Faculty

Deborah A. Abbott, PhD

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

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

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

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

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

Lisa A. Alzo, MFA

Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A., is a freelance writer, instructor, and internationally recognized lecturer, specializing in Eastern European genealogical research and nonfiction writing. Lisa earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1987 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997. She is the author of eleven books, including The Family Tree Polish, Czech and Slovak Genealogy Guide, and the award-winning Three Slovak Women.

In addition, Lisa has written hundreds of articles for American and Canadian magazines including: Ancestry Magazine, Crossroads Journal, Discovering Family History Magazine, Family Chronicle, Family Tree Magazine, Genealogical Computing, Reunions Magazine, NGSNews Magazine, Reunions Magazine, Western Pennsylvania History Magazine, FEEFHS Journal and Rocenka: Journal of the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, Slovo: Journal of the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library, The Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, among others. A selected list of her publications is available at https://www.lisaalzo.com/publications/articles.

Lisa is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine, a regular contributor for Reunions Magazine, and works as an online educator and writing coach. She developed the Eastern European Research Certificate Program for the International Institute of Genealogical Studies and was an instructor in the Eastern European Research Track for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in 2014, and for the 2024 Virtual SLIG “Bring ‘Em Back to Life: Writing Our Ancestors’ Stories” course.

An avid genealogist for more than 30 years, Lisa also chronicles her family history adventures on her blog, The Accidental Genealogist.

Lisa is the recipient of the 2002 Mary Zirin Prize given by the Association for Women in Slavic Studies to recognize the achievements of independent scholars, and is a frequently invited speaker for national conferences, genealogical and historical societies.

Amy E. K. Arner, CG

Amy specializes in western Pennsylvania research and editing genealogical works. She serves as a content editor for the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly and co-edited the North Hills Genealogists [of Pittsburgh] newsletter for twelve years. Amy completed a Certificate in Editing through the University of Chicago’s Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies in 2013. She coordinates an intermediate-level course about Pennsylvania research at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. Amy previously served as the secretary of the Association of Professional Genealogists and as the president of its Great Lakes Chapter. In 2015, the Association of Professional Genealogists awarded her its Grahame T. Smallwood Jr. Award of Merit for her service to the organization.

Gary Ball-Kilbourne, MDiv, PhD, CG

Gary Ball-Kilbourne, PhD, CG®, is a genealogical researcher, teacher, writer, and editor. He is a trustee and the secretary of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and serves as the editor of BCG’s publication, OnBoard. Gary has published articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and other journals. He is on the faculty for the genealogical courses offered online by Boston University, and teaches for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy as well as GRIP. His research interests range from his location in the Northern Plains, to colonial Connecticut, Maryland, and New Sweden, to the District of Columbia and Baltimore, and to England, Germany, Luxembourg, and Hungary. He holds a PhD in religion and ethics from Vanderbilt University. Gary lives in Fargo, North Dakota.

Catherine Becker Wiest Desmarais, CG

A full-time professional genealogist, author, and educator, Catherine Becker Wiest Desmarais is the owner of Stone House Historical Research. Board-certified since 2011, she specializes in forensic genealogical research for probate, real estate, and military repatriation cases. Her firm completes more than 6,000 hours of forensic genealogy research annually and has assisted the Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency to locate families for more than 1,200 missing service members. She is co-author, with Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG, of the upcoming book, Forensic Genealogy: Theory & Practice. Catherine is a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, serving on their DNA committee and Standards committee. She is also an advisor for the Investigative Genetic Genealogy Accreditation Board. She earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Vermont and has taught at genealogical institutes for more than ten years. When not working, Catherine loves analyzing DNA and documentary sources to unpuzzle her Pennsylvania and Irish ancestors. Her research and writing are published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Crossroads, and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly.

James Beidler

James M. Beidler, known internationally as one of the top people in the field of German genealogy, has authored four commercially published books, including three on German family history. He’s been executive director for Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania on two occasions, and was a reports editor for the globe-spanning research-for-hire firm Legacy Tree Genealogists for three years. Beidler also writes “Roots & Branches,” a weekly newspaper column and blog (at www.roots-branches.com), is a German Life magazine columnist, and editor emeritus of Der Kurier, the quarterly journal of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society.

