Speakers

We welcome an outstanding group of professional genealogists and well-known speakers and lecturers to the 2012 Southern California Genealogy Jamboree.

Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A., is a freelance writer, instructor, and internationally recognized lecturer specializing in Slovak/Eastern European genealogical research, writing your family history, and using the Internet to trace female and immigrant ancestors. See: http://www.lisaalzo.com.

Ron Arons has given more than 200 presentations to groups across the nation and internationally. His specialty is researching historical criminals, although he gives talks on a variety of genealogical topics. A two-time author, Ron studied at Princeton University and the University of Chicago.


Kerry Bartels is an Archives Specialist at the National Archives in Riverside. A professional archivist since 1977, he has worked in historical societies, libraries, museums, universities, state archives, and now at the National Archives. A genealogist since 1962, he has done extensive research in the US and Canada, as well as many nations in Europe.

Warren Bittner, CG℠, M.S. (History), is a genealogical researcher and lecturer, with twenty-five years experience. Warren is a former Collection Manager for the Family History Library.

Jana Sloan Broglin, CG, OGSF, an Ohio native, is a director for FGS and a past trustee of the OGS. Memberships include the NEHGS, BCG, OGS, APG, GSG, ISFHWE. As a lecturer, she has spoken at local, state, and national conferences. She currently works as a professional genealogist specializing in Ohio research.

Bruce Buzbee, founder and president of RootsMagic, Inc., has developed genealogy software for over twenty years including the very popular RootsMagic family tree software, Family Reunion Organizer software and Family Origins, the original graphical genealogy software. Bruce currently serves on the board of directors for the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

Christopher C. Child has worked for various departments at NEHGS since 1997 and became a full-time employee in July 2003. He has been a member of NEHGS since age eleven. Chris has written articles published in genealogical journals including an article in New England Ancestors in 2003 on the maternal ancestry of Abraham Lincoln.

Carrie Cook is a author, illustrator and free-lance photographer. A certified teacher, she is the owner of Gregath Company, Inc. among other endeavors. Carrie is active in various genealogy, speaking and history organizations. At the age of 41, she has been public speaking nearly two decades.


Lisa Louise Cooke is the Producer of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show at www.GenealogyGems.com. She is the author of the book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, and the Google Earth for Genealogy DVD series, and writer for Family Tree Magazine.

Schelly Talalay Dardashti focuses on Jewish genealogy as journalist, blogger, international speaker and instructor. Author, “Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog;” US genealogy advisor, MyHeritage.com; author, MyHeritage Blog. Credits include many and Jewish genealogy journals, magazines and newspapers.

Elyse Doerflinger is a young genealogist that loves to use technology while researching her ancestors.  She blogs about her genealogy adventures on Elyse's Genealogy Blog.

Peter Drinkwater is director of product management for Fold3. Director of Product Management at Footnote.com since 2006, Peter loves to find interesting things in old documents, especially when they relate to his family or the places they lived.  He spent several years working for Ancestry.com and studied and taught Humanities at BYU.

Barry J. Ewell is the founder of MyGenShare.com.  He is a writer and researcher with extensive genealogical experience in internet and field research, digital and software resources and mentoring genealogists. Research interests include Eastern U.S., United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Germany, and Russia.

J. H. ("Jay") Fonkert, CG, focuses on Midwest family history. He has published in NGS Quarterly, Minnesota Genealogist, The Septs, Family Chronicle and NGS Magazine. Editor of MN Genealogist, he is a director of the Association of Professional Genealogists and past-president of the MN Genealogical Society.

Bennett Greenspan, a successful entrepreneur and life-long genealogy enthusiast, founded Family Tree DNA in 1999, turning a hobby into a full-time vocation. His efforts and innovation created the burgeoning field now known as genetic genealogy.


Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, CG, has a doctorate (folklore) and MA (speech comm). She is President of Corona Genealogical Society and Southern California Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists. Secretary, Genealogical Speakers Guild. Director: Corona Family History Center. Volunteer: NARA, Riverside. National speaker, writer, troubadour.

Daniel Horowitz, Chief Genealogist for MyHeritage, provides key contributions in the product development, customer support and public affairs areas. A power genealogist, researcher and lecturer himself, Daniel holds board level positions in a few genealogical societies.

Janet Hovorka received a B.A. in Ancient History and a MLIS from BYU. She and her husband Kim Hovorka own Family ChartMasters, a genealogy chart printing company. Janet writes www.thechartchick.com and teaches at SLCC. She is serving as President of UGA and has presented lectures all over the country to help people find out more about their family's history.

Angela Kraft has been doing in-depth family research since 1999. She is a member of ProGen 13 and is taking various courses to prepare for BCG certification. In addition to educational endeavors, Angela belongs to several organizations and volunteers for various genealogical projects.

Lisa B. Lee is the owner of GotGenealogy.com.  The focus of her organization is to help genealogists make the most of their online research. Ms. Lee is a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies), where she obtained her PLCGS with certificates in U.S., Canadian and Irish genealogy.


Denise Levenick, also known as The Family Curator, has written about organizing, preserving, and sharing family treasures since 2007 at www.TheFamilyCurator.com, voted one of the 40 Best Genealogy Blogs in 2010 and in 2011. She is the author of Organize Your Family Archives (F+W Media, Fall 2012). 

