ball-Kilbourne, MDiv, PhD, CG**

Gary Ball-Kilbourne, MDiv, PhD, CGGary Ball-Kilbourne, MDiv, PhD, CG, served almost forty years as a United Methodist pastor in North Dakota and as an executive editor at The United Methodist Publishing House in Nashville.

Since he retired from active ministry in 2013, he has been a genealogical researcher, teacher, and writer. He is a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists and serves as the editor of BCG’s publication, OnBoard. He has written articles for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, and Minnesota Genealogist.

His research interests range from his current location in the Northern Plains; to colonial Connecticut, Maryland, and New Sweden; to the District of Columbia and Baltimore; and to England, Germany, and Hungary. He is on the faculty for the genealogical courses offered online by Boston University, mentors GenProof study groups, and volunteers as wordsmith on the SLIG Committee. He holds a PhD in religion from Vanderbilt University. Gary lives in Fargo, North Dakota.

Danielle Batson, AG

Danielle Batson, AGDanielle Batson is an Accredited Genealogist in the U.S. Midwest States. She received a BA in Family History from BYU Provo in 1997 and a Masters in Library Science from the University of North Texas in 2007. Danielle has worked for FamilySearch since 2000. She worked as a US/Canada Specialist until 2013. Her current responsibilities include being the FamilySearch Research Wiki Content Manager.

Tony Burroughs, FUGA

Tony Burroughs, FUGATony Burroughs, FUGA, is founder and CEO of the Center for Black Genealogy. He is an internationally known genealogist who taught genealogy at Chicago State University for fifteen years and taught at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) in Samford, Alabama and the Genealogical Institute for Mid-America (GIMA) in Springfield, Illinois.

Burroughs researched Olympic Gold Medal sprint champion Michael Johnson’s family history and consulted on genealogies for Smokey Robinson, Oprah Winfrey, Reverend Al Sharpton and Billy Porter. He also consulted for African American Lives2, Who Do You Think You Are, The Real Family of Jesus, Chicago Public Schools, New York Public Schools, Chicago City Colleges and Ancestry.com.

Burroughs’ book, Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree (Simon & Schuster) was number one on Essence Magazine's Best Seller List and is now in its fifth printing. He wrote chapters in the Encyclopedia of African American History (Oxford University Press), The Experts Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do (Random House), The Source, revised edition (Ancestry), and the African American Genealogical Sourcebook (Gale Research).

Burroughs has traced seven family lines seven generations and one line eight generations. His genealogical research has qualified him for twelve lineage society certificates.

For more information see: www. TonyBurroughs.com.

Angie Bush, MS

Angie Bush, MSAngie Bush, MS (Biotechnology), BS (Molecular Biology), is the Director of Region 1 for the National Genealogical Society. She is a professional genetic genealogist and has been researching her own family since she was 8 years old. She regularly provides advice regarding genetic genealogy to other genealogists in the Salt Lake City area. Prior to her involvement with genetic genealogy, she pursued a career in molecular and clinical genetics. Between obtaining her bachelor's and master's degrees, she spent several years working in the biotech industry where she gained an in-depth, working knowledge of the technologies used in DNA testing. Angie has helped many adoptees to find their biological family through autosomal DNA testing, and is particularly focused on using DNA as a genealogical record to reconstruct relationships and break down brick walls – whether they are recent or several hundred years old.

Angie is a member of the Association for Professional Genealogists, International Society of Genetic Genealogists and Utah Genealogical Association.

Henrietta Martinez Christmas

Henrietta Martinez ChristmasHenrietta Martinez Christmas is a well-known and respected genealogical speaker and researcher who has given presentations on topics related to Hispanics in the Southwest and Mexico. Engagements include keynotes for the New Mexico Genealogical Society and Santa Fe Trail Association. She has also been featured at annual conferences for the Texas Genealogical Society, DAR, DAR Spanish Task Force and BIA-International Conference, Legacy Family Tree webinars, and as an instructor at SLIG. An award-winning author, she has written over 200 articles and several books related to genealogy and small towns, and has extracted and transcribed historical records for genealogical societies.

Apryl Cox, AG

Apryl Cox, AGAn Accredited Genealogist, Apryl is a professional genealogical researcher, lecturer, curriculum author, and university instructor.

She currently conducts client research, teaches family history courses at Brigham Young University, serves as the editor for a genealogical research company, lectures, and has been a genealogist for the Relative Race TV show.

Sydney F. Cruice

Sydney F. CruiceSydney F. Cruice is a professional genealogy researcher, writer, and national lecturer with over 25 years of experience. She has served as a faculty member for the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research of the Georgia Genealogical Society and the Researching Family in Pennsylvania Institute of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. She developed the curriculum and has taught the Foundations of Genealogy courses at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for the past 7 years. This year, through her own website, she started teaching her popular Foundations of Genealogy courses online via Zoom. She is the current President of the Association of Professional Genealogists for the Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter. In October of 2018 Sydney’s article, “A Family Secret: Desertion, Scurvy, and President Lincoln” was the featured cover story in the NGS Magazine.

Arturo Cuellar, AG

Arturo Cuellar, AGArturo Cuellar, AG,is a genealogical researcher with over 30 years of experience. He is a member of the Utah Genealogical Association and several other genealogical associations and societies. Arturo is an Accredited Genealogist in Argentina, Colombia-Panama, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. He is working towards a master's degree in Latin American Studies. Arturo works at the Family History Library as a Latin America & Spain Research Specialist.

Catherine B. W. Desmarais, CG

Catherine B. W. Desmarais, CGCertified Genealogist Catherine Becker Wiest Desmarais is the owner of Stone House Historical Research, where she leads a team of researchers specializing in forensic genealogical research for probate, real estate, and military repatriation cases. Her firm completes more than 6,000 hours of forensic genealogy research annually and has assisted the Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency to locate families for more than one thousand missing service members. A professional genealogist since 2006 and board-certified since 2011, Catherine has a broad range of genealogical experience in the U.S. and internationally, with particular expertise in Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Ireland.

Catherine is a past Vice-President of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). She is a founding member of APG’s Forensic Genealogy Special Interest Group (ForGen SIG). After a long tenure on the program committee of APG’s New England chapter, she now serves in the same capacity for APG’s ForGen SIG. 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, the Forensic Genealogy Institute, and the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, as well as local and regional venues. Her research and writing has been published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Crossroads, and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly..

Victor S. Dunn, CG

Victor S. Dunn, CGVictor S. “Vic” Dunn, CG, is a full-time professional researcher. The coordinator for the Virginia track at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, he is a frequent contributor to major genealogical publications including feature articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, The Genealogist, BCG's OnBoard, and Magazine of Virginia Genealogy. In 2014 he received the Mosher Award for Colonial Virginia Research and was named as the official genealogist of the Order of First Families of Virginia. He is a past trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, past treasurer of the National Genealogical Society and past governor of the Virginia Genealogical Society.

