SLIG 2021 Faculty

Deborah A. Abbott, PhD

Deborah A. Abbott, PhD Deborah A. Abbott, PhD, is a professional genealogist, specializing in African American research, manuscript collections, and genealogy methodology. She is a Trustee on the Board of the Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS), a member of the Cuyahoga County Archives Advisory Commission in Cleveland, and previously served on the  Board of Directors for FGS. She is an associate with the Kentucky-Tennessee Associates based in Springfield, TN, past president of the African American Genealogical Society, Cleveland, Ohio, and a retired professor of Counseling from Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. She holds both the BS and MEd degrees from Tuskegee University in Alabama and the PhD degree from Kent State University in Ohio. 

Dr. Abbott is an instructor at IGHR, SLIG, and the African American Genealogy Colloquium at Alabama State University in Montgomery, AL. She presents lectures and workshops at a variety of national, state, and local genealogy conferences across the country, as well as colleges, businesses, and libraries. She has had articles published in the Ohio Genealogy News and Family Tree Magazines. Dr. Abbott can also be seen teaching African American research entitled Needles & Threads on Ancestry Academy, an educational video course for 

Dr. Abbott is a member of NGS, APG, GSG, as well as other state and local genealogical societies. She teaches monthly classes entitled “Using in Genealogy Research” at the Lakewood (Ohio) Public Library and coordinates/teaches the “Genealogy and Family History Clinic” for the Cleveland Public Library. 

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

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 where she lives with her husband and two descendants. 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.

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 immediate 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 has been published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Crossroads, and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly.

Lara Diamond, MSE

Lara Diamond, MSE Lara Diamond, began researching her own family around 1989. She has traced all branches of her family multiple generations back in Europe using Russian Empire-era and Austria-Hungarian Empire records. Most of her personal research is in modern-day Ukraine, with a smattering of Belarus and Poland. She has done client research leading to their ancestors in many parts of the former USSR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania and more. Lara leverages her mathematics background and her endogamous Ashkenazic genome to augment document-based research with genetic genealogy and teaches how others can have successes in genetic genealogy in endogamous situations. She is president of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland, leads JewishGen‘s Subcarpathian SIG, and is on JewishGen‘s Ukraine SIG’s board of directors. She has lectured around the country and internationally on Jewish and Eastern European genealogy research as well as genetic genealogy. She also runs multiple district- and town-focused projects to collect documentation to assist all those researching ancestors from common towns.

Joseph B. Everett, MLS, AG

Joseph B. Everett, MLS Joe Everett is the Family History, Local History, and Microforms Librarian at the Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library. He has over 25 years combined experience in the genealogical field at BYU, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and

Joe manages the collections and patron services of the BYU Family History Library and serves as a faculty liaison to instructors in BYU's Family History undergraduate degree program and others involved in family history on campus from social to computer science.

At FamilySearch, Joe was a library program manager providing services for the more 5,000 family history centers. Previously at FamilySearch, he headed the International Reference floor at the Family History Library, and also worked for several years as a technical services librarian, cataloging Slavic and Germanic records. He has served on numerous strategic planning and program development teams at FamilySearch. At, he worked in content acquisitions and content product and project management, putting genealogical databases online.

Joe earned a B.A. in Russian Language and in Family History/Genealogy (Germanic emphasis) from Brigham Young University and a Master of Library Science from Emporia State University (Kansas). He has been a member and officer in various library and genealogical associations and has lectured and published articles on U.S. and European family history research, historical geography, and migration.

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

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL, is an author and lecturer who focuses on Genealogical Methodology and African American families with roots in the South. She has served as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists since 2016, and as the registrar general of the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage lineage society since 2017. Previously LaBrenda was a facilitator on the faculty of Boston University's Online Genealogical Certificate Program LaBrenda earned a BA in government 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 School of Law. In 2016 LaBrenda published A Guide to Researching African American Ancestors in Laurens County, South Carolina and Selected Finding Aids, a book that was widely acclaimed as a model for research in South Carolina and other states. Other publications are listed on her website.

Paul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGL

Paul GrahamPaul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGL, is a Senior Genealogist at AncestryProGenealogists, where he conducts research for clients and for the television show Who Do You Think You Are?. He specializes in genealogical problem solving across the English-speaking world. Paul is BCG-certified and an ICAPGen Accredited Genealogist professional, and 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 grew up in North Carolina and Georgia and currently resides in Logan, Utah.

Michael G. Hait, CG, CGL

Michael Hait Michael Hait, CG, CGL, 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).