Nancy Loe is a genealogist, professional archivist, and librarian with a Master’s in Library Science and bachelor's and master's degrees in American History. She has managed genealogy and special collections in public and academic libraries. Visit her blog at www.sassyjanegenealogy.blogspot.com.

Steve Luxenberg, an associate editor at The Washington Post and author of the award-winning Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret, has worked for more than 30 years as a newspaper editor and reporter. Steve’s journalistic career began at The Baltimore Sun, where he worked for 11 years. He joined The Post in 1985 as deputy editor of the investigative/special projects staff, headed by assistant managing editor Bob Woodward. In 1991, Steve succeeded Woodward as head of the investigative staff. Post reporters working with Steve have won several major reporting awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes for explanatory journalism.

Thomas MacEntee is a professional genealogist specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogy research and as a way to connect with others in the family history community.



Philipp Mayer is a retired engineer with thirty-five years of design, management, and consultant experience. He is the author of Genealogy Presentations, 4 Decades of Pueblo’s German Club, and Presentation is Everything. After twenty-five years of family research, he developed a unique process to organize, manage, and present family information.

Rhonda McClure is the Director of Research Services at NEHGS and is a nationally recognized professional genealogist and lecturer specializing in New England and celebrity research as well as computerized genealogy. She has been a contributing editor for Heritage Quest Magazine, Biography magazine and was a contributor to The History Channel Magazine and American History Magazine. In addition to numerous articles, she is author of ten books, including the award-winning The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition, Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors, and Digitizing Your Family History.

Leland Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company, writes daily at GenealogyBlog.com, edits the twice-weekly Genealogy Newsline and conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 presentations.


Michael Melendez is the co-founder of the Young Genealogists Association. He has received the APG Young Professionals Scholarship and the FGS Youth Award. He has spoken at past SCGS Jamboree’s as a part of the Kid’s Camp. He is currently pursuing a BA degree in Family History from BYU.

George G. Morgan is an internationally recognized genealogy expert and the prolific author of hundreds of articles for magazines, journals, and online. His third edition of  'How to Do Everything Genealogy' was published this year. He is VP of Membership for the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

Stephen Morse is the creator of the One-Step Website, for which he's received numerous awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a computer professional with a doctorate degree in electrical engineering. He's best known as the architect of the Intel 8086, which sparked the PC revolution.

Michael John Neill has researched his ancestry for over twenty-five years, has written hundreds of genealogy how-to columns and presented seminars across the United States. He writes the weekly newsletter Casefile Clues, the daily Genealogy Tip of the Day, and concentrates on problem-solving and methodology. 

Dave Obee is a journalist and genealogical researcher. He has written a dozen books and given more than 400 presentations at conferences and seminars in Canada and the United States.

Gena Philibert Ortega holds Master’s degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies and in Religion. The author of hundreds of articles published in newsletters and magazines, she is the author of the books, Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra  as well as the forthcoming, The Family Table (F + W Media, 2012).

Laura G. Prescott is a professional researcher, writer, and speaker. She is past-president of the Association of Professional Genealogists and a consultant at Fold3. Her company, Laura Prescott Research Services, LLC, promotes the highest standards in genealogical education and research.

Geoff Rasmussen graduated with a degree in Genealogy and Family History from BYU and has served as director and vice-president of the Utah Genealogical Association. He is a dynamic genealogy speaker on all forms of genealogy technology, and as host of the Legacy Family Tree webinar series, has spoken virtually to nearly 100 different countries. He recently received the Distinguished Presenter Award at the prestigious RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City.

Drew Smith, MLS, is a librarian at the USF Tampa Library.  He is a Director of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and President of the Florida Genealogical Society of Tampa.  He is co-host of the long-running Genealogy Guys Podcast, and author of the book Social Networking for Genealogists.

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (yes, that's her real name) is a genealogical adventurer who loves solving mysteries, making unexpected discoveries and pushing the boundaries of conventional genealogy. A popular writer, speaker and TV guest, she does all she can to get the g-word out there and inspire others in their quest for roots.

Denise Spurlock enjoys the challenge of putting together the genealogical pieces to complete the family puzzle. She has been researching her own family for twenty years and now, as owner of Ancestral Trees Research, she assists others with their family history research.
D. Joshua Taylor “Josh” is a nationally known and recognized genealogical author, lecturer, and researcher. He is a frequent speaker at genealogical societies, libraries, and other organizations across the United States. Active in the genealogical community, Joshua is the current Vice President of Administration for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), where he also serves as chairman of the Conference Planning Committee.

Cath Madden Trindle, CG, earned certificates of British Isles Research from BYU and  Genealogical Studies-Librarianship from NIGS.  She is active in the California State Genealogical Alliance and the San Mateo County GS serving as projects chair for both. 
Noah Tutak, CEO of Geni, holds degrees in Math and Computer Science from CSUN. He is passionate about Geni’s mission to create a family tree of the whole world, and through Geni has met a number of new cousins from all over the world, including other Geni employees.

Tom Underhill published his first book 15 years ago. Since 1999, Creative Continuum has specialized in publishing high-