Nicole Dyer

Nicole DyerNicole Dyer is a professional genealogist specializing in Southern United States research and genetic genealogy. She is the creator of FamilyLocket.com and the Research Like a Pro Genealogy Podcast. She co-authored the books Research Like a Pro: A Genealogist's Guide and Research Like a Pro with DNA and is an instructor for the study groups of the same name. She lectures at local and national conferences and previously served as the secretary and publicity chair of the Pima County Genealogy Society. Nicole holds a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University in History Teaching. At Family Locket Genealogists, Nicole is a project manager, editor, genetic genealogy specialist, and Southern States researcher.

Diana Elder, AG

Diana Elder, AGDiana Elder, AG, is a professional genealogist accredited in the Gulf South region of the United States. She serves as an ICAPGen Commissioner, heading the Presentation Committee. Diana and her team teach about the accreditation process and produce the ICAPGen YouTube video content. Diana authored Research Like a Pro: A Genealogist’s Guide and co-authored the companion volume, Research Like a Pro with DNA: A Genealogist’s Guide to Finding and Confirming Ancestors with DNA Evidence. Diana and her daughter, Nicole Dyer, are the co-owners of Family Locket Genealogists and host the Research Like a Pro Genealogy Podcast. They share research tips on their website, FamilyLocket.com, and provide educational experiences with their online courses and study groups.

Diana has lectured at the National Genealogy Society Conference, RootsTech, the APG Professional Management Conference, and the Brigham Young University Conference on Family History and Genealogy. She regularly presents lectures and seminars for genealogy societies and has completed courses at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Georgia Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and the Texas Institute of Genealogical Research. Diana is a graduate and past mentor of the ProGen Study Group, an online peer-led study program based on the book Professional Genealogy by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

E. Lee Eltzroth

E. Lee EltzrothE. Lee Eltzroth spent thirty years as an archivist, librarian, and consultant in visual materials. She holds a Master of Librarianship from Emory University, and has certificates in archives administration and in photo preservation from the National Archives. Through her Georgia Photographers Documentation Project, Lee researches, writes, and speaks on mid-19th to mid-20th century Georgia photographers. Her blog Hunting and Gathering, is at georgia-photographers.com. Her presentations have included “Photographing the Re-Imagined Self: Early Black Portraiture in South Africa and the United States” (University of Virginia, 2014), and the 2018 Green Decorative Arts Symposium, where she spoke on "A Pennsylvanian in Georgia and the South, 1834-1846: J. H. Mifflin - Artist, Daguerreotypist, Poet, and Entrepreneur” (published by the Georgia Museum of Art, 2020). Her article "George S. Cook, Itinerant Daguerreotypist in Georgia, 1848-1850," was one of three prize-winners published in The Daguerreian Annual, 2015.

Melissa Corn Finlay, AG

Melissa Corn Finlay, AGMelissa Corn Finlay, AG,gained a passion for genealogy research at a young age, asking for rides to the Idaho State Archives before she had a driving license. She earned her BA in Family History-Genealogy from Brigham Young University and is accredited for research in the United States Mid-South region through ICAPGen. She has extensive genealogy research experience across much of the U.S., and is a specialist in research planning, solving genealogy brick walls, research report writing, and document analysis. She has taught and presented at various genealogy conferences including RootsTech and the Brigham Young University Conference on Family History and Genealogy. Melissa volunteers on the presentation committee with ICAPGen, and works for Legacy Tree Genealogists.

Melissa and her husband John are the parents of seven children. Her hobbies include hiking, reading, and gardening. You can find more about Melissa at Boundlessgenealogy.com.

Rick Fogarty

Rick FogartyRick Fogarty is a professional genealogical researcher and lecturer based in New Jersey. He is a third-generation genealogist with deep Oklahoma roots, and is a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation. He specializes in Native American research, adoption cases, DNA, and forensic genealogy. He is a life member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild, and has instructed courses on Native American genealogy for the Virtual Institute for Genealogical Research, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research, Oklahoma Genealogical Society, and New Jersey Family History Institute.

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL, FASG

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL, FASGLaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG®, FASG, earned a BA from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, and both a Law degree and a Master of Laws degree from New York University. She enjoyed a 35-year career as a tax lawyer before her 2013 retirement from a partner-level position at the big four accounting firm of EY, and is now a full-time genealogist focused on teaching and writing. She was elected as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists in 2016, and to a third term as BCG President in 2021. LaBrenda also serves as the Registrar General of the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage, a national lineage society that honors ancestors who were enslaved in the United States. In 2021 LaBrenda was elected as the 170th Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists (ASG), the field’s honorary scholarly society that was founded in 1940 and is limited to fifty life-time members. She coordinates the African American Track at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, in addition to serving on the faculty of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records, and the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research. LaBrenda received the 2019 Distinguished Service Award from the Utah Genealogical Association “for her instrumental guidance in support of new programs and codified policies for SLIG.”

For more information see her website https://www.LabGarrettGenealogy.com.

Sharon Batiste Gillins

Sharon Batiste GillinsSharon Batiste Gillins is a native of Galveston, Texas with paternal ancestral roots in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana and maternal roots in Fort Bend County, Texas. A life-long interest in her family's history led to an active involvement in genealogical research. Ms. Gillins’ career spans 40 years in education, retiring as Associate Professor at Riverside Community College, Riverside, California. She frequently calls upon her career background as a college educator to lecture and present at regional and national genealogy conferences. Ms. Gillins’ research and teaching emphasize strategies for researching underutilized record sources to discover details of 19th century Southern life and ancestry, including that of planter slave owners, enslaved people, and free people of color.

Ms. Gillins works as a Research Associate at the Mary Moody Northen Endowment in Galveston, Texas, her work centered on maintaining the Moody family archive and exhibit development for the historic house museum.

Paul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGL

Paul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGLPaul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGL, is a research manager 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. Paul resides in San Diego.

Jana Greenhalgh, AG

Jana Greenhalgh, AGJana Greenhalgh, AG, graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Family History & Genealogy in 2003. She taught genealogy as an adjunct faculty member for Brigham Young University–Idaho through their online degree program. She has also taught and presented at various genealogy conferences including RootsTech and the Brigham Young University Conference on Family History and Genealogy. She served on the Board of Directors for the Utah Genealogical Association from 2016-2018 and served as the chair of their Education Committee. She is accredited in the England region and served as the Level 1 Chair on the ICAPGen Testing Committee from 2018-2020. She is a member of the ICAPGen Presentation Committee.

