SLIG Fall Virtual 2021 Faculty

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.

Brent Chadwick

Brent ChadwickBrent Chadwick is a semi-retired CS Massachusetts-licensed building contractor and part-time professional researcher residing in Western Massachusetts. He does client research in the New England area and is involved with the local chapter of New England Association of Professional Genealogists and other genealogical societies in the Massachusetts area. His personal research has spanned 25 years primarily in the Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont areas of New England. Since 2013, he has been developing narrative templates (and other templates in Excel and Word) for compiling surnames in Microsoft Word. He also developed the templates used at the 2015 Forensic Genealogy Institute in Dallas, Texas, as well as the templates used in the GRIP Forensic classes of 2017 and 2018. He has lectured for NEAPG and the APG Professional Management Conference on auto-numbering and MS Word templates. Brent has written tech articles for the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy (CAFG), and the APGQ. His current personal project is compiling a work on the Chadwick surname and its variations: Chaddick, Chadick, Chaddock, Shadwick, Shaddick and Zeddewyck. More information can be found at

Luana Darby, MLIS, AG

Luana Darby, MLISLuana Darby, MLIS, AG, has always had a passion for genealogy and the recording of family history. She began organizing photos, documents, and information on her grandmother’s family in 1977 and has researched for others since 1985, working as a professional genealogist since 1995. She specializes in Palatine German, US and Canadian, and western European research She frequently travels to Europe for genealogical research on site in archives located in Germany, Poland and France.

Luana has a bachelor’s degree in Family History from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. In addition to her education at BYU and SJSU, Luana is an Accredited Genealogist® and has completed several in-depth tracks of study at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) which cover Advanced Genealogical Methods, Research in German Speaking Areas, Problem Solving in the Midwest, American Records and Research, Computers and Technology in Genealogy, Advanced Methodologies – Land Records, Forensic Genealogy and Genetic Genealogy.

She is a frequent lecturer at local and national conferences and institutes, including the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the British Institute, RootsTech and through Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

Luana is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Genealogical Speaker’s Guild, the National Genealogical Society and the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (IFSHWE). She has served as past president and director of the Utah Genealogical Association and currently serves on the board of the Association of Professional Genealogists and as a director of the Genealogical Speakers Guild.

In January 2015, she joined the faculty of BYU-Idaho as an online family history instructor teaching genealogical analysis and genealogy as a business course.

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.

Skip Duett

Skip DuettSkip Duett is a professional genealogist, speaker, and author specializing in Upstate New York research and DNA analysis. He researches, writes, and lectures on New York land records. He is conducting cutting-edge research in the application of advanced Y-DNA analysis for genealogy. He is a volunteer Project Administrator for several Y-DNA Projects hosted by serving over 500 members. The author of the Mohawk Valley Ehles and Allied Families, he serves on the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NYG&B) Family History Advisory Committee. Skip has been researching his own family in New York for over 25 years and accepting clients since 2013. He holds a master’s degree from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the United States Naval Academy.

Nicole Dyer

Nicole DyerNicole Dyer is a professional genealogist specializing in Southern United States research and genetic genealogy. She is the creator of 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.

Stefani Evans, CG

Stefani Evans, CGStefani Evans, CG, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was Board certified in 2005 and elected to the Board for Certification of Genealogists’ (BCG) board of trustees in 2011. She served on the Board’s executive committee as member at large and vice president 2012—18 and was Nominating Committee chair in 2018. From 2009–16 she was a trustee for the BCG Education Fund. During her 2010–14 term as a National Genealogical Society (NGS) director, she chaired the NGS 2013 Family History Conference. A PhD candidate in the History of the North American West, she was project manager for the Building Las Vegas oral history project at the Oral History Research Center at University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) Libraries 2016—19 and is the Nevada delegate on the board of the Southwest Oral History Association. She has taught in the SLIG Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum and You Be the Judge courses and the You Be the Judge course at the Genealogical Research Institute at Pittsburgh (GRIP). She also mentored the ProGen2 Study Group and looks forward to SLIG Virtual 2021, where she will teach oral history in the Chinese Family History course.

Joseph B. Everett, MLS, AG

Joseph B. Everett, MLSJoe 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 than 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 BA 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. He is an Accredited Genealogist in Germany and Russia.