Gideon Hill, MD

Gideon Hill, MDGideon Hill, MD, has been researching his family for over 45 years. His research interests are pre-1750 Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. He has completed the Genealogical Research Certificate of Boston University. Gideon teaches genealogy courses in the Philadelphia area, has lectured to groups around the country, and has had articles published in family history magazines.

He is especially interested in how the academic field of Social History can inform genealogical research and the compiling of a family history. He is currently a Master’s candidate in American History with American Public University. His professional background is in the field of Family Medicine. He attended the University of Delaware and Jefferson Medical College.

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 lineage society applications. She is also proficient in using DNA test results to break through ancestral brick walls. Melissa is the former Editor of NGS Monthly and frequently writes articles on methodology and sources. She is also Reviews Editor of the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (APGQ), and editor of the GSNJ Newsletter, a publication of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey.

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

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG,CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGSThomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, 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 Jorgensen Gretchen 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 B.S. 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 3rd cousin DNA match had the unexpected side effect of developing a passion for solving unknown parentage cases. 

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 has recently been appointed as the Executive Director of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, July 2018. Rebecca lives in Mount Airy and volunteers at the Family History Center in Frederick, Maryland.

Michael D. Lacopo, DVM

Michael Lacopo Dr. Michael D. Lacopo was born and raised in northern Indiana surrounded by extended family always willing to tell tall tales. Intrigued by his maternal family’s claim to be kinfolk of Abraham Lincoln, and his paternal family’s stories of murder and mayhem, he took to genealogical research in 1980 to substantiate these family stories. Genealogical research as a hobby was in its infancy in the 1980s. Combing libraries, archives, cemeteries and courthouses as a teenager, Michael gained the skills needed to become a keen researcher. His first major challenge in the world of research was tackled by finding his adopted mother’s birthparents in 1982. You can read about this adventure at his blog at with some engaging story telling, plot twists and new findings!

Although a budding genealogist in the 1980s, Michael completed his doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1991, while still spending time honing his research skills. As befitting a doctor, Michael treats his genealogical research as he would medicine – carefully, methodically and completely. Several genealogical journal articles and publications appeared along the way. In 2013, Michael retired from his medical career to pursue genealogical research full-time as a profession. He has contributed to numerous periodicals and has helped numerous people in their quests to locate their relatives – living and dead. He appeared in USA Today in 2000 discussing genealogy and the proposed destruction of the federal census tabulated in that year. His national lecturing began in Sacramento, CA, at the National Genealogical Society’s national conference in 2004, and has continued with several local, state, national, and international conference speaking engagements to this present day.

Michael's interests and strengths include Mennonite research, German and Swiss research, especially as it pertains to the 18th century immigration to America, among many other topics. He makes many trips throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states chasing ancestors in primary repositories, and also devotes a considerable amount of time to European research, being proficient in reading German script. Having ancestors from many geographic locales as well as immigrants spanning the 17th century to the 20th century, Michael has a wide variety of proficiencies. 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.

In addition to his story-telling and educational blog, Michael’s presence can be found online at, or for more up-to-date lecture and research information, at his Facebook page at

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 genealogical questions 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.

Annette Burke Lyttle

Annette Burke Lyttle Annette Burke Lyttle owns Heritage Detective, LLC, offering services in genealogical research, writing, and education. She regularly speaks on topics including ancestral migration at national, regional, and local conferences, as well as local societies. She serves as an editorial assistant for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and as a webinar host for the Florida State Genealogical Society. Annette is a member of the board of directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Her articles have been published in the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly, NGS Magazine, and FGS Forum.

Angela Packer McGhie, CG

Angela Packer McGhie, CGAngela Packer McGhie, CG, is a professional researcher, lecturer and instructor. She coordinates the Intermediate Genealogy course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Angela is an instructor at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records. She speaks at national and regional conferences, and is an instructor for the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate program.

Angela served as the administrator of the ProGen Study Program for six years and is now on the board of directors. She is a past president of the National Capital Area Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists and has published in the APG Quarterly and the NGS Magazine. Angela currently serves a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists Education Fund.

Paul Milner, MDiv, FUGA

Paul Milner, MDiv, FUGA Paul Milner, a native of northern England is an author, professional genealogist and international lecturer. He is the author of Discover English Census Records (UnlockThePast 2015); Buried Treasures: what’s in the English parish chest (UnlockThePast, 2015) ; Discover English Parish Records (UnlockThePast, 2014); Genealogy at a Glance: England Research (Genealogical Publishing Co, 2011); plus co-author with Linda Jonas of A Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your English Ancestors: How to find and record your unique heritage (Betterway Books, 2000), and A Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your Scottish Ancestors: How to find and record your unique heritage (Betterway Books, 2002).

