Stillagaumish Valley Genealogical Society

2017 Genealogy Conference Speakers

Kenyatta D. Berry is genealogist and lawyer with more than 15 years of experience in genealogical research and writing. She began her genealogical journey while in law school and studying at the State Library of Michigan in Lansing. A native of Detroit, Berry graduated from Bates Academy, Cass Technical High School, Michigan State University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School. She has deep roots in Detroit, her ancestors have lived in Detroit since the 1920’s.
A frequent lecturer and writer, she focuses on African American, Slave Ancestral Research and DNA. Berry has been featured in Real Simple, Jet, Wall Street Journal, Orange County Register, Sacramento Bee, Wave Newspaper and other publications. She has been a guest on numerous radio programs including MakeItPlain #WomensWednesday on SiriusXM Radio.
On March 11, 2016, Kenyatta received a California Legislature Assemblyman Resolution from the Honorable Jim Cooper on the floor of the State Capitol where he declared March 11th, Kenyatta D. Berry day. The Resolution recognized her work in the genealogy industry and on Genealogy Roadshow.
She also received a Resolution from the City of Sacramento on March 12, 2016, recognizing her work in Slave Ancestral Research and on Genealogy Roadshow. Kenyatta has appeared on numerous morning news shows in various markets and recently appeared on The Real where she revealed the DNA results of the Hosts. An avid sports fan, Kenyatta loves to watch the Lions, Tigers and Red Wings from her home in Santa Monica.
Daniel Earl got his start in family history at age 10 when his father took him to the grave of his great-grandfather that sparked a lifetime of interest in family history. Daniel has spent the last 25 years researching his own family history and helping others make history a part of their story. In addition to being a professional genealogist and genealogical lecturer, Daniel is married and the father to six wonderful kids. He lives just outside of Lansing, Michigan.
A microbiology graduate, Diahan Southard has spent 15 years in the genetic genealogy industry. In her current position as Your DNA Guide, she provides personalized, interactive experiences to assist individuals and families in interpreting their genetic results in the context of their genealogical information.
She is also the author of DNA Quick Guides, producer of a video tutorial series, as well as a featured author for Family Tree Magazine, regular contributor to Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems, and recurring writer in Your Genealogy Today magazine.
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, for she vividly remembers interviewing her grandparents, all of whom were born in the 1800's. She felt when she touched their hands, she was touching history. 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. It was over fifteen years ago that she felt to further her knowledge and become Accredited. Her area of expertise is the mid-South, where every one of her ancestors planted their roots. She has recently completed several Legacy QuickGuides on Appalachia, which are also available on and, and is an instructor at Ancestry Academy. She has recently been asked to be part of the GenealogyDotCoach consulting team.
Michelle Roos Goodrum is a researcher, speaker, educator, and writer with a passion for research in land records, DNA, organization, and photography. She is a Teaching Assistant for Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program; former administrator for the Gen Proof Study Groups studying Mastering Genealogical Proof; and regular attendee at genealogy institutes and conferences.
In the early 1990s, Michelle became involved in family history when she realized her ancestors saved everything from important family documents to the smallest trinkets. She is now the caretaker of over 135 years of her family's history. Those documents, photographs and artifacts opened the door for her to uncover the forgotten origins and stories of many of her ancestors. Michelle completed the first weeklong DNA course in July 2014 at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. She went on to attend the Advanced DNA Analysis course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in January 2015. DNA testing is an integral part of Michelle's research.
Michelle is the author of the book, Digging for Ancestors. She also writes for The In-Depth Genealogist and her personal genealogy blog, The Turning of Generations where she writes about various family history topics.
A native of Western Washington, Michelle splits her time between Whidbey Island and Mesa, Arizona.
Former college professor and Board-Certified genealogist, Jean Wilcox Hibben holds a Master's degree in speech communication and a PhD in folklore. Her articles appear in many genealogy-focused publications (on-line and "in print"). Jean is the former director of the Corona, CA Family History Center and, has done background research for a couple of genealogy television shows. With almost 40 years of research experience, she is serving or has recently served on the following Boards of Directors: APG, the Southern Calif. Chapter of APG (current President), the Genealogical Speakers Guild (current VP), the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (West. Regional Representative), and the Corona Genealogical Society (current 1st VP).