Melinda Daffin Henningfield, CG, CGL

Melinda Daffin Henningfield, CG, CGLMelinda Daffin Henningfield, CG, CGL, is a professional genealogist, lecturer, and author. Her educational background includes a BA in History Education, a BS and an MS in Nursing, and a certificate as a Nurse Practitioner. She belongs to the National Genealogy Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, and many regional, state, and local genealogical societies. She specializes in solving complex genealogical problems involving DNA, separating and identifying individuals with common names, as well as migration, and immigration. She has written articles published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, OnBoard, Crossroads, and other genealogical publications. A native of Florida, she has deep southern roots on her mother's side and northeastern and southern ancestry on her father's side.

Yvette Hoitink, CG

Yvette Hoitink, CGYvette Hoitink, CG, is a board-certified genealogist, writer, and lecturer from the Netherlands. Most of her clients are from the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and other places where Dutch emigrants settled. Her Dutch Genealogy website ( has helped people from all over the world to find their ancestors from the Netherlands. Yvette is currently studying Family and Local History at the University of Dundee.

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.

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.

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.

Anthony King

Anthony KingAnthony King was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He descends from Chinese immigrants who came to California, Oregon, and Hawaii in the late 1800s. Having retired from a 30-year career with the federal government, he has resided overseas for more than a dozen years in Malaysia, Germany, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and China (5 years). His focus since retirement has been on Chinese genealogy. He has conducted research in such places as California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Canada, Hong Kong, and southern China. Over recent years, he has taken four trips to southern China (including stays totaling six months of the last two years) to conduct research regarding his ancestral villages. He now serves as a volunteer at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, assisting those who are searching for their Chinese roots, and also serves with the FamilySearch China team, helping to improve the customer experience for Chinese patrons. He has lectured on Chinese genealogy in cities throughout the U.S. and Asia.

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, DVM 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

Eric Leach

Eric LeachEric Leach serves as an Asian Experience Manager (Chinese Initiatives Product Manager) at FamilySearch, where he is responsible for developing online features in support of Chinese users. Eric retired from the FBI in 2016 after 25 years of service. He graduated with a BA in Chinese from Brigham Young University in 1989 and an MA in History from California State University, Hayward in 1997. For his master’s degree, his major field of study was modern Chinese history with a minor in western U.S. history, especially the Anti-Chinese Movement in California during the late 1870s and early 1880s.

Marisa Louie Lee

Marisa Louie LeeMarisa Louie Lee is an avid researcher and genealogist passionate about connecting families with records that matter to them. A former archivist at the National Archives at San Francisco, Marisa is co-author of the article "The A-Files: Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors," published in the Spring 2013 issue of Prologue magazine. She served as a research assistant for the book Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America (2010) and as a researcher for the documentary film The Chinese Exclusion Act (premiering on American Experience on PBS in May 2018.) Marisa is a proud alumna of the San Francisco-based Roots program (, which brought her to her grandfather's ancestral village in China in 2004, and continues to volunteer her research skills to assist program participants.

Annette Burke Lyttle, MA

Annette Burke LyttleA professional genealogist since 2014, Annette Burke Lyttle, MA, is a researcher, writer, and lecturer. She has presented at the NGS Family History Conference (2016–2019), the FGS conference (2019–2020), Southern California Jamboree (2016–2021), the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference (2018–2019), and the New England Regional Conference (2019). She regularly presents all-day seminars and genealogy webinars for state and regional societies and averages over 20 presentations per year for local genealogical societies. 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.

Her articles have been published in the Illinois Genealogical Society Quarterly, NGS Magazine, FGS FORUM, and The Florida Genealogist. She is the newly-appointed 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 on their board of directors.

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.

She is currently on the clock as a preliminary applicant for BCG certification and expects to submit her portfolio for judging before the end of 2021.

Angela Packer McGhie, CG, FUGA

Angela Packer McGhie, CGAngela Packer McGhie, CG, FUGA, has a passion for teaching genealogy. She is the Education Director for the National Genealogical Society and the vice president 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.

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.


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.

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.

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 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

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 (

Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

Richard SayreRick 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.

Sara Scribner, CG

Sara Scribner, CGA genealogist with extensive experience in American, Canadian, and English sources, Sara focuses on impeccable research methods and in-depth problem analysis. Scribner retired from a forty-plus year career in public and academic research libraries to open Scribner Genealogy, a Salt Lake City-based research firm. Her "No Name, No Number: Identifying George Holmes's Orphans of Washington and Jefferson Counties, Georgia," appeared as the lead article in the peer-reviewed National Genealogical Society Quarterly September 2015 issue. She lectures regularly at national genealogical conferences on a wide variety of subjects, including delivering the 2017 BCG Educational Fund Lecture “Make Your Case: Constructing and Writing Proof Arguments.”

