Academy 2020 Faculty

Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD

Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JDBlaine Bettinger, PhD, JD, is a professional genealogist specializing in DNA evidence. In 2007 he started The Genetic Genealogist (, one of the earliest blogs on the topic. Blaine is the author of The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, and co-author with Debbie Parker Wayne of the award-winning Genetic Genealogy in Practice, the world’s first genetic genealogy workbook. He also co-authored “Genetics for Genealogy” with Judy Russell in 2018’s Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards (ProGen PPS, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Author and Editor).

Blaine is or has been an instructor for genetic genealogy courses at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research. Blaine is a graduate of ProGen Study Group 21, a trustee for the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s Board of Trustees, and a board member for the Association of Professional Genealogists.

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 bachelors and masters 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.

Scott Christensen, MBA, PMP

Scott Christensen, MBA, PMPScott Christensen, MBA, PMP, is a 30-year technology professional, having worked nearly two decades in the family history industry, building products, managing people and technology, in both start-up and large companies. Scott is currently Director of Operations at AncestryProGenealogists where he manages an incredible team of professional genealogists and associated staff. Prior to his current role, Scott directed Product Management at Ancestry, building products such as mobile applications and the content digitization pipeline. In his roles at Ancestry and in prior companies, Scott has had the privilege of traveling the world, building operations in India, China, Philippines, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

While attending Brigham Young University, Scott married his ballroom dance partner and best friend. Together, they have 3 beautiful children and live in Lindon, Utah.

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, and is a genealogist for the Relative Race TV show.


Jill N. Crandell, MA, AG

Jill N. Crandell, MA, AGJill N. Crandell, MA, AG, is an assistant teaching professor of history at Brigham Young University. She is also the director of the BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy (CFHG), which currently employs fifty student researchers. Jill is accredited in Midwest US research, and she has done extensive work on a community study of Garden Grove, Iowa. The Nauvoo [Illinois] Community Project at the CFHG is being conducted under her direction. Jill is the developer of ResearchTies, an online research log. She is also a past president of ICAPGen and a past director of SLIG.

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.

Christy Fillerup

Christy FillerupAs a long-time professional genealogist and former Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly Managing Editor, Christy Fillerup is tenacious in solving complex research problems. As the Editing Team Lead for Legacy Tree Genealogists, she works with professional researchers from across the globe to translate research findings into an end product that a client can understand and appreciate.

Laura Giometta, PMP

Laura Giometta, PMPLaura Giometta was born and raised in the Chicago area to an Italian- and German-American family. She began her genealogy adventures as a child and won a scholarship in high school based on her early genealogy research. While pursuing her professional advancement in Project and Program Management, primarily in Information Technology, Laura zealously delved into Italian genealogical research, making many mistakes but also learning much along the way. She has done research in Italy as well as the United States. Laura currently leads a team that manages strategic projects for FamilySearch and also does professional research for a limited number of clients. Laura graduated from BYU with a degree in International and Latin American Studies and has been professionally certified in Project Management (PMP) for nearly 10 years. She loves to travel (Italy, Chicago, and New York City are favorites) and is the proud mom of two beautiful children.

Paul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGL

Paul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGLPaul K. Graham, AG, CG, CGL, is a Senior Genealogist at AncestryProGenealogists, where he conducts 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 Utah.

Rebecca Groberg, PMP

Rebecca Groberg, PMPRebecca Groberg, PMP, is no stranger to professional genealogical research. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Family History and Genealogy from Brigham Young University with an emphasis in Germanic localities and has completed many research projects in that region. She worked as a professional genealogist before beginning employment with the world’s largest genealogical organization, FamilySearch International. There she works as a program manager, coordinating the efforts of multiple overlapping projects. Rebecca is a certified Project Management Professional and is passionate about affective project management skills. She sees great value in combining genealogical research processes with project management skills to produce better results.