Jana and her husband Brent are the parents of seven young children. They enjoy camping, hiking, vacationing, and gardening. As a family, they enjoy sharing their family history adventures and experiences via social media and online at www.TheGenealogyKids.com.

Rebekah Grow

Rebekah GrowRebekah Grow has worked for FamilySearch since 2019 as the Operations Manager supporting FamilySearch Centers. Before coming to FamilySearch, she worked at the University of Utah for 23 years training faculty and graduate students in online education. She currently supports directors of the FamilySearch Centers offering training, operational, and website assistance. She graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in Russian and a Minor in English.

Debbie Gurtler, AG

Debbie Gurtler, AGDebbie Gurtler, AG, graduated with honors from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in Family History. She worked as an intern at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. She has also made research trips to archives in Spain, Virginia, and North Carolina. Debbie holds five AG credentials for the US Mid-south, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, and Chile regions.

She is employed by FamilySearch where she is currently the supervisor of the Latin America‐Southern Europe and German‐Slavic teams at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. She also oversees the training of missionaries and volunteers at the library. She is fluent in Spanish and can read genealogical documents in Portuguese, Italian, and French. She is a member of several genealogical societies including HISPAGEN and Antzinako in Spain, the National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), and the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) in the United States.

Michael G. Hait, CG, AG

Michael Hait CG, AG Michael Hait, CG, AG, is a full-time professional genealogical researcher, writer, and lecturer. He has written numerous case studies for genealogical journals including the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. In 2012 Michael won 1st prize in the National Genealogical Society Family History Writing Competition for his article ‘In the Shadow of Rebellions,’ exploring descendants of an enslaved woman living in 19th-century Maryland, and has written and published several books. Michael formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists (2012–2013) and the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (2013–2019).

Forrest R. Hansen, JD

Forrest R. Hansen, JDForrest R. Hansen, JD, is passionate and enthusiastic about genealogy and law. He is a native of Louisiana, the only civil law jurisdiction in the United States, and his favorite food is chicken and sausage filet gumbo. Forrest has practiced law as an attorney at two Am Law 100 international law firms, as an in-house corporate counsel for a Global Fortune 500 corporation, and as a law clerk in a United States District Court. He is fluent in French and Spanish and has practiced law in France. Forrest graduated cum laude from American University Washington College of Law and served as Senior Federal Circuit Editor for the American University Law Review. He attended Brigham Young University for his undergraduate education and majored in French and International Politics. He also participated on the football and men’s gymnastics teams.

Forrest’s expertise is in French genealogy and civil law, and he has delivered lectures at local and national genealogy societies and institutes, including the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research and the Southern California Genealogical Society. He also regularly presents and publishes on the topics of comparative constitutional law, government regulations, legal ethics, and attorney mental health. For the past nine years he has taught law students as an adjunct professor at the Université of Paris and American University.

Jenny Hansen, AG

Jenny Hansen, AGJenny Hansen, AG, graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Family History and Genealogy. She received her genealogy accreditation in Danish research in 1999. She currently works as a freelance researcher, specializing in all things Scandinavian. She serves as a Commissioner for the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen).

Jenny is a popular speaker at regional and national conferences, including the National Genealogical Society and RootsTech (both in Salt Lake City and London). She has an approachable and energetic style that connects well with attendees.

Her other hobbies include reading, finding old churches and cemeteries, and doing anything outside with her family. Follow her at www.MyFavoriteAncestor.com.

Tammy Hepps

Tammy Hepps uses genealogical research techniques to examine less-studied topics within American Jewish history. Creator of Treelines.com and past winner of the RootsTech Developer Challenge, Tammy draws heavily upon her technology expertise to create research approaches that break new ground in data gathering and interpretation. She is best known for her community reconstitution project focusing on the Jewish community of Homestead, PA, available online at HomesteadHebrews.com. She received her AB in Computer Science from Harvard College.

Debra A. Hoffman, PLCGS

Debra A. Hoffman, PLCGSDebra A. Hoffman, PLCGS, is a professional genealogist specializing in Maryland and German research and the owner of Hoffman Genealogical Services. She is a genealogical author, lecturer, and researcher. She is a frequent speaker at genealogical societies, libraries and has presented at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She has authored articles in the Carrolltonian, Der Kurier, Bluegrass Roots, Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin, and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. She has a certificate in Family History from Brigham Young University and, since 2009, has completed courses at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. Active in the genealogical community, Debra currently serves as the recording secretary for the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society. She is a past vice president for the Maryland Genealogical Society and for the Carroll County Genealogical Society. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and belongs to the William Winchester Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution as well as many other state and local genealogical societies. Debra has received awards for her genealogical writing from the International Society of Family History Writers & Editors. She also received a research fellowship from the Kentucky Historical Society and the Jimmy B. Parker Scholarship to attend the Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy.

Sharon L. Hoyt, MLIS, CG

Sharon L. Hoyt, CGSharon L. Hoyt, MLIS, CG, is a genealogy researcher, speaker, and writer from California’s Silicon Valley. She has conducted research for clients since 2005. Her primary areas of interest include New England, New York, the Midwest, Canada, and England. She is happiest when on the trail of a family story, particularly one that involves the Civil War.

Sharon is the winner of the National Genealogical Society 2017 Family History Writing Contest and the Minnesota Historical Society’s 2016 Michael Clark Family History Writing Award. Her research has been published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and Minnesota Genealogist.

Before focusing on genealogy, Sharon managed intranet content and search tools for large technology companies. She holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science.

Melissa A. Johnson, CG

Melissa A. Johnson, CGMelissa Johnson, CG, is a professional genealogist, writer and editor. She has expertise in researching families with origins in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and England, and works on forensic cases, dual citizenship matters, and using DNA to break through ancestral brick walls. Melissa is President of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey and Vice President of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History. Her work has been published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, New York Genealogical & Biographical Record, NGS Magazine, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, and numerous other publications. Melissa is currently the Program Director for Boston University’s genealogy studies programs, and teaches at various genealogy institutes nationwide.

Robbie Johnson, CG

Robbie Johnson, CGRobbie Johnson, CG, became a professional genealogist in 2016 after 40 years as a writer/editor and researcher. She has served as a coordinator and secretary for the ProGen Study Groups, mentored for the GenProof study group, and lectures locally in Washington state. Robbie focuses her research on England and Canada, Indigenous North America and Mexico, Ohio, and the Midwest. Robbie lives in Skagit County, Washington.

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.