Jean is a familiar face at societies throughout So. California and surrounding states where she combines her passions for folklore and family history in her entertaining and informative programs. Her website is: and she, with Gena Philibert-Ortega, form Genealogy Journeys and present bi-monthly podcasts about social history.
Jim is the Director of the Heritage Quest Research Library in Sumner, Washington. and is the President of the Puget Sound Chapter of the Association of Professional genealogists. He has been teaching and giving genealogical presentations in the Northwest for over 10 years.
Mary Kathryn Kozy has been working on her own family history for over 35 years, since she first became interested as a young teenager. Over the years she has researched families from the Midwest to the Deep South, and from both Western and Eastern Europe. She started her own family history website in November 1996 and has continued developing it. She has served in multiple positions in several local societies and on the state level. She currently serves on the board of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State, supports the USGenWeb project, serves as an LDS Family History missionary, and speaks to many groups in the area. Mary is married, the mother of three wonderful children, and recently became a grandma for the second time. She holds bachelor's degrees in both Zoology and Information Technology & Systems and has completed the ProGen program with an eye toward certification as a professional genealogist.
Janice LovelaceJanice Lovelace, Ph.D.
Janice Lovelace, Ph.D. is a professional genealogist who primarily lectures in the Western and Southwestern U.S. specializing in research methodology, genetics and ethnic minority research. A licensed psychologist by vocation, she brings an expertise to her lectures on health and genetics. In her work life, she has been a private practice therapist and a tenured college faculty teaching psychology and American Cultural Studies. A member of the Seattle Genealogical Society for a number of years, she served two terms on the SGS Board as Vice-President. She is also a member of Association of Professional Genealogists, African American Genealogical and Historical Society, the Ohio Genealogical Society and the National Genealogical Society.
A passionate genealogist, Jill Morelli lectures nationwide about her Midwestern, northern German and Scandinavian ancestors. Her lively presentations for all skill levels on methodologies, unique record sets, Swedish research and house histories convey information that is immediately usable by attendees. An architect by vocation, she brings a unique expertise to her lectures on house histories and fire insurance maps. Check out her lecture schedule on the Genealogical Speakers Guild website.
Jill also writes about her genealogical interests for local, regional and national periodicals, including the APG Quarterly, American-Ostfriesen Zietung, Illinois State Genealogy Society Quarterly and the FGS Forum. Her blog focuses on topics related to skill building or scholarly research in her pursuit of certification. Other topics covered in the blog include the activities of Jens Dahle, a Union soldier in the Civil War imprisoned for seven months. In honor of his service, she wrote about his experiences 150 years to the day. She is also one of the few who has pursued court records of her 19th century ancestor who resided in Illinois asylums for 27 years.
She enjoys mentoring beginning genealogists who bring a passion for genealogy and who are open to skill development. Believing that the thrill of discovery is more than half the fun, she would rather share the discovery process than deprive those who are excited about their families from their own discoveries. Jill is an active member of numerous societies, serving as conference chair (3x), and past publications chair and presently serves as president of Seattle Genealogical Society. She is a member of APG, Genealogical Speakers Guild, Seattle Genealogical Society and others. Happy Hunting!
Mary Kircher Roddy., grew up in San Rafael, California. She earned a Bachelor degree in Liberal Studies from The University of California, Riverside in 1982 and a Master in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas in 1984. She earned a certificate in Genealogy and Family History at the University of Washington in 2005.
Mary became interested in genealogy in 2000 in anticipation of a sabbatical in Ireland where her husband was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Limerick. She was sure she would complete all her Irish genealogy while her husband taught at UL and her children attended Monaleen School. Fifteen years later, the genealogy is still a work in progress. But the trip to Ireland awakened something deep in her Celtic bloodlines, the Irish tradition of the Seanachi, the storytellers and historians of yore.