Brent M. Hansen, DBA, PMP, IPMA-C

Brent M. Hansen, DBA, PMP, IMPA-CDr. Brent Hansen is a Project Management Professional (PMI PMP) with over 25 years of experience managing program and projects in multiple industries, including: genealogy, government, non-profits, banking, insurance, software development, robotics, engineering, and academics. He is actively involved in the project management community of practice. Brent’s doctoral degree is international business, with his dissertation focus on project outcomes. For the last nine years, he has worked for FamilySearch supporting innovative projects and strategic initiatives. His current focus and projects involve the family history experience for people of African descent. In 2019, he spoke at several conferences on the oral genealogy collection project in Africa and FamilySearch records of the enslaved people. Brent is a member of the National Genealogical Society (NGS). Brent teaches business and project management courses for graduate students and professional education students at the University of Utah. He has certifications with the Project Management Institute (PMI) and International Project Management Association (IPMA).

Brent has traveled far and wide in his education and career. Spending a significant amount of time in the Pacific islands, Asia, Europe and Africa. He is an expert in oral history and oral genealogy in the Pacific and Africa. The oral genealogies being the largest genealogical record set available in Africa.

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, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGSThomas W. Jones works and plays full-time as a genealogical editor, educator, researcher, and writer. He has lectured at national genealogy conferences since 1996, coedited the National Genealogical Society Quarterly since 2002, coordinated courses at genealogy institutes since 2006, and taught “Evidence Analysis and Documentation,” in Boston University’s genealogy certificate program. Tom also is the author of Mastering Genealogical Proof, a popular textbook on genealogical methods.

An active genealogist since his teens, Tom's research encompasses records of most American states and France, Germany, Ireland, and Italy. He specializes, however, in Georgia, the Midwest, Northern Ireland, Upstate New York, and Virginia. Tom writes and speaks frequently on genealogical methods applicable across geographic areas and time periods.

Karen Matheson, AG

Karen MathesonKaren Matheson, AG, enjoys researching, mentoring, teaching, presenting, and sharing her enthusiasm for family history with others! She is an Accredited Genealogist in the United States Upper South region who has been doing genealogical and family history research for more than twenty years. Karen currently works as a Research Manager for Ancestry ProGenealogists in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Angela Packer McGhie, CG

Angela Packer McGhie, CGAngela Packer McGhie, CG, has a passion for teaching genealogy. She is the Education Director for the National Genealogical Society and a trustee for 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 teaches at 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 the APG Quarterly and the NGS Magazine. She is a past president of the National Capital Area Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists and currently serves a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists Education Fund.

Kory L. Meyerink, MLS, AG, FUGA

Kory L. Meyerink, MLS, AG, FUGAForty years in genealogy has given Kory Meyerink the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of this important and growing field. After mentoring with several locally prominent genealogists, he conducted professional research for companies and individual clients, followed by ten years at the Family History Library coordinating the creation of their instructional publications. After writing chapters for The Source and The Library, he was commissioned to write and edit Printed Sources, which became an ALA award winning reference book. He was the first acquisitions manager for a fledgling electronic publisher later known as Ancestry. He returned to his roots as a researcher for individuals and was a co-founder of ProGenealogists, helping grow the business until its acquisition by Ancestry. He is now a research manager for the since branded AncestryProGenealogists and one of their first Master Genealogists where this secondary role focuses on the growth, training and development of the company and its staff.

Kelvin L. Meyers

Kelvin L. MeyersA fifth-generation Texan and professional forensic genealogist since 1996, Kelvin is a frequent speaker to genealogical societies and family associations throughout the United States. He specializes in southern brick wall problems for clients. Kelvin has recently joined the team at Ancestry ProGenealogists.

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

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

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

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

Karina E. Morales, AG

Karina E. Morales, AGKarina E. Morales, AG, is a records and research expert with a degree from BYU in Family History and Genealogy. She is also accredited through ICAPGen in Mexican research. She works for FamilySearch in the Content Strategy team overseeing record priorities in Latin America, Spain, and the Philippines. This requires direct collaboration with 10 field relation managers living in other countries and with several teams across the Family History Department. Previously, she worked at AncestryProGenealogists where she managed 30-50 client research cases a month, supervised a team of 10 researcher managers and assistants, hired contractors from all over the globe, and was one of the lead researchers for the NBC series Who Do You Think You Are?.

