Faculty biographies and photographs appear below the course lists in alphabetical order. Coordinators determine course content and work with their instructors to deliver cohesive course content.
JUNE SESSION (6 COURSES): June 25-30, 2017
- Harold Henderson, CG, and Kimberly Powell
“Confusion to Conclusion: How to Write Proof Arguments”
- Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG
“Mastering the Art of Genealogical Documentation”
- Michael J. Leclerc, CG
“Writing and Sharing Your Family History”
- David McDonald, CG
“Research in the states of the Old Northwest Territory”
- Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL, Pam Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL
“Research in Washington, DC, from Afar”
- Amy L. Wachs, J.D.
“Tracing Your Roots in Eastern Europe”
JULY SESSION (6 COURSES): July 16-21, 2017
- Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D.
“Practical Genetic Genealogy”
- CeCe Moore
“Advanced Genetic Genealogy”
- Melissa A. Johnson, CG
“Gateway to the Garden State: Sources and Strategies for New Jersey Research”
- David Rencher, AG, CG
“Irish Genealogical Research”
- Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL & Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL
“Law School for Genealogists”
- Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
“Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper”
FACULTY AND INSTRUCTORS
Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D. (Biochemistry), JD, is an intellectual property attorney in Syracuse, New York. In 2007 he started The Genetic Genealogist blog, one of the most respected and easy to understand of the blogs on this topic. He has been interviewed on genealogical and personal genomics topics and quoted in Newsweek, New Scientist, Wired magazine, and others. He authored I Have the Results of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What? in 2008. An updated version is distributed by Family Tree DNA to their customers and is freely available online to anyone interested. He has recently authored two books: The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy (Cincinnati, Ohio: Family Tree Books, 2016) and Genetic Genealogy in Practice with Debbie Parker Wayne (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2016).
Blaine combines traditional research with cutting-edge genetics to learn more about one’s origins. He is the administrator of the Bettinger Surname Project and co-administrator for the R1b-L1/S26 Y-DNA Haplogroup Project. Blaine frequently gives presentations and webinars to educate others about the use of DNA to explore their ancestry, and recently had his genome sequenced through the Personal Genome Project.
Harold Henderson, CG, has completed more than 100 client projects since beginning professional work in September 2009, focusing on the 50 counties around Chicago in northeastern Illinois, southwestern Michigan, and northern Indiana — as well as feeder areas to the east and emigration areas to the west. He is conveniently located to work in libraries and archives from Chicago to Fort Wayne and particularly enjoys helping with problems that involve multiple locations and many different kinds of records.
Harold is a current trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists and a former director of the Association of Professional Genealogists. He has taught, lectured, and written about a myriad of topics involving proof arguments and genealogical problem solutions.
Patti Hobbs, CGSM works as a part-time professional genealogist as well as occasionally in the Local History & Genealogy department at the Springfield-Greene County Library in Springfield, Missouri. Patti instructs on the use and analysis of DNA testing and how it complements traditional research in original records. She has researched extensively in Pennsylvania and Midwest courthouses and repositories. She volunteers as the webmaster and head of the Education Committee for the Ozarks Genealogical Society, as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and as a BCG Education Fund trustee. Patti is passionate about genealogical education and helping others understand the joys of seeking original records and learning more about their ancestors.
Melissa Johnson is a board-certified genealogist specializing in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and British families. She focuses on genealogical research from the colonial period to the present; family history writing, editing and publishing; dual citizenship for Italy and Ireland; DNA adoption research, and lineage society applications. She is currently the Reviews Editor of Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (APGQ), and Editor of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey Newsletter. Melissa is also on the Board of Trustees of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey (GSNJ) and the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH).
Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS, of Monroe, New York, is an editor, author, lecturer, and professional genealogist, and is currently employed as editor of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. 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. She has lectured at national, state, regional, and local conferences, and coordinates the institute course, “Researching New York: Resources and Strategies,” at GRIP and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. 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, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS. Tom has edited the National Genealogical Society Quarterly since 2002. He is a professor emeritus at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C, who works full time as a genealogical researcher, writer, editor, and educator. He coordinates courses at the Institute on Genealogy and Historical Research, the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and the British Institute and has taught in Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate program. With over forty years of research and teaching experience, he frequently lectures, teaches, and writes about genealogical methodology. His interests include “blocked” lineages and genealogical problem solving. His latest publication is Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, VA: National Genealogical Society, 2013).
Brianne Kirkpatrick is a certified and licensed genetic counselor with clinical and research experience. After leading a long-term project on Direct-to-Consumer DNA testing for the National Society of Genetic Counselors, she launched WatershedDNA in 2016, a private tele-consulting practice that provides specialized services to adoptees and donor-conceived individuals in regards to ancestry testing. She brings an unique perspective to genetic genealogists.
Carl Kotlarchik has been an avid genealogist for over forty years. An organic chemist by training, he was the Director of R&D for Photographic Materials at Eastman Kodak before his retirement in 2004. Since retiring, he and his wife have enjoyed biking, swimming, gardening and especially conducting research on their respective family histories. Carl’s recent research emphasis has been on the military records and history of his Slovak families. After publishing a book in 2011 about his family, he began a blog on how to locate Austro-Hungarian military records to help others find their ancestral documents. His blog can be accessed at: http://ahmilitary.blogspot.com
Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG, was involved in genealogy before she was even born. The daughter of avid genealogists, she was spending time in courthouses and cemeteries while other children were playing on swings and going to the beach. The love of her family’s history has never left her. With her experience serving as a Family History Director, she frequently speaks at genealogical societies, workshops, seminars, and webinars where she loves bringing genealogy to life. Some of those would include The Ohio Genealogical Society, The Ohio State University, Brigham Young University, and many other state and local genealogy societies. She has recently completed several Legacy QuickGuides on Appalachia and is an instructor at Ancestry Academy.
Michael J. Leclerc, CGSM is an internationally known genealogist. Author of numerous articles for genealogy magazines and scholarly journals, he is a popular presenter at conferences and seminars around the world. He has been with the Boston University Center for Professional Education Online Certificate in Genealogical Research since 2010.
For seventeen years Michael worked in a variety of capacities at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He served as Chief Genealogist at Mocavo for three years. He served on the boards of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Federation of Genealogical Societies.
He has edited several books, including Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century: A Guide to Register Style and More, Second Edition, with Henry Hoff, and the fifth edition of the seminal guidebook Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research. He was a contributing editor for American Ancestors magazine, and a consulting editor for the New England Historical and Genealogical Register. He is author of a forthcoming multi-volume genealogy on the family of Benjamin Franklin.
Rev. David McDonald, DMin, CG, just marked his fortieth year in genealogical research. He is a partner in the Michigan-based firm of Alcorn, Smith & Nason, LLC, a full-service genealogy research partnership. Board-certified since 2004, Dave lectures throughout the U.S. on matters related to migration, the Midwest, English research, religion and methodology. He coordinates GRIP tracks in religion and the states of the old Northwest Territory. Dave has lectured at IGHR and keynoted and coordinated for SLIG and ISBGFH. This July, he will co-lead the NGS research trip to Madison, Wisconsin. He was the consulting genealogist to the city of Chicago on the recent expansion of O’Hare International Airport. A trustee and past president of BCG, Dave serves as the Board’s secretary. A Wisconsin resident, Dave has lived in the Old Northwest for 49 of his 53 years. He resides with his wife, Dr. Jennet Shepherd, outside Madison, where he is a local church pastor serving in the United Church of Christ.
Angela Packer McGhie is a professional researcher, lecturer and instructor. She serves as the administrator of the ProGen Study Program and president of the National Capital Area Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Angela is the coordinator for the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and has taught at the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR) and Howard Community College. She enjoys presenting lectures at regional and national conferences and is a contributing author to the APG Quarterly. Angela was honored in August of 2010 with a certificate of appreciation from the Association of Professional Genealogists for her leadership and service.