Diane Boumenot, CG

Diane MacLean Boumenot, CG, specializes in southern New England family history research. She has published articles in several journals, and in 2018, she co-authored with Maureen Taylor, the National Genealogical Society’s Research in the States volume on Rhode Island. Diane currently serves as editor of the journal Rhode Island Roots. In 2023, she was the recipient of The National Genealogical Society’s Lou D. Szucs Distinguished Service Award for her contributions to the Advanced Skills in Genealogy course. She received the Robert M. Sherman Award for Exemplifying High Qualities of Scholarship and Genealogy from the Rhode Island Genealogical Society. She holds a B.A. in American History and English from Wesleyan University. Diane serves as Mentor, ProGen 68, and is the Past President of the New England Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Angie Bush, MS

Angie Bush, MS is a research team manager with AncestryProGenealogists in Salt Lake City. Her team specializes in U.S. research, Canada, and Irish and Scottish immigration to North America. Angie has been interested in her genealogy since she was very young. After college, she spent several years working in biotech while continuing to pursue her genealogy hobby. With the growing popularity and introduction of autosomal DNA testing in 2012, she decided to combine her two loves into one career. Her favorite type of research involves solving decades-old “brick walls” using a combination of traditional records and genetic evidence. She is a popular speaker and presenter and enjoys attending conferences where she can connect with others who share her passion for genealogy.

Connie Davis

Connie Davis is a genetic genealogist, teacher, and DNA coach. She holds a master’s in nursing and brings clear, caring communication to her genealogical work. Connie has spent decades visiting archives, libraries, and cemeteries in search of ancestors and was an early adopter of genetic genealogy due to her medical background. Connie earned a Family History and Genealogy certificate from the University of Washington in 1999, completed ProGen 46, and has been a study group leader for Research Like a Pro. Connie is a blog contributor, instructor, and coach at Your DNA Guide. Connie is a member of the Association for Professional Genealogists, British Columbia Genealogical Society, Virtual Genealogical Association, and Coming to the Table (CTTT), a non-profit dedicated to facing history and healing racial wounds created by slavery and its impact. Connie is a WikiTree Ambassador and supports reparative genealogy through the Linked Descendants group at CTTT. Connie provides one-hour to half-day virtual and in-person workshops.

Lara Diamond

Lara Diamond began researching her own family around 1989. She has traced all branches of her family multiple generations back in Eastern 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. She is president of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland, is JewishGen’s Director of Subcarpathia Research, and is a strategic advisor to JewishGen’s Ukraine Research Division. She has lectured around the country and internationally on Jewish and Eastern European genealogy research and genetic genealogy. She also runs multiple district- and town-focused projects to collect documentation to assist all those researching ancestors from common towns—Lara blogs about her Eastern European and Jewish research at http://larasgenealogy.blogspot.com.

Nicole Dyer

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

Alec Ferretti

Alec Ferretti is a New York City-based professional genealogist who has worked for the Wells Fargo Family & Business History Center, researching family histories for high-net-worth clients. Alec specializes in the genealogy of 20th-century immigrants to the United States. He is a regular lecturer at genealogical societies and conferences. He is the President of the New York Genealogy & Technology Group, serves actively on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists, and is on the Board of Reclaim the Records, a nonprofit dedicated to wrangling public records from obstinate government agencies.

Randy Fredlund

Randy Fredlund is an engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, and writer. Fredlund worked at Eastman Kodak for almost 30 years as a Senior Researcher, Inventor, and Technology and Intellectual Property Manager. During his tenure at Kodak, he envisioned and implemented new photography and imaging technology concepts. He has over 100 patents in the field of digital imaging. Fredlund’s long experience in research, development, and commercialization enable him to translate complex theory into practice. After retiring, Fredlund was one of the principals at Vivid-Pix, a company making image improvement accessible to everyone. His image-processing acumen was key in implementing easy-to-use image fixes. Randy currently splits time between Saratoga Springs, NY, and the Adirondacks. His pursuits include wildlife photography, travel, curling, camping, hiking, paddling, skiing, and then blogging about all the fun.