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. She serves on the executive committee and as a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists and is the former editor of its newsletter, OnBoard. She lectures at conferences and is an instructor for SLIG, SLIG Academy, and BCG Education Fund workshops on skill-building topics and genealogy standards. Her published work has appeared in the NGSQ, other genealogical journals, and Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice, & Standards (2018). Nancy’s client and personal research focuses primarily on England, Germany, New York, and the southeastern United States.

Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG

Michael S. Ramage, JD, CGMichael S. Ramage, JD, CG, began his professional genealogy career in 1998. Since 2002, he has been a full-time forensic genealogist, author, lecturer and expert witness specializing in estate, real estate, copyright and trademark research. Mr. Ramage became a board-certified genealogist in 2002. He has served as a Trustee, officer and now General Counsel of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) since 2010. In 2013, he served on BCG’s Genealogy Standards Committee that resulted in the complete revision of the industry’s standards published in 2014. His 25-year law practice included civil litigation, contracts, wills, estates, trusts and elder law. He has taught numerous forensic genealogy courses at genealogy conferences and institutes around the country. His related publications include: “Forensic Specialization” and “Ethical Considerations” chapters in Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards, Elizabeth Shown Mills, editor (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2018).

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGLThe Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell 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 Georiga, 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 (

Reed Shell, PMP

Reed Shell, PMPReed Shell is the Manager of Program Management for FamilySearch Product Engineering Division where his team coordinates the 30 plus software development teams. His team won the 2019 Utah PMO of the Year. He is a 30-year Information Technology professional who has worked for Fortune 50 companies, non-profits and small businesses. Reed speaks fluent agile and is a Certified Scrum Professional. He is a Project Management Professional and has held many positions of leadership for the Project Management Institute (PMI). He has presented at the PMI Global Conference (2018, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Boise State University and a Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership from prestigious George Fox University. When he is not managing people, process, projects, or presenting, you will find him in his kayak soaking crab pots at his favorite bay on the Oregon Coast or rockhounding with his wife and best friend of 34 years.

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CG

Karen Stanbary, MA, LCSW, CGKaren Stanbary is an author and lecturer focusing on topics related to using genetic evidence correlated with documentary evidence to solve genealogical brick walls. 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 Michoacan, 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 GRIP, IGHR, and SLIG. 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.

Jessica Taylor

Jessica TaylorJessica Taylor founded Legacy Tree Genealogists in 2004. It has since grown to a multi-million dollar company, with over 35 employees and a thousand additional contractors spread across the globe. Legacy Tree is the highest client-rated genealogy research company in the world and the recommended research company of MyHeritage, 23andMe, RootsMagic, and more. Helping clients discover their roots, connect with biological family and preserve their legacies, while caring for our team of superstar professionals, is Legacy Tree Genealogists’ joy and passion.

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLSD. 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. In 2017, Joshua was named as one of Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers. He has been seen on Who Do You Think You Are? and was a host on the popular PBS series Genealogy Roadshow.

Traci Vaughn-Grutta

Traci Vaughn-GruttaTraci Vaughn-Grutta is a Director of Operations for AncestryProGenealogists. Traci leads a global team of researchers dedicated to helping clients discover, preserve, and share their family histories. She believes in the power that understanding more about your past can influence your future.

Before joining Ancestry, Traci held leadership roles in multiple high-tech organizations including Prosper Marketplace and eBay where she connected with clients and was dedicated to improving the client experience on the platform. Traci believes that process improvement should start with the customer in mind and business results will follow.

Traci was born and raised in Utah and currently resides in Draper with her husband and two children. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Utah. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring the mountains and deserts of Utah on her bike, pushing through Crossfit workouts, teaching snowboarding, and attending Broadway shows.