Gretchen Jorgensen

Gretchen JorgensenGretchen Jorgensen is a professional genealogist with Legacy Tree Genealogists, specializing in DNA analysis for unknown parentage, as well as use of DNA to solve genealogical brick walls. She holds a BS in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from Colorado State University. After graduation, she spent more than a decade as a Software Engineer for a Fortune 100 company, followed by 17 years as a stay-at-home mom. Past genealogy courses include the SLIG DNA Boot Camp, APG Professional Management Conference, and the i4GG International Genetic Genealogy Conference.

Gretchen has spent thousands of hours researching her own family, with a focus on US and Danish records. A query from an adopted 3rdcousin DNA match had the unexpected side effect of developing a passion for solving unknown parentage cases. She participates in a local DNA Special Interest Group, and is an administrator for the DNA Detectives Facebook group.

Sandra Joseph

Sandra Joseph Sandra Joseph has worked for FamilySearch since 1989 in a variety of positions including as an instructor of staff and patron classes, as a presenter at regional conferences, as a consultant at the Family History Library, working in data management, and as a coordinator of outreach for tourism. She has been a board member of the Utah Chapter of the African American Historical and Genealogical Society and the Utah Tour Guide Association. She currently is involved in outreach for FamilySearch Centers.

Melinda Kashuba, PhD

Melinda Kashuba, PhDMelinda Kashuba is a professional genealogist and owner of Kashuba Research Services, a genealogical and historical research company. She is a community college instructor based in Northern and teaches online. Her popular book, Walking with Your Ancestors: A Genealogist’s Guide to Using Maps and Geography, joins a long list of articles in numerous genealogical magazines and other publications. She is a course coordinator and faculty member at IGHR and faculty member at SLIG.

Her genealogical specialties include 19th century and contemporary genealogical records in California including map and land records. She holds a PhD in Geography from the University of California, Los Angeles, a Masters of Arts degree in Geography from Hayward State University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Geography.

Melinda is a member of the National Genealogical Society, Association of Professional Genealogists, Utah Genealogical Association, California Genealogical Society, Shasta Historical Society, and Shasta County Genealogical Society. She served as a Registrar for two local chapters of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

Robert Kehrer, MBA

Robert Kehrer, MBARobert Kehrer, MBA, worked for 12 years as a molecular geneticist identifying disease genes by building very large family pedigrees. He worked for seven years at Apple managing strategic alliances and driving market strategy in the sciences. For the last 15 years he has worked for FamilySearch as a product manager in the Family History Library, overseeing the public APIs, managing the development of FamilySearch.org beta (the search & hinting), the SourceLinker attach tool, and the historical records image viewer.

Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, CGL

Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, CGLRebecca Whitman Koford holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer. Her focuses are Maryland and military records at the National Archives, especially those of the War of 1812. Rebecca has been taking clients and lecturing since 2004. She has spoken for the National Genealogical Society Conference (NGS), Association of Professional Genealogists Conference (APG), RootsTech, webinars for Legacy and APG, the Maryland State Archives, and for groups in surrounding states. She has published articles in the NGS Magazine, APG Quarterly, SAR Magazine, and the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal. Rebecca is also the Course 1 coordinator for The Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR). She is a former board member of the Maryland Genealogical Society. She is a graduate and former group coordinator and mentor of the ProGen Study Group, an online peer-led study program based on the book Professional Genealogy by Elizabeth Shown Mills; she was appointed ProGen Administrator in January 2015. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Rebecca lives in Mount Airy and volunteers at the Family History Center in Frederick, Maryland.

Michael Lacopo, DVM

Michael Lacopo, DVMDr. Michael D. Lacopo is a self-employed professional genealogist and lecturer with his online presence at www.Roots4U.com and its comparable Facebook page, Roots4U, at https://www.facebook.com/Roots4U. He is also a semi-retired small animal veterinarian practicing in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan, having received his doctorate in 1991. His international lecturing began at the National Genealogical Society’s national conference in 2004.

Born and raised in northern Indiana surrounded by extended family always willing to tell tall family tales, Michael took to genealogical research in 1980 to substantiate these family stories. His first major challenge was tackled by finding his mother’s adopted birthparents in 1982. Although this problem was presumably solved at the time, the advent of genetic genealogy allowed for confirmation of this identity. DNA surprises followed and was the basis for Michael’s blog, Hoosier Daddy?, with the story beginning at https://roots4u.blogspot.com/2014/02/beginnings.html.

In addition to advanced problem solving in genealogy, Michael’s interests and strengths include Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern research, Mennonite research, German and Swiss research especially as it pertains to the 18th century immigration to America, genetic genealogy, amongst many others. Michael’s ancestors cover many geographical locales and include immigrants from the 17th century to the 20th century. As an “all-American mutt”, Michael has developed a wide variety of proficiencies chasing his own ancestors. He believes that as genealogists we should tell the tales or our ancestors and is a vocal proponent for learning the social history that interweaves our ancestors into the fabric of the past.

Leah Larkin, PhD

Leah Larkin, PhDLeah Larkin earned her PhD in biology from the University of Texas at Austin, where she used DNA to study species relationships. She previously worked in both academia and scientific publishing and now applies those research skills to solving genealogicalquestions using DNA. She has contributed to the field of genetic genealogy as a blogger, lecturer, and co-creator of the What Are the Odds? tool. In addition to taking private clients, she is currently working on strategies and tools for dealing with endogamy.

Savannah Larson

Savannah LarsonSavannah Larson has a bachelor’s degree in Family History and Genealogy from Brigham Young University and has accumulated over 10 years of family history experience. She has researched families in the United States, Mexico, and the Nordic countries. Savannah works at the Family History Library as a Nordic Research Specialist. Savannah has a passion for genealogy and is constantly seeking ways to share that passion with those around her.

Dana Leeds

Dana LeedsDana Leeds worked with DNA as an undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma’s Health Sciences Center in the early 1990s and later taught middle school science following completion of her BS in Biology Education from the University of Central Oklahoma. She became interested in genealogy in 1998 working with her own families. In recent years, she has combined her passions for science, genealogy, and education as a process innovator, blogger, and speaker focusing on genetic genealogy and its value in working with traditional genealogy brick walls as well as unknown parentage cases.

She is internationally known for her pioneering genetic genealogy process, the Leeds Method, which visually organizes DNA matches into clusters often showing four grandparent lines. This process allows the researcher to focus on a specific section of their family tree. She has shared this method and its benefits at i4GG’s International Genetic Genealogy Conference, RootsTech, and the Association of Professional Genealogists’ annual conference, as well as with local, regional, and online organizations. Dana enjoys taking the mystery out of DNA by putting powerful, user-friendly tools into the hands of genealogists of all skill levels.

Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FUGA, FVGS

Barbara Vines Little, CG, FVGS, FNGS, FUGABarbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FUGA, FVGS, a professional genealogist, has lectured over the past thirty years at conferences in 32 states on research methodology, Virginia and West Virginia resources, and writing and publishing. Editor of the quarterly Magazine of Virginia Genealogy since 1996 and winner of the NGS Quarterly Award of excellence in 2001, she has written articles for a number of publications including the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, the National Genealogical Society Newsletter, the Board for Certification of Genealogists’ newsletter, OnBoard; and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. The current editor of National Genealogical Society’s Research in the States series, she is the author of the West Virginia volume and has published three volumes of Virginia court records and edited others for publication. She served as coordinator and instructor for VIGR (Virginia Institute of Genealogical Research) Track II, 1996–2004 and as the coordinator and instructor of the Virginia track for Samford University’s Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research from 2007–2012 and the 2017 & 2020 Virginia track at SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy). A member of the board of the Library of Virginia and a former board member of the Orange County Historical Society, she is a former board member and president of both the National Genealogical Society and the Virginia Genealogical Society.

J. Mark Lowe, FUGA

J. Mark Lowe, CGJ. Mark Lowe, FUGA, describes himself as a lifelong genealogist. He is a full-time professional genealogist, author, and lecturer who specializes in original records and manuscripts throughout the South. Mark lives in Robertson County, Tennessee just north of Nashville near the Kentucky border.

Mark enjoys opportunities to share what he has learned over the years. He serves as the Course Coordinator for Research in the South at IGHR (Georgia Genealogical Society) and also directs Southern courses for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). Mark has worked on several genealogical television series including Finding Your Past, African American Lives 2, Who Do You Think You Are? and UnXplained Events, and provided content for podcasts on Gimlet Media, including Twice Removed.

Mark has published in the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (APGQ), National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ), the Genealogical Speakers’ Guild SPEAK!, The Longhunter (So. Ky. Genealogical Society), The Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society Quarterly and other local society publications. He formerly was President of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), President for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), and President of the Southern Kentucky Genealogical Society. Mark is a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Society, and was awarded the Graham T. Smallwood award by the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Annette Burke Lyttle, MA

Annette Burke Lyttle, MAAnnette Burke Lyttle, MA, a professional genealogist since 2014, is a researcher, writer, and educator. She was co-coordinator, along with Steven W. Morrison, for the 2020 Exploring American Quaker Records course at GRIP, faculty member for Virtual Quaker Institute sponsored by the British Institute, and coordinator for From Sea to Shining Sea: Researching Our Ancestors’ Migrations in America for SLIG in 2021. She has also been a faculty member for Guide to Treasures in Federal Records at GRIP and in January will be on the faculty of SLIG’s Bridging the Gap: New England to the Midwest, 1780–1850. She has coordinated Intermediate Foundations for SLIG since 2021.

Her articles have been published in the Illinois Genealogical Society Quarterly, NGS Magazine, FGS FORUM, and The Florida Genealogist. She is the editor of The Florida Genealogist, the semi-annual journal of the Florida State Genealogical Society. From 2017 through 2019 she coordinated the annual conference for the Association of Professional Genealogists, and she currently serves as president of APG.

Her genealogical education includes multiple courses at SLIG, GRIP, and the British Institute. She is a graduate of ProGen 27 and a member of the NGSQ Study Group. She is a former vice president of the APG Writers Special Interest Group. Annette has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in English and has taught writing and literature at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Annette is active in the genealogical community. She serves as an editorial assistant for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. She is vice president and program chair for her local society, The Villages Genealogical Society. Along with C. Ann Staley, CG, she hosts the Florida State Genealogical Society’s monthly webinar series.

Karen Matheson

Karen MathesonKaren Matheson enjoys researching, mentoring, teaching, presenting, and sharing her enthusiasm for family history with others! She has been doing genealogical and family history research for more than 20 years and currently works as a Research Manager for Ancestry ProGenealogists in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Karen has volunteered in various capacities and has spent many hours serving the genealogical community. Karen served five years as the Director of the Round Rock (Texas) Family History Center. She is a Past-President of the Williamson County (Texas) Genealogical Society. She served as Chapter Rep for the Lone Star Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, as Secretary of the Texas State Genealogical Society, and as the 2013 Conference Chair for the Texas State Genealogical Society conference. Karen was a presenter at the Federation of Genealogical Society’s 2014 Conference in San Antonio, Texas, as well as being a member of the planning committee. Most recently, Karen presented a case study for students of the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in January 2018.

Rachel Crump Matheus

Rachel Crump MatheusRachel Crump Matheus came to FamilySearch in 2013 to work on the 2014 RootsTech conference. She has been a passionate part of the planning team since then, even when her day-to-day assignment has not been RootsTech related. In 2021 she returned to working fulltime on RootsTech as an event manager. She is grateful every day to be surrounded by knowledgeable and passionate family historians, teammates, and volunteers that are committed to making RootsTech an inspiring experience each year. Some of her favorite RootsTech moments are hosting Friday night at the Library in 2014; learning more about her own family history in a class in 2016; seeing LeVar Burton backstage after discovering his roots in 2017; welcoming a whole new audience to RootsTech in London in 2019; and finally seeing RootsTech be offered round the world in 2021.

David Mc Donald, DMin

David Mc Donald, DMin

The Rev. Dr. David Mc Donald, "Dave," is a retired professional genealogist. He spent the last of half of his career doing what the late Donn Devine referred to as "genealogical administrivia." He's a former associate, trustee, and past president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists; past director of the National Genealogical Society; and past president of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Dave taught at IGHR, GRIP and SLIG, generally focusing on churches and their records, with occasional forays into Government Documents, Advanced Methodology, and the old Northwest Territory. He has been a learner at all those institutes, as well as Gen-Fed. He lectured for many years at NGS and FGS, as well as numerous state and local societies. Dave's pandemic learnings led him to conclude his lecturing and teaching career (for the most part) in order to focus on his own research, which has been sadly neglected for most of the last 20 years.

Angela Packer McGhie, CG, FUGA

Angela Packer McGhie, CG, FUGAAngela 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 as a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists Education Fund.

Kari Meyer, AG

Kari Meyer, AGKari Meyer, AG, is a professional genealogist, teacher and artist. She is accredited through ICAPGen in the Gulf South Region of the Southern United States and has extensive experience in African American and French research. Kari teaches advanced genealogical research and writing at BYU-Idaho in addition to owning, operating, and researching for her own genealogical business, Roots Hound. She freelances as a genealogical speaker as well as an artist. Kari volunteers on the presentation committee for ICAPGen in addition to participating as a mentor for the ICAPGen study groups. Kari also volunteers on the application review committee for the Star of Destiny chapter of the Colonial Dames. She has presented at RootsTech as well as at various genealogical events in the Dallas, Texas area. In 2017, Kari won the award for Best Written Article for the Arkansas Genealogical Society’s magazine, The Arkansas Family Historian.