Tammy Hepps

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

Cyndi Ingle

Cyndi Ingle is the creator and innovator behind the award-winning and globally recognized CyndisList.com, a free categorized list of more than 320,000 links for genealogical research. In its 28 years online Cyndi’s List has consistently remained in the top tiers for genealogical research tools online. It helps millions of visitors worldwide and has been featured in the media and diverse publications, including ABC News, NBC News, the BBC, National Public Radio, USA Today, Time, Newsweek, Parade, People Magazine, Wired, Ancestry Magazine, Family Tree Magazine, Family Chronicle, and Internet Genealogy magazines. Cyndi, a genealogist for more than 44 years, has an expertise in using technology for genealogy. Additionally, her many active years in genealogy have also resulted in a specialty for research in the United States and bringing together traditional methodology with organization, computers, software, and the Internet. Cyndi is the recipient of the 2018 Society of Genealogists Prince Michael of Kent Award, the 2016 National Genealogical Society President’s Citation, and many other awards and honors. She has served in several capacities for genealogical organizations. Cyndi is an internationally-known guest lecturer for various genealogical meetings, seminars, and webinars (http://www.CyndisList.com/speaking-calendar/). She coordinated courses for the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), and she has authored numerous articles and three books. Cyndi is the Executive Director for the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. She is a columnist for the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. Cyndi, her mother, and two Boston Terriers live in Edgewood, Washington.

Mary Kircher Roddy, CG

Mary Kircher Roddy, CG, is a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and was the Association of Professional Genealogists treasurer from 2018 through 2021. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Professional Accounting. She is co-editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. She is a frequent presenter at conferences and genealogical societies. She is one of the founders of the Applied Genealogy Institute. Her research focuses primarily on Ireland, California, Pennsylvania, and Ohio but extends to genealogical records in Germany. In addition to the NGSQ, her articles have appeared in NGS Magazine, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, and various society publications. She was a mentor for the ProGen study groups.

Michael Lacopo, DVM

Dr. Michael D. Lacopo is a retired small-animal veterinarian and professional genealogist born and raised in northern Indiana. Researching since 1980, he has lectured internationally and written for numerous periodicals and journals. A self- described “all-American mutt,” his research skills cover a broad range, with specialties in German research, Mid-Atlantic American research, genetic genealogy, social history, and advanced problem solving.

Dana Leeds

Dana Leeds, a professional genealogist, has been unraveling the mysteries of family trees for over twenty-five years. Her innovative creation, the Leeds Method, is widely recognized as one of the top tools for identifying unknown biological parents. This tool is also highly valuable in confirming biological relationships and breaking through genealogical brick walls. In 2023, Dana embraced artificial intelligence (AI), eagerly exploring its potential to assist genealogists. Her ability to simplify complex concepts into understandable formats makes her a sought-after educator in the genealogy community.

Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS, FUGA

Karen 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 coordinated 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), and served on the boards of APG and FGS.

Debbie Mieszala, CG

Debbie Mieszala, Certified GenealogistTM, specializes in forensic genealogy and 20th-century and Midwest research. She conducts genealogical research for the military to locate relatives of service members missing in past wars. Debbie formerly conducted adoption-related research as a Confidential Intermediary in Illinois. A national-level lecturer, she has taught at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and she created and taught a course for Ancestry Academy. Debbie’s work has been published in NGS MagazineThe Digital Genealogist, and OnBoard. She formerly served as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Debbie has attended IGHR, NIGR, and GRIP. She earned a certificate in paralegal studies to better understand legally influenced documents used by genealogists and to become more skilled at researching historical laws. Debbie maintains a blog and popular online law library at her website, The Advancing Genealogist <AdvancingGenealogist.com>.

Bryna O’Sullivan

Bryna O’Sullivan is a Middletown, CT-based professional genealogist and French-to-English genealogical translator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and French Literature from Tufts University, a Master of Arts in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Master of Arts in Theology (Church History focus) from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. She has completed the Boston University Certificate Program, the ProGen and GenProof Study Groups, and DAR’s Genealogical Education Program. O’Sullivan holds the Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies in Canadian Records. Bryna’s interest in New England research and her own Connecticut family’s history began with an elementary school project on the Mayflower. Today, as proprietor of Charter Oak Genealogy, she lectures on Connecticut history and research.