Mary has published articles in Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy. She's currently working on a novel set in the San Francisco area in 1900 and 1901, based on stories of several of her ancestors and their associates which she discovered in her genealogical research.
Mary frequently lectures around the Seattle area and at regional conferences in the US and Canada. She is currently a participant in the ProGen 31 Study Group.
Janice M. Sellers is a professional genealogist specializing in Jewish, black, forensic, and newspaper research. She is the editor of three genealogy journals: ZichronNote, for the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society (SFBAJGS); The Baobab Tree, for the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (AAGSNC), and The California Nugget for the California Genealogical Society. She is the vice president, publicity director, and programming director of SFBAJGS, a board member of AAGSNC, and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy, Genealogical Speakers Guild, and California Genealogical Society. She has been on the staff of the Oakland FamilySearch Library since 2000 and gives presentations on many genealogical topics at the local, regional, state, and national/international levels. She has researched her own family history for more than 40 years. Before becoming a professional genealogist, she worked in publishing for many years as an editor, indexer, translator, and compositor.
Michael L. Strauss, AG is a professional Accredited Genealogist and a national genealogical lecturer. A native of Pennsylvania and a resident of Utah. He has been an avid genealogist for more than 35 years. Strauss holds a BA in History and is a United States Coast Guard veteran. He is a licensed Private Investigator and qualified expert witness in Supreme Court and Surrogate Court in New York, and New Jersey; Circuit Court in Virginia, and Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania. He is an approved Genealogist with the Department of Defense to locate DNA qualified persons MIA from Korea, Vietnam, and World War II. Strauss was the film historian for the Academy Award nominated film "Finding Vivian Maier" which was nominated for the best Documentary in 2015.
Pam Vestal is a professional genealogist, author, and speaker from West Linn, Oregon, and the owner of Generations Genealogy, LLC.  Her articles have appeared in the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly and her lectures have taken her all over the west coast. When she isn't giving presentations or researching on behalf of her clients, she offers private training to those seeking to improve their research skills.
Katherine R. Willson is a genealogy lecturer, educator & author from Ann Arbor, MI and is the creator of the "Genealogy on Facebook" list with 10,000+ links to genealogy/history groups and pages on Facebook. She has taught all levels of genealogy classes for the past 15 years, was a presenter at RootsTech in 2015, 2016 and 2017 (live-streamed) and is publishing a guide to genealogical research in Michigan through IDG (In Depth Genealogist).
Christine Woodcock is a genealogy educator with an expertise in the Scottish records. She began researching her family history following the death of her mother and grandmother who were the storytellers of the family. Christine's mother was one of 21 children and although they emigrated to Canada when Christine was quite young, she grew up immersed in Scottish culture because her parents were keen to maintain as much of their heritage as they could and that has been passed along to her.
Christine's foray into genealogy was putting together a family history book, a record of her grandfather's 21 children and their descendants. This has become a treasured heirloom in the family.
When not organizing genealogy research tours to Scotland, Christine lectures on Scottish genealogy, hosts webinars, authors blogs and writes articles for genealogy magazines. Christine is a regular contributor to the In-Depth Genealogist Magazine and an occasional contributor to Internet Genealogy. Christine wrote and taught Scottish Genealogy Research 101 for Family Tree University. She is the editor for British Connections, a quarterly newsletter for the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History.
Christine chairs the Scottish Special Interest Group of the Ontario Genealogical Society and organizes their annual Symposium. The SIG will be hosting Conference 2018.
Christine is a member of the APG board as well as Vice Chair of the Ontario chapter.
Christine is one of the co-organizers for the Great Canadian Genealogy Summit, a weekend genealogy conference featuring Canadian Genealogy Speakers.
Christine is well connected in the Scottish Canadian Community. She is a member of the Scottish Ancestral Tourism Group (Scotland). She is a member of the Clans and Scottish Societies of Canada (CASSOC) and is chair of the organizing committee to host the Scottish North American Leadership Conference in 2017.