Kelvin L. Meyers

Kelvin L. MeyersKelvin L. Meyers is a fifth-generation Texan and professional forensic genealogist since 1996. He is a frequent speaker to genealogical societies and family associations throughout the United States. He 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 Courses. In 2016 he co-coordinated with J. Mark Lowe, “A Swing Through the South” at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogical Research (SLIG). In 2019 Kelvin coordinated the “Burned Counties and More: Overcoming Record Loss” for SLIG.

He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogist forensic special interest group and a past board member of APG, a past President of the Lone Star Chapter of APG. He currently serves as the chairman of the history and archives committee of First United Methodist Church in Dallas.

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 (NGS) 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.

CeCe Moore

CeCe MooreCeCe Moore is the leading authority on investigative genetic genealogy (IGG). Through collaboration with hundreds of investigative agencies across all 50 states, as well as several countries, she has led the Parabon Genetic Genealogy Team to the unparalleled record of over 220 successful identifications of violent criminal suspects and unidentified decedents since 2018. CeCe’s work with law enforcement has led to the first conviction, the first conviction through jury verdict, the first conviction in a recent violent crime, and the first exoneration in cases where the suspect was identified through IGG.

Over a decade ago, CeCe began developing and teaching the now widely used unknown parentage genetic genealogy techniques that have become foundational and central aspects of the IGG field. She has given hundreds of lectures on genetic genealogy, including as a featured speaker at the recent 2022 US Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit Judicial Conference, as well as teaching thousands of law enforcement officials.

In 2013, she founded the DNA Detectives, which has grown to be the largest genetic genealogy educational online community (~180,000 members), and co-founded the Institute for Genetic Genealogy. For nine seasons, CeCe has served as the genetic genealogy expert, trusted with analyzing the DNA of hundreds of high-profile guests for the PBS documentary television series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Recently profiled by the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine and the UK Sunday Times, CeCe’s groundbreaking work has been featured widely in thousands of articles and hundreds of television shows throughout the world, promoting public awareness and support of investigative genetic genealogy as a powerful tool with positive societal impact.

CeCe has been appointed a Non-Resident Fellow of the Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard’s Hutchins Center (2019–2023).

Cheri Hudson Passey

Cheri Hudson PasseyCheri Hudson Passey is a professional genealogist, instructor, writer, and speaker and the owner of Carolina Girl Genealogy, LLC. Cheri is the host of the genealogy chat show GenFriends on YouTube and is a genealogical researcher, subcontracted by Eagle Investigative Services, Inc., for the US Army Past Conflict Repatriations Branch.

 

Lauren K. Peightel, MA

Lauren K. Peightel, MA Lauren K. Peightel, MA, is an educator who is passionate about storytelling, teaching history through play, and food as a vehicle to making lasting personal connections. Peightel carries an academic background of the liberal arts, fine art, art therapy, art history, and entrepreneurial studies from Seton Hill University, a graduate degree in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University, and continuing education certificate in Leadership and Administration in History Organizations from the American Association for State and Local History. Before leaving central Pennsylvania for Indiana, she worked almost ten years in youth camps, academic and public libraries, small historical societies and galleries, and in collections for the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. Peightel now serves as a manager in the Education and Engagement team at the Indiana Historical Society for the last six years, and as a chair for the bi-annual Midwestern Roots family history conference. She is also the creator of the IN 4D sensory-based research method for more experiential research and storytelling for genealogists, and as educator for family historians, law students, and museum professionals for the Indiana Historical Society, Illinois State Genealogical Society Conference, Ohio Genealogical Society Conference, The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, and History Leadership Institute for the American Association for State and Local History.

Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGL

Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGLNancy A. Peters, CG, CGL, is a full-time professional genealogist and coeditor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Board-certified since 2011, she served as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) and is the former editor of its newsletter, OnBoard. She conducts in-depth genealogical research to solve complex problems of identity and kinship for clients. Her personal and client research focuses primarily on the southeastern United States, New York, England, and Germany. Nancy lectures at national and local conferences and has instructed on skill-building topics and genealogy standards at BCG Education Fund workshops, SLIG, SLIG Academy, and GRIP. Her articles have appeared in the NGS Quarterly and other genealogical journals. She authored the "Research Reports" chapter in the Writing, Editing & Publishing section of Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice, & Standards (2018). Nancy holds postgraduate degrees from University of Arizona and London School of Economics in London, England.

Whitney Peterson

Whitney PetersonWhitney Peterson has a BA in History from Brigham Young University. For the last 10 years she has worked as a Content Strategist for FamilySearch, managing the British Isles and Nordic countries. She has presented multiple times at family history conferences, including the Nordic Family History Conference, FHF Really Useful Family History Show, RootsTech, and RootsTech London. She is passionate about family history, especially in helping others by sharing the behind-the-scenes information she has learned from over 13 years of working in the industry.

Gena Philibert-Ortega, MA, MAR

Gena Philibert-Ortega, MA, MAR Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, researcher, and instructor whose focus is genealogy, social and women's history. She holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology and Women's Studies) and a Master’s degree in Religion. Her published works include three books, numerous articles published in magazines and online, two volumes of Tracing Female Ancestors (Moorshead Publishing), Tracing Your Ancestors: Hispanic Research (Moorshead Publishing) and a QuickGuide from Legacy Family Tree. She is the editor of the Utah Genealogical Association’s magazine, Crossroads. Her writings can be found on her blogs, Gena’s Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera as well as the GenealogyBank and Legacy Family Tree blogs. She is a course instructor for The National Institute for Genealogical Studies and has written courses on topics involving websites, social media, and ethics. She has presented to diverse groups worldwide including the National Genealogical Society Conference, the Alberta Genealogical Society Conference, the Geo-Literary Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Legacy Family Tree Webinar series. Her research projects include Sowerby’s British Mineralogy: Its Influence on Martha Proby and Others in the Scientific Community during the 19th Century for the Gemological Institute of America, as well as genealogical research for the first season of PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow and the Travel Channel’s Follow Your Past. Her current research includes women's repatriation and citizenship in the 20th century, foodways and community in fundraising cookbooks, and women's material culture.

Marian Pierre-Louis

Marian Pierre-LouisMarian Pierre-Louis is a genealogy professional who specializes in educational outreach through webinars, internet broadcasts and video. Her areas of expertise include house history research, southern New England research, and turning genealogy into multi-media projects. She is the host of the Genealogy Professional podcast, a show committed to helping genealogy professionals become better businesspeople. Marian is the Online Education Producer for Legacy Family Tree Webinars where she produces online genealogy education classes.