Michael S.Ramage, JD, CG

Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG, is a full-time professional genealogist, author, lecturer and licensed attorney-at-law in Pennsylvania. Mr. Ramage has served as a Trustee, officer and currently General Counsel of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania (GSP). His 25-year law practice included real estate and estate law and litigation. He has taught numerous genealogy and law-related courses at genealogy conferences and institutes around the country including “Early Pennsylvania Research: The Secrets to Your Early Genealogical Success” at GSP’s 2023 PaGE Event. 2021 recipient of: (1) The Donn Devine Award for Extraordinary Service to the Board for Certification of Genealogists®; and (2) The APG Professional Achievement Award that honors individual excellence and ethical behavior.

Patricia Reed

Patricia R. Reed co-instructs in GRIP Genealogy Institute’s Tools & Strategies for Tackling Tough Problems course. Her work is focused on educating students in genealogical methodology. She is the Education Course Manager for the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Program Administrator for GenProof Study Groups. She also works as a forensic genetic genealogist for Bode Technology of Lorton, Virginia, which provides investigative leads to law enforcement agencies and next-of-kin identification to the U.S. Marine Corps. She was on the faculty of Boston University’s Genealogy Studies program for four years, working in both the Certificate and Principles courses. She has published in both peer-reviewed and local genealogy journals. Patricia served on the council of the New England Historic Genealogical Society for seven years; she currently serves on NGS’s education committee and their Artificial Intelligence ethics and privacy committee. She earned a Genealogical Research Certificate from Boston University and has completed numerous courses at GRIP, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and others. She holds a degree in English from Colorado College.

Sandra Rumble

Sandy started her career as a software developer and trainer. For over 30 years, Sandy was the go-to person to train new users in cutting-edge software, developing in-house training programs for new development tools. Sandy began teaching genealogy, the Constitution, Congress, and the judicial system at the Delaware Valley University Center for Learning in Retirement, expanding her interest in teaching outside the software industry. Sandy speaks about military research, researching Colonial Pennsylvania, lineage research, and research planning at genealogical institutes, conferences, genealogical and historical societies, and DAR Chapters. As a course coordinator for GRIP, Sandy coordinated Documentation for Lineage Societies and co-coordinated Answering the Call of Uncle Sam, an exploration of 18th & 19th-century American military records.

Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

Rick is a long-time genealogical researcher and instructor. He coordinated and taught 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.

Kristi L. Sexton, MS

“Kristi is a professional genealogist, speaker, and educator. Kristi has a master’s degree in accounting with a focus on auditing. Kristi has dedicated over 30 years to researching her family lines and taught in the Family History department at the university level for five years. She owns One Leaf Genealogy and works at the National Genealogical Society, co-managing the GRIP Genealogy Institute. Additionally, Kristi is actively involved as the Special Events Coordinator and Past President of the Orange County California Genealogical Society in Huntington Beach, CA. Kristi has been a speaker at both national and local conferences and societies. Her expertise lies in transcriptions, lineage societies, adoption searches, and research in the Midwest and Southern U.S. States.”

Jeanette Sheliga

Jeanette Sheliga of Jeanette’s Genealogy lives in Lockport, NY, and has been researching her family tree since 2002 and lecturing since 2011. She has had the privilege to speak for societies and libraries locally and virtually all over the world. Jeanette is the President of the Virtual Genealogical Association (VGA); she holds positions in local, state, and national societies; she has completed the study groups of ProGen 49 and ProGen Practicum 02 and has attended many genealogy institutes.

Janette Silverman, PhD

Dr. Janette Silverman is a professional genealogist heading up a team of researchers specializing in Eastern European and Jewish genealogy at AncestryProGenealogists®. Janette began her journey into her own family’s history more than 40 years ago with her dad, hoping to answer some questions about their family’s early days in the U.S., never thinking that they could trace parts of the family back to 18th-century Europe. What began as a hobby turned into an obsession, ultimately leading to a shift in her career from Jewish education to genealogy. Her doctoral dissertation, “In Living Memory,” was based on her genealogical research into four branches of her own family, putting into historical context their experiences as they made their way from Eastern Europe to settle in the U.S. from the 1880s until the 1920s. She was previously the chair of the Phoenix (Arizona) JGS, lead co-chair of the 2016 IAJGS conference in Seattle, Washington, and a JewishGen volunteer. She speaks virtually and in-person at conferences and for smaller groups worldwide and has been published in Avotaynu, APGQ, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Gesher Galicia, and Genealogy-at-a-Glance. She looks forward to publishing her book Stories They Never Told Us in 2024.