Karen A. Melis, chemical engineer and 2011-2012 Fulbright Scholar, is passionate about placing our Slovak ancestors in the very contexts in which they lived. To this end, she spent 10 months studying in Slovakia, speaking the language and embracing the culture firsthand. With each research trip, she actively seeks out records and other documents in the Slovak Republic and Polish State Archives, land and civil registry offices, as well as in the villages to better understand the very conditions under which so many of our Slovak ancestors lived and decided to migrate. She has over 25 plus years of hands-on research in over 200 villages of the former Spiš County, Kingdom of Hungary, and digitizing records in the Polish Spisz and Podhale regions. As a volunteer group administrator of three geographic DNA projects with FamilyTreeDNA, she assists project members to understand genetic matches by combining traditional genealogy and DNA testing.
Debra Mieszala, CG, specializes in forensic genealogy, 20th century research, and the Midwest. She does genealogical research for the military to locate relatives of service members missing in past wars, and formerly did adoption-related research as a Confidential Intermediary in Illinois. A national-level lecturer and author, she has taught at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. Debbie’s work has been published in NGS Magazine, The Digital Genealogist, and OnBoard! She is a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). She has attended GRIP, IGHR and NIGR, and holds a certificate in paralegal studies.
Rhoda Miller, Ed.D., CG, has been a Board-certified genealogist since 1998 specializing in Jewish research and Holocaust studies. Rhoda is a Past President of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island (JGSLI) and continues her leadership as a board member. With JGSLI, she led the award-winning project of publishing the Arcadia Images of America book, Jewish Community of Long Island. Under Litvak SIG, Rhoda volunteers as Co-coordinator of the Svencionys District Research Group, administers a Svencionys DNA group, and is webmaster of the JewishGen Kahilalinks Orlya, Belarus website. She has experienced research and travel in countries such as Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, England and Israel and is a regular presenter at the annual conferences of the International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies (IAJGS).
CeCe Moore is a full time professional genetic genealogist who is considered an innovator in the use of autosomal DNA for genealogy. Currently, she is working as the genetic genealogy consultant and scriptwriter for season three of “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” and recently completed work as the DNA consultant for season two of “Genealogy Roadshow.” She also works extensively with individuals of unknown parentage to help them learn about their genealogy through DNA, often reuniting them with biological family members. She is the co-administrator of the “Adopted DNA” and “Unknown Fathers DNA” projects at Family Tree DNA and writes the blog “Adoption and DNA.”
As a leading proponent of genetic genealogy education, CeCe organizes conferences, teaches a number of courses around the U.S. and administers popular mail lists and the ISOGG Wiki focusing on genetic genealogy. She is the co-founder of the Institute for Genetic Genealogy and has written the blog popular “Your Genetic Genealogist” since 2010.
One of CeCe’s primary goals is to encourage positive stories about the power of genetic genealogy in the media. She has appeared as a genetic genealogy expert on 20/20, CBS This Morning, The Doctors and “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” discussing high-profile cases that used DNA to trace family history and has been quoted on the subject by the Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Harper’s Magazine, Business Insider, ABC News, Live Science, Huffington Post, The Root, The Invisible History of the Human Race and many more.
Kimberly Powell is a genealogical researcher, author, editor and volunteer. She is past President of the Association of Professional Genealogists and webmaster for the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. She has been the Genealogy Expert with About.com (http://genealogy.about.com) since March 2000 and is the author of several books, including most recently The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy, 3rd edition (Adams Media, 2014). She has also contributed to several popular genealogy magazines, including BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?. Kimberly specializes in eastern North Carolina and southwestern Pennsylvania research, as well as French and English research. She has extensive experience at full-family genealogies, including immigrant families, branching out through multiple states, countries, and time periods.