Kimberly T. Powell

Kimberly PowellKimberly T. Powell is a professional genealogist, author, educator, and volunteer. She is a past president of the Association of Professional Genealogists, serving seven years as a Director and on APG’s Professional Development Committee. She is on the faculty of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate Program.

Kimberly was the genealogy expert for About.com from 2000 to 2016 and is the author of several books, including The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy, 3rd ed. (Adams Media, 2014). She has published articles in BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? magazine, Family Tree Magazine, NGS Magazine, and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. She is the proud recipient of the Utah Genealogical Association’s Silver Tray award for genealogical publishing (2012) and the Grahame T. Smallwood Jr. Award of Merit from the Association of Professional Genealogists (2017). You can find her online at LearnGenealogy.com.

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).

Robert Raymond, MS

Robert Raymond, MSRobert Raymond, MS, is a deputy to FamilySearch Chief Genealogical Officer, David Rencher. He is a frequent presenter at national, regional, and local conferences. For a decade Robert wrote a top-ranked genealogy blog about Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, records, and methodology. Robert is a genealogical technologist with over 40 years of experience in technology and genealogy. He holds over a dozen technology patents and earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Brigham Young University where he was honored as a Kimball Scholar. He was a member of the Eta Kappa Nu Electrical Engineering Honor Society, and the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. Robert was a director of the National Genealogical Society from 2012 to 2018.

David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FUGA, FIGRS

David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FUGA, FIGRSDavid E. Rencher, AG, CG, FUGA, FIGRS, is employed as the Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch. A professional genealogist since 1977, he is one of the rare few who have earned both credentials: Accredited Genealogist with ICAPGen in Ireland research (1981) and Certified Genealogist with the Board for Certification of Genealogists (2006). He is the Irish course coordinator and instructor for the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research in Athens, Georgia, and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 with a BA in Family and Local History. He is a past-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 1997–2000, a past-president of the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) 1993–1995 and a Fellow of that organization. He is a fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, London. He is the past chair of the joint National Genealogical Society and International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies committee for the Record Preservation and Access Coalition. He serves as a director on the board of the National Genealogical Society and as a counselor for the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

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 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com).

Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGARick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, is a long-time genealogical researcher and instructor. He coordinated and taught in advanced methodology, land, military, and beginning courses at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research from 2003-2017. Rick co-coordinates advanced land courses with Pam Sayre and legal courses with Judy Russell at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. He is an instructor at the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records. He also lectures at national conferences and presents nationwide seminars. Rick’s areas of expertise include the records of the National Archives, Irish research, land records, government documents, federal land law, military records, and urban research.

Craig Roberts Scott, MA, CG, FUGA

Craig Roberts Scott, MA, CG, FUGACraig Roberts Scott, MA, CG, FUGA, is the President and CEO of Heritage Books, Inc., a genealogical publishing firm with over 5,300 titles in print. A professional genealogical and historical researcher for more than thirty years, he specializes in the records of the National Archives, especially those that relate to the military. He is the former Coordinator of the Military tracks at IGHR, SLIG and GRIP.

Gerald H. "Jerry" Smith, CG

Gerald H. Gerald H. “Jerry” Smith, CG, is a full-time professional Certified Genealogist specializing in Pennsylvania research. He has been a course coordinator for IGHR (Land Platting) and a faculty member for other courses at IGHR, SLIG, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Researching Family in Pennsylvania. He is the author of a number of books and journal articles. He researches extensively on projects requiring in-depth knowledge of proprietor and commonwealth land records, mapping, and land placement. Regular research venues include the Pennsylvania Archives, State Library of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Law Library, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, military repositories (including David Library of the American Revolution and US Army Military History Institute), National Archives, religious & denominational repositories, county courthouses, and county and local historical and genealogical societies. Southern Pennsylvania border county research includes frequent on-site research at repositories in Annapolis, Baltimore, Maryland counties, West Virginia, and Virginia.

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CG

Karen StanbaryKaren 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.

Lisa Stokes, AG

Lisa Stokes, AGLisa Stokes, AG, is a professional genealogist accredited in the Mid-South region of the United States. She serves as a commissioner for the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen) and leads the Education Committee. In this capacity, she runs the ICAPGen Study Groups, mentoring aspiring genealogists as they learn about accreditation. Additionally, she serves on the ICAPGen Presentation Committee, producing videos about the accreditation process. Lisa has a Bachelor of Science in Education from Brigham Young University (BYU) and loves to teach, lecture, and coach others in overcoming research challenges. She recently developed a citation course to help genealogists with this vital skill. Lisa has presented at RootsTech, SLIG Day at the Family History Library, and the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy.

Currently, Lisa uses her DNA skills as an independent contractor solving criminal cases for law enforcement using investigative genetic genealogy. Lisa has completed courses at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and is a graduate of ProGen 43 and the Research Like a Pro with DNA Study Group. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the Virginia Genealogical Society, and the Utah Genealogical Association.

Michael L. Strauss, AG

Michael L. Strauss, AGMichael L. Strauss, AG, is a professional Accredited Genealogist and a nationally recognized genealogical speaker. He has been employed as a forensic genealogist for 25 years, has a BA in history, and is a United States Coast Guard veteran. Michael is also a qualified expert witness in the courts in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and an approved genealogist with the United States Army to locate DNA qualified persons MIA from Korea, Vietnam, and World War II. Strauss has been a faculty member of IGHR, SLIG, and GRIP, has been involved in Civil War reenacting for more than 25 years, and also reenacts the Mormon Battalion with the Utah Living History Association.

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, FUGA

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, FUGAD. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, FUGA, is a nationally known genealogical researcher and speaker. Passionate about family history, Joshua is the President of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NYG&B). He is a frequent speaker at family history events across the globe and is a course coordinator at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). Recognized for his work in the field, Joshua is the recipient of the Rubincam Youth Award from the National Genealogical Society, the Award of Merit from the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and was named one of Library Journal's Movers and Shakers. In 2022 he was named a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association. Joshua formerly served on the Board of Directors and as President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). 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? as a host on the popular PBS series Genealogy Roadshow.

Mindy Taylor, AG

Mindy Taylor, AGMindy Taylor, AG, is a professional genealogist, teacher, and presenter. She is accredited through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen) in the England region. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University and a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University. Mindy serves on the Presentation Committee for ICAPGen, creating instructional videos that appear on the ICAPGen YouTube channel. She has presented at RootsTech, the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy, and other local conferences teaching classes for those who wish to improve their research skills. She also co-teaches and mentors the Level 1 study group for ICAPGen. Mindy works for Price Genealogy in Draper, Utah, doing U.S. and British research.