Paul has specialized in British Isles genealogical research for over 30 years speaking on topics relating to research in the British Isles, migration to North America and research methodology. He is the course coordinator and instructor for the English and Scottish tracks at the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University; plus has taught at the British Institute in Salt Lake City, and the Genealogical Institute of Mid-America. He has lectured extensively in the US, Australia, Canada and England, plus on genealogy cruises. He is currently the book review editor for the BIGWILL newsletter and recently retired review editor of the FGS FORUM. He is the past-president of the British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois (BIGWILL), and a past board member of the Association to Professional Genealogists, the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the Genealogical Speakers Guild. Paul highlights new British Isles resources and methodology on his blog.

Steven W. Morrison, MPA

Steven W. Morrison, MPA Steven W. Morrison has been a professional genealogist since 2006. Steven attained a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from The Evergreen State College, where he taught as an adjunct faculty in the graduate program (1987-1994). In January 2018 Steven coordinated and instructed in a SLIG course titled Exploring Quaker Records – At Home and Abroad. In 2016 Steven received the American Society of Genealogists (ASG) scholar award for his paper “Quaker John Starr of Antrim and Cavan, Ireland and his five sons who sailed to Pennsylvania.” He’s authored multiple articles and book reviews regarding Quakers (Religious Society of Friends). These include three articles for Familia (the journal of the Ulster Historical Foundation), and others for Journal of Scotch-Irish Studies, Directory of Irish Family History Research , and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly.

David Ouimette, CG, CGL

David Ouimette, CG, CGLDavid Ouimette, CG, CGL, manages Content Strategy at FamilySearch, prioritizing historical content worldwide for digital preservation and online publication in support of family history research. His team prioritizes camera placement and targets records in national, regional, and local archives; they also guide record selection for collaborative projects with partner organizations. David has conducted research in hundreds of archives in over fifty countries spanning all continents. Previously, David was product manager at, responsible for family trees, United States records, DNA testing, and the search experience. David regularly lectures at national genealogical conferences and institutes. He serves as a Trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has served as Vice President of the Utah Genealogical Association and on the board of the National Genealogical Society. He holds BS and MS degrees in Mathematics from Brigham Young University, has contributed articles to many magazines and journals, and authored Finding Your Irish Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide. David and his wife, Deanna, live in Highland, Utah, and are the parents of eight children.

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 serves as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) and is the former editor of its newsletter, OnBoard. She conducts in-depth geenalogical research to solve complex problems of identity and kinship for clients. Her person 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.

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.

David Rencher, CG, AG, FIGRS, FUGA

David Rencher, CG, AG, FIGRS, FUGADavid Rencher, CG, AG, FIGRS, FUGA, is employed as the Director of the Family History Library and 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 and Certified Genealogist with the Board for Certification of Genealogists. He is the Irish course coordinator and instructor for the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) in Athens, Georgia, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the British Institute of the International Society of British Genealogy and Family History in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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, and currently serves as the VP of Development, he is 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, and is a vice-president of the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU). He is the past Chair of the joint Federation of Genealogical Societies, National Genealogical Society, and International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies committee for Record Preservation and Access. He is a Trustee of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History and an instructor for the British Institute.

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.

On the faculty of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Alabama, 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 of 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 (

Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, FUGA

Pamela Boyer SayrePamela Boyer Sayre, CG, FUGA, is a professional researcher, educator, author, and lecturer. She has developed, coordinated, and taught the Techniques and Technology course at Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research since 2007. She also co-coordinates and teaches in the Researching in Washington, DC, without Leaving Home and the advanced land course at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the advanced land course at Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. She has taught in Boston University’s Professional Certificate Program in Genealogy, and she developed an NGS self-paced Social Security course for family historians.

Pam is former NGS director of education and publications, former board member of NGS and FGS, co-author of Online Roots: How to Discover Your Family's History and Heritage with the Power of the Internet (2003) and Research in Missouri (1999, 2007), former FGS FORUM Digitools columnist, and a former editor of APGQ. She is a popular seminar presenter who has spoken at genealogy conferences and seminars nationwide and on international cruises.

Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

Richard SayreRick Sayre, CG®, CGLSM, 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 Scott Craig 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 Stanbary Karen Stanbary, CG, specializes in DNA analysis, Midwestern, Chicago, and Mexican/Puerto Rican research as well as complex problem-solving. She holds a Master of Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago. A regular instructor in Chicago’s Newberry Library Adult Education program and at other local and national venues, Karen lectures on topics including Genetic Genealogy, Advanced Genetic Genealogy and the Genealogical Proof Standard.