David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FUGA, FIGRS, is employed by the Family History Department in Salt Lake City as the Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch. A professional genealogist since 1977, he is one of the rare few who have earned both credentials: Accredited GenealogistCM with ICAPGenSM in Ireland research and Certified Genealogist® with the Board for Certification of Genealogists®. He is the Irish course coordinator and instructor for the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) in Athens, Georgia. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 with a BA in Family and Local History. He is a past-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 1997-2000, a national genealogical society umbrella organization, a past-president of the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) 1993-1995 and a Fellow of that organization. He is a fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, London and is a vice-president of the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU). He is the past Chair of the joint Federation of Genealogical Societies, National Genealogical Society and International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies committee for Record Preservation and Access; serves on the board of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and as a trustee for the Umpstead, Jr. and Elizabeth Jemima Philpott Rencher and the Winslow Farr, Sr. Family Organizations. He is vice-president of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History and an instructor for the British Institute.
Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG, CGL, is a genealogist with a law degree who specializes in providing expert guidance through the murky territory where the law, genealogy and history intersect. She has spent the last decade learning her trade as a genealogist and has completed courses at the National Institute for Genealogical Research (NIGR) at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), and at the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University where she was a Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. prizewinner in Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis. She holds the credentials Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical LecturerSM from the Board for Certification of Genealogists® where she currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees.
A long-time member of the adjunct faculty at Rutgers Law School in New Jersey, she now also teaches at IGHR and SLIG, lectures at national, regional and state conferences, and has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the National Genealogical Society Magazine, among others. Her daily blog, “The Legal Genealogist,” is widely popular and thought-provoking.
Allison Ryall, MA, is the Genealogy Specialist for the Orange County Library System and an instructor in Boston University’s Genealogical Research Program. Previously Allison worked with the National Genealogical Society as their Advertising and Marketing Manager and Graphic Designer and served as a grader for the National Genealogical Society’s Home Study Course. Allison also served as the conference tri-chair, program chair, and Ancestors Road Show Chair for the New England Regional Genealogical Conference and as the conference chair for the Association for Professional Genealogist’s annual conference. Prior to pursing her passion of genealogy Allison was a media executive and has extensive experience in the areas of research, media relations, program management, and marketing. She holds degrees in US History and Russian Studies and a Masters degree in American and New England Studies from the University of Southern Maine.
Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL. A professional researcher, educator, author, and lecturer, Pam has developed, coordinated, and taught courses at Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, Boston University’s Professional Certificate Program in Genealogy, St. Louis (Missouri) Community College, and NGS. Former NGS director of education and publications and former board member of NGS and FGS, Ms. Sayre is 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 past editor of APGQ. A popular seminar presenter, she has spoken at genealogy conferences and seminars in thirty-one states.
Richard G. “Rick” Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, is a longtime genealogical researcher, lecturer and writer. His areas of research interest include urban research methodology, technology and mapping tools for genealogists, military records, immigration, the Ohio River Valley, and Western Pennsylvania. Rick is the coordinator for the Land Records: Using Maps course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University. He has also lectured at IGHR in the Advanced Methodology, Advanced Military, Research in the South, Techniques and Technology, and Land courses. Rick holds an M.A. in Management Information Systems and is a retired military officer, having served 31 years in the U.S. Army. He returned to government service working for the Defense Department as a civilian from which he is retired.
Marian L. Smith leads the History Program within the Records Division of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security, in Washington, DC. She is an expert on that agency’s historical records and research. Her current work focuses on digitization and data integrity in relation to USCIS’ old records, documenting old record location and retrieval processes, and mentoring junior staff. (Agency website: www.uscis.gov/
Karen Stanbary, CG, specializes in Midwestern U.S. research, Chicago-based research, complex problem-solving and DNA analysis. She is a regular instructor in the Newberry Library Adult Education program in Genetic Genealogy, Advanced Genetic Genealogy and the Genealogical Proof Standard. She is board-certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, holding the credential Certified Genealogist.
Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA. Paula is an internationally recognized genealogical educator, researcher and consultant focusing on unusual resources, manuscripts, methodology, and analyzing records. She has researched onsite at the U. S. National Archives (multiple locations), Family History Library, Minnesota Historical Society, Wisconsin Historical Society, New England Historic Genealogical Society and other state and local repositories from coast to coast. Since 1997 she has been a Course Coordinator for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, lectured at National Genealogical Society and Federation of Genealogical Societies conferences since the early 1990s, and in many states and Canada. This is her third year with the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. A former officer of the Association of Professional Genealogists, former board member of the Minnesota Genealogical Society, past President of the Northland Chapter of the APG, she is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. She co-chaired the FGS 2001, 2011, and 2013 conferences. She is descended from eight ancestral countries and has researched family connections across the U.S. and Canada.
Paula has written for Ancestry Magazine, FGS FORUM, NGS Magazine, New England Ancestors, Minnesota Genealogist, findmypast.com, was editor of the FGS Conference News Blog and currently published her own blog, Genealogy by Paula, http://genealogybypaula.com/ She formerly published Paula’s Genealogical Eclectica. http://paulastuartwarren.blogspot.com/.
Amy L. Wachs, J.D., has lived and worked in Eastern Europe for extended periods and has travelled extensively throughout the region. Amy taught law in Latvia as a Fulbright Scholar, and later returned to Eastern Europe to teach law in Moldova as a Fulbright Senior Specialist. She has visited state archives in Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Moldova, and other countries. A retired attorney and university instructor, Amy initiated the full semester course Eastern Europe: Law, Politics, and Justice and facilitated genealogy workshops while teaching at Arizona State University. Amy is President of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland. She serves on the Board and as Trakai District Coordinator for LitvakSIG, Inc., an organization dedicated to locating, translating, and disseminating records held in Lithuania state archives. Amy also serves on the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Public Records Access Monitoring Committee and as an IAJGS Representative to the Records Preservation Access Committee (RPAC), a joint committee of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, National Genealogical Society, and IAJGS.
Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, and Deborah Lichtner Deal
Deborah Lichtner Deal is a co-director of GRIP. She is a member of the Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS) Board of Trustees. Deborah served as the chairperson of the OGS week-long Summer Workshop and Ohio Genealogical Society Historian. She was the 2010 Exhibits Chair for the annual OGS conference and is the co-chair of the 2014 OGS conference. She is a Past President of the Muskingum County Chapter, and has served as chapter Newsletter Editor, Cemetery Chairman and Library Volunteer Coordinator. She was secretary and vice-president of the Morgan County Genealogical Society. Debbie is a member of APG, NGS, NEHGS and many state and county genealogical societies.
Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, is a co-director of GRIP. She is the immediate past-president for the Board for Certification of Genealogists and the Professional Genealogy course coordinator for Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research. She was an instructor for Boston University’s online Genealogical Research Certificate course (2008-2016). She was the course co-coordinator of the AG/CG Preparation Course at the 2010 and 2014 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She taught a beginning genealogy course for 14 years at a local community college. She was honored in May 2010 with the National Genealogical Society’s President’s Citation in recognition of outstanding, continuing, or unusual contributions to the field of genealogy.
A western Pennsylvania researcher since 1986, Elissa is a past-president of the North Hills Genealogists [of Pittsburgh] and of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. She was a Director for the Association of Professional Genealogists for six years; co-edited a cemetery book series and appeared on the PBS-TV show “Ancestors 2″ in the cemetery episode and on the Travel Channel’s Dead Files in “The Instigator” episode. She is a contributing author to many publications such as the APG Quarterly and the NGS Magazine. She lectures regionally and nationally on such topics as Pennsylvania records, methodology, professional development and society management. You can see her in a video presentation on the BCG website and video lectures from the 2009 and 2010 Professional Management Conferences on the APGen.org website (PMC webcast) http://www.apgen.org/publications/pmc_webcast.html or
NOTE: CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are Service Marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluations by the Board and the board name is a trademark registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.