Tanner Tolman

Tanner TolmanTanner Tolman has worked as a professional genealogist for 11 years. He currently works full-time for FamilySearch where he regularly helps guests with Nordic and DNA research. He has a bachelor’s degree in Family History and Genealogy from BYU and is accredited for Danish research through ICAPGen. He currently serves as the 2nd Vice President of the Utah Genealogical Association and is a co-administrator for the Youmans Y-DNA surname project.

Lynn Turner, AG

Lynn Turner, AGLynn Turner, AG, graduated with a BA in Family History and Genealogy from Brigham Young University with an emphasis in Spain and Latin America. He has been accredited in Spanish research since 2006. Lynn has worked at FamilySearch for more than 17 years in various roles and is currently the Director of the Family History Library. If he’s not researching, Lynn is spending time with his family, golfing, or mountain biking.

Janell Vasquez

Janell VasquezJanell Vasquez has been employed by FamilySearch since 2006. She has worked in many areas, including RootsTech speaker engagement, community development, volunteer engagement, and more, and currently serves as a Program Manager for the North America team. She is especially interested in finding people who are passionate about giving back in the genealogy world, helping them find ways to bring their community projects to life. Her guiding light is, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Rich Venezia

Rich VeneziaRich Venezia is a New Jersey native who now calls Philadelphia home. He founded Rich Roots Genealogy in 2013. He was a member of the research team of Genealogy Roadshow (PBS) for two seasons, and also consulted on Follow Your Past (Travel Channel). He is an expert in the research of 20th-century immigrant ancestors, especially underutilized record sources and federal records. He also specializes in Italian and Irish research. Additionally, he assists clients with dual citizenship applications for Ireland and Italy and is a proud Italian dual citizen. Rich holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University. He lectures nationwide and spoke about "How to Grow Empathy From Uncovering Your Roots" at TEDx Pittsburgh in 2017.

Lauren Wake, AG

Lauren Vasylyev, AGLauren Wake, AG, is a research specialist at the Family History Library, specializing in romance-language research. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Family History and Genealogy. She has conducted on-site research across the United States and Spain and has lectured at local, regional, and national conferences.

Diane Warmsley, MS

Diane Warmsley, MSDiane M. Warmsley, MS, is a professional genealogist and family historian with over twenty-five years of experience. She holds a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University’s Center for Professional Education and was a student in the inaugural SLIG African American Genealogy Course. Diane, a former Director of Admissions, began her career as a New York City public school teacher before transitioning to higher education and holding several administrative positions over the course of more than two decades. She holds an M.S. degree in Administration & Supervision in Higher Education from Baruch College, CUNY.

She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Greater New York Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (where she served as Chair of the Genealogy Committee), and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. In 2012 Diane launched Roots Run Deep to provide professional-level services to clients and advance genealogy through classes and workshops. She has lectured on genealogical issues throughout the New York area and in the Caribbean.

Mark Wentling, MLS, CG

Mark Wentling, CGMark A. Wentling, MLS, CG, Attleboro, Massachusetts, owner of Ancestor Introductions Forensic Genealogy, is a full-time, professional genealogist with more than 25 years of research experience.  He has specialized in forensic genealogy since 2017.  He is an adjunct professor at the University of New Haven, where he developed and teaches the Genealogy Principles and Methods course in the Certificate in Forensic Genetic Genealogy graduate program.  He is a past facilitator for the Genealogy Principles course at Boston University, and is a current Mentor for ProGen Study Group.  His research has been published in The New England Historical & Genealogical Register, and recognized by the New York State Assembly and New York State Office of Historic Preservation. 

Mark specialties include heir searching and military repatriation, New York and New England family history, Mayflower and Revolutionary War lineages, and lighthouse keepers.  He holds a B.A. in Sociology, a Master of Library Science with archives concentration, and a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University.  He currently serves on the board of directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).  He previously served as the first Vice President of APG’s Forensic Genealogy SIG from 2020 to 2021, and as Vice President of its New England Chapter from 2018 to 2020.

Scott Wilds, CG

Scott Wilds, CGScott Wilds, CG, has been an avid genealogist for fifty years. A part-time professional, he is currently genealogical consultant to the Penn and Slavery Project at the University of Pennsylvania. His lineage of three generations of an African American family, from West Africa to the Great Migration, is on the Board for Certification of Genealogists’ Learning Center website, and he has published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Board-certified since 2017, Scott is a BCG trustee and treasurer. For the last twenty years, much of his research has focused on Darlington County, SC. His website, https://scottwilds.com/, contains abstracts of slave-related deeds and other documents from the Darlington County deed books, indexes to ration books and medical records from the Freedmen’s Bureau field office in Darlington, and other resources. He has spoken at South Carolina Genealogical Society Summer Workshops on using estate and equity records in African American research, records of the Freedmen’s Bureau, and other topics. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, he has a master’s degree in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania and was an associate editor of the Papers of William Penn.

Paul Woodbury, MEd, AG

Paul Woodbury, MEd, AGPaul Woodbury, MEd, AG, is a graduate of Brigham Young University where he studied Genetics and Family History. Paul fell in love with genealogy when he was eight years old. Since he was sixteen he knew he wanted to be a genetic genealogist, so he is particularly pleased to work in the field full-time. He currently works as a senior researcher and DNA specialist for Legacy Tree Genealogists. He is also actively pursuing a graduate degree in Instructional Design and Educational Technology. In addition to genetic genealogy, Paul specializes in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Scandinavian research and regularly presents on research topics related to these fields.

Jennifer Armstrong Zinck, CG

Jennifer Armstrong Zinck, CGJennifer Armstrong Zinck, CG, is a New England-based professional genealogist who enjoys researching, writing, teaching, and consulting. Her educational background includes an MBA with a concentration in Project Management. Jennifer serves as the President of the Connecticut Professional Genealogists Council, Inc., and on the Board of Governors of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists. She teaches Forensic Research as an Academic Professional in the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Program. Jennifer's client work has spanned the United States and beyond and her personal areas of research interest are New England and northeast England. She developed a passion for using DNA evidence for genealogical research in 2011 and has spent the last decade integrating genetic evidence with documentary evidence to solve challenging genealogical research problems, including unknown and misattributed parentage and ancestral brick walls.

 

* The words Accredited Genealogist and its acronym, AG, are a registered accreditation mark of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists℠, used under license by accredited genealogists after periodic evaluation.

** The words Certified Genealogist and its acronym, CG, are a registered certification mark, and the designations Certified Genealogical Lecturer and its acronym, CGL, are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.