Born in Macon, Georgia, to a Southern mother and a first generation Canadian-American father, she soon discovered the joys of Quaker and Loyalist research, and the sorrows of research in the south. Her traditional educational background prepared her for nit-picking old, hard-to-read documents, and always aiming for excellence. She holds an AB in Drama from Vassar College, a BFA in Drawing from the California College of the Arts, and an MS in Library Science from Simmons University.

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.

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.

Lena Stout

Lena StoutLena Stout has worked for Family History Department for over 11 years. Her expertise is in Chinese genealogy research. She has worked as a cataloger, in data analysis and now she works as a research Specialist/consultant at Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Lena is a native Chinese and has always loved genealogy work. She has participated in several genealogy conferences and taught Chinese Family History classes at the Family History Library. Lena and her Chinese team are working on developing Chinese online classes and making Chinese data more accessible to make Chinese research on FamilySearch better.

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.

Kelly Summers, MS, AG

Kelly Summers, MS, AGKelly Summers, AG, received her Associate’s degree in Professional Genealogy and her Bachelor’s degree in Family and Community History both from Brigham Young University. Kelly received her Master’s degree in Instructional Design and Educational Technology from the University of Utah. She currently works as a part-time faculty member at Brigham Young University teaching Family History. She also teaches online genealogy courses at Salt Lake Community College. Kelly currently serves as the President for the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA). Kelly has been involved in genealogical research and teaching for more than twenty-five years. Kelly has four premier genealogical credentials through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogist (ICAPGen) demonstrating genealogical research expertise is in U.S. Midwestern & U.S. Pacific regions, Mexico, and Spain. Kelly is also an experienced researcher in the US, Latin America, Southwestern European areas, and China. Kelly's research interests lie in kinship research in primary source records and rural community reconstruction.

Cari A. Taplin, CG

Cari A. Taplin, CGCari A. Taplin, CG, is related to Roy Rogers. Or at least that’s what her family told her. As a result, finding her true heritage has been her focus since the year 2000. She is a native of Wood County, Ohio but migrated to Wyoming, Texas, and Colorado. Cari holds the Certified Genealogist credential and has served in a wide variety of volunteer and leadership positions for state, local, and national societies. She currently serves on the boards of the Association for Professional Genealogists. As the owner of GenealogyPANTS, she provides speaking, research, and consultation services. Cari focuses on midwestern and Great Lakes states and methodology.

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 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.

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

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

Mel Thatcher, PhD

Mel Thatcher, PhDMel Thatcher, PhD, trained in the history of pre-imperial China and spent his professional life (nearly 34 years) locating and acquiring oral and written genealogical sources in the countries of Asia, Pacific, and Sub-Saharan Africa for the Family History Library system. During that time, he participated in the compilation of two major catalogs of Chinese genealogies. In retirement, he has been teaching courses at the University of Utah in the history and civilization of pre-modern China to 1368 and the historical development and research uses of Chinese genealogies and local gazetteers. He has also presented at a number of Chinese American genealogy workshops.

Ellie Vance, BA

Ellie Vance, BAEllie 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 Russian/Slavic research specialist and enjoys helping others trace their Eastern European roots.

Lina Wakefield

Lina WakefieldLina Wakefield grew up in Malaysia where she learned to speak, read, and write in five languages. She is fluent in Chinese, Cantonese, Malay, English, and Hokkien. She is currently working as a research specialist on the Asia Team at the Family History Library. She was a presenter at RootsTech in 2020. In her spare time, she loves the outdoors, boxing, and reading.


Jane E. Wilcox

Jane E. WilcoxJane E. Wilcox serves on the New York State Archives Advisory Committee and the NY Genealogical and Biographical Society’s New York Family History Advisory Committee. A former editorial board member of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Record, Jane speaks at national genealogy conferences and institutes (SLIG and GRIP), as well as presenting webinars for national genealogy companies and speaking at the Women's Rights National Historical Park (US National Park Service) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in New York City. With her company, Forget-Me-Not Ancestry, in Albany, NY, Jane specializes in colonial and early national New York and area research. She hosted The Forget-Me-Not Hour podcast for 6+ years, with archives of the shows at She received her master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University and her bachelor’s degree in history and English literature from the University of Michigan, in addition to her teacher’s certification from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Paul Woodbury, MEd

Paul Woodbury, MEd Paul Woodbury 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.