Jerry G. Smith, CG

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 several 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.

Michael L. Strauss, AG

Michael 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.

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson is a professional genealogist and educator specializing in genetic genealogy and researching personal family archives. He is Vice President of the Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS) in Victoria, BC, and is the chair of their DNA Special Interest Group. He is also a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Mark has decades of public speaking experience and teaches and speaks on various genealogy-related topics. Before becoming a genealogist, Mark worked for over 20 years in leadership roles in the technology industry. He worked in both small startups and large corporations to usher in technologies to improve business operations. Mark’s background in both technology and genealogy uniquely positions him to introduce genealogists to the rapidly changing field of artificial intelligence and how it can help them in their genealogy research.

Ari Wilkins

Ari Wilkins is a genealogist who has been actively researching family history for over twenty-five years. As a lecturer, Ms. Wilkins has spoken nationally at the National Genealogical Society, the Texas Institute of Genealogical Research, the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, RootsTech, and a multitude of state and local societies. She is also the coordinator of the African American course for the Texas Institute of Genealogical Research. In 2023, Ari was awarded the Lloyd Bockstruck Distinguished Service Award by the Dallas Genealogical Society for her outstanding contributions to the genealogical community on a national level. Ms. Wilkins is also a fellow of the Texas State Genealogical Society. Ari speaks on a variety of genealogical subjects and specializes in African American research.

Paula Williams

Paula is a professional genealogist who has been researching for more than two decades in primarily southern US states and using DNA to solve problems for over a decade. She has studied at IGHR, SLIG, GRIP, and the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed). In addition, she’s a board member of the Virginia Genealogical Society and the Genealogical Research Institute of Virginia (GRIVA). She is the facilitator for the latter’s DNA Special Interest Group. She also serves as an administrator for Blaine Bettinger’s “Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques” group on Facebook, helping to answer people’s questions about DNA testing and analysis tools. She has taught at the IGHR and GRIP institutes. She has lectured for the Southern California Genealogical Society’s Genealogy Jamboree, Legacy Family Tree Webinars, and the National Genealogical Society conference, among others.

Katherine Willson

Katherine R. Willson of Dexter, Michigan, is an engaging and dynamic genealogy lecturer at regional and national events, a full-time researcher for private clients, and a genealogy educator for 25+ years. She is the founder & past President of the Virtual Genealogical Association, past President of the Michigan Genealogical Council, and past board member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Katherine has coordinated and taught courses for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, with sessions focused on America’s westward expansion and on teaching genealogy courses in your community. Her website at SocialMediaGenealogy.com contains multiple resources, including a catalog of almost 17,000+ genealogy/history links on Facebook, a catalog of 190+ genealogy YouTube channels, and a catalog of 76 genealogy podcasts.

Renate Yarborough-Sanders

Renate Yarborough Sanders, an experienced genealogist and educator, is the descendant of formerly enslaved ancestors, enslavers, and free people of color. She authors two blogs and maintains an online funeral program database. Renate is a member of the National Genealogical Society, The North Carolina Genealogical Society (Publicity Director), the Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society (member of the National Editorial Board and the Scholarship Committee, and Vice-President and Newsletter Editor for the Hampton Roads Chapter), and several local genealogy societies. She is a member and Deputy Registrar of the lineage society, “Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage.” Renate cohosts “Let’s Talk North Carolina Genealogy,” an online platform presenting genealogy programming and virtual events for North Carolina researchers. Renate provides genealogy education for various platforms, and her research has been featured on PBS Radio and in a National Geographic cover story and podcast. She is currently engaged in a project for Wake Forest University, seeking to find descendants of enslaved persons sold for the benefit of that institution.