SLIG 2021 Faculty

John Philip Colletta, PhD, FUGA

John Colletta John Philip Colletta is one of America’s most popular genealogical lecturers. Knowledgeable, experienced, and entertaining, he resides in Washington, DC. For twenty years, while laying the foundation for his career in genealogy, he worked half-time at the Library of Congress and taught workshops at the National Archives.

Today Dr. Colletta lectures nationally, teaches at local schools, and conducts programs for the Smithsonian Institution’s Resident Associate Program. He is a faculty member of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (Athens, GA), the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and Boston University’s Certificate in Family History program. He has also been an instructor and course coordinator for the National Institute on Genealogical Research (Washington, DC), the Genealogical Institute of Texas (Dallas), and the Genealogical Institute of Mid-America (Springfield, IL).

His publications include numerous articles, both scholarly and popular, two manuals — They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record and Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans — and one “murder-mystery-family-history,” Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath. It tells the story of Colletta’s great great grandfather, Joe Ring, who moved his family from Buffalo, New York, to Rolling Fork, Mississippi, after the Civil War. When Joe Ring’s country store burned to the ground with five unfortunate victims sleeping upstairs, the incident was investigated as mass murder, robbery and arson.

Dr. Colletta appears frequently on podcasts and local and national radio and television. He is featured in Episode Four of Ancestors, the ten-part KBYU-TV series, as well as its sequel. He has received many professional honors, including fellowship in the Utah Genealogical Association and distinguished service awards from the Dallas Genealogical Society and the National Society, Daughters of Colonial Founders and Patriots.

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 Ancestry.com.

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 Ancestry.com, 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-NelsonLaBrenda Garrett-Nelson is an author and lecturer who focuses on African American families with roots in the South; she also serves as a facilitator on the faculty of the Boston University Online Genealogical Program. LaBrenda was approved as a board-certified genealogist in 2015, and elected as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists in 2016. She 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. While practicing law, LaBrenda authored several editions of her family history as well as two church histories. She has been published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, among other genealogical publications. 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: http://www.LabGarrettGenealogy.com.

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 HaitMichael Hait, CG, CGL, is a full-time professional genealogical researcher, writer, and lecturer. He has written case studies for several 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. Michael currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (2016–2019), and formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists (2012–2013). He is co-owner and co-administrator of the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research.

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 Roots4U.blogspot.com 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 www.Roots4U.com, or for more up-to-date lecture and research information, at his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Roots4U.

Annette Burke Lyttle

Annette Burke Lyttle A professional genealogist since 2014, Annette Burke Lyttle specializes in Midwestern, military, and Quaker research, all of which feed into her passion for understanding and tracing ancestral migration. In researching her own family, most of which arrived in North America in the 1600s and 1700s, she has followed them steadily westward along both traditional and unexpected migration paths.

Annette is a researcher, writer, and lecturer. She has presented at the NGS Family History Conference (2016–2019), the FGS conference (2019), Southern California Jamboree (2016–2019), the Ohio Genealogical Society conference (2018–2019), and the New England Regional conference (2019). She regularly presents genealogy webinars for eight sponsoring societies and averages 15–20 presentations per year for genealogical societies in Florida. She is co-coordinator, along with Steven W. Morrison, for the 2020 Exploring American Quaker Records course at GRIP. Her articles have been published in the Illinois Genealogical Society Quarterly and NGS Magazine. From 2017 through 2019 she coordinated the annual conference for the Association of Professional Genealogists.

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 member and 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 is host of the Florida State Genealogical Society’s monthly webinar series. Annette is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the John Bartram Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, NGS, NEHGS, NYG&B, the Florida State Genealogical Society, the Utah Genealogical Association, and the Southern California Genealogical Society.

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.

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.

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Judy RussellJudy 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 (http://www.legalgenealogist.com).

Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, FUGA

Pamela Boyer SayrePamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL, 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, CGL, FUGA, is a long-time researcher and instructor in genealogical topics. He coordinates the Using Maps in Genealogy course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University. He also instructs in the Advanced Methodology course, the Techniques and Technology course, the Advanced Military courses, and a variety of other IGHR courses. Rick and his wife Pam coordinate the Advanced Land course offered by the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and the Advanced Land course at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP).

Rick co-coordinates with Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, the Law School for Genealogists at GRIP and the FHL Law Library course at SLIG. He also lectures at national conferences and presents nationwide seminars. His areas of expertise encompass records of the National Archives, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, including military records, land records, using maps in genealogy, urban research, and government documents. Rick is experienced in the localities of western Pennsylvania and Ohio.

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.

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.

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.

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.