She is a coordinator and faculty member at three genealogical institutes—GRIP, IGHR, and SLIG. Her ground-breaking, complex evidence case study incorporating traditional documentary research and autosomal DNA analysis in the June 2016 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and was awarded the NGSQ Award for Excellence.

She holds the credential Certified Genealogist from the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). She serves the Board for Certification of Genealogists as a Trustee and chairs the standing Genetic Genealogy committee and serves on the Ad Hoc Committee for Genetic Genealogy Standards.

Heather Stewart, BA, AG

Heather Stewart, BA, AG Heather graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor’s degree in Family History with a focus on East European and British research. Formerly employed as the East European Specialist at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Heather specializes in research in the Russian Empire and has a passion for studying the Russian language.


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 and 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 and has been involved in Civil War reenacting for more than 25 years and also reenacts the Mormon Battalion with the Utah Living History Association.

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA Paula Stuart-Warren works full time in the area of genealogical and historical research, lecturing, consulting, and writing. She has been a Board-certified genealogist since 1988. Her specialties include unusual records, analysis, research planning, problem-solving, manuscript and archival repositories, railroads, and Native American genealogy. She is a course coordinator and instructor at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and a former board member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the Association of Professional Genealogists, and MGS. She was awarded the Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service to Professional Genealogy in 2019. Among her other awards and honors are the Grahame T. Smallwood, Jr. Award of Merit from the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Loretto D. Szucs Service Award from the Federation of Genealogical Societies. She is a fellow of the Minnesota Genealogical Society and the Utah Genealogical Association. Paula has written articles for American Ancestors, Ancestry Magazine, Minnesota Genealogist, Digital Genealogist, Family Tree Magazine, FGS Forum, FGS Voice, NGS Magazine, National Genealogical Society Quarterly and She authored Minnesota Genealogical Reference Guide. She co-authored the best-selling Your Guide to the Family History Library: How to Access the World’s Largest Genealogy Resource.

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

D. Joshua TaylorD. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, 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 also the immediate past president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). 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.

The former Director of Education and Programs at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Joshua is the author of numerous articles in American Ancestors, UGA Crossroads, FGS Forum, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, New England Ancestors, and other publications. In 2013 he authored “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. At the present time Joshua can be seen taking America through their past as a host on the popular PBS series Genealogy Roadshow.

Ellie Vance, BA

Ellie Vance, BA Ellie graduated from Brigham Young University with a double major in Family History/Genealogy and Russian. While at BYU, Ellie completed a genealogical internship in Moscow where she worked at a genealogical research company. Ellie currently works at the FamilySearch Family History Library as a German/Slavic research specialist and as an Eastern European researcher at Legacy Tree. Ellie enjoys teaching at conferences and sharing her love for family history.

Diane M. Warmsley

Diane M. WarmsleyDiane M. Warmsley 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.

Scott Wilds, CG

Scott Wilds, CG Scott 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 Society 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 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.

Ari Wilkins

Ari Wilkins Ari Wilkins, a graduate of Louisiana State University, has been actively researching family history since 1998. Ari worked with the esteemed genealogist, Dr. James Rose, for many years on his final project Generations: The WPA Ex-Slave Narrative Database. She is the owner of the genealogical consulting company, Black Genesis. Ari also works as a contributor for Proquest’s African American Heritage database. Ari has instructed at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. She has been a conference speaker at the National Genealogical Society, Federation of Genealogical Societies, Texas State Genealogical Society, Ohio Genealogical Society, American Library Association, and has lectured at a multitude of local societies. Ari has been a Library Associate at Dallas Public Library since 2007. She specializes in African American research and has lectured on African American migration.

Katherine R. Willson

Katherine R. Willson Katherine R. Willson of Ann Arbor, Michigan is an engaging & dynamic genealogy lecturer at local, regional and national conferences, including lecturing on the effect of economic crises on our ancestors. She is an educator, teaching beginning, intermediate, and advanced genealogy classes in Michigan since 2001 and is author of The Genealogists Guide to Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2018 she founded the Virtual Genealogical Association, a global organization for family history enthusiasts of all skill levels. Her success in using Facebook to break down genealogical brick walls (both personally and in her classroom) inspired her to compile a list of 14,500+ Facebook genealogy links. Additionally, she has created a compilation of 160+ instructional genealogical channels on YouTube. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and was conference publicity chair for FGS 2019.

Paul Woodbury, MEd

Paul Woodbury Paul Woodbury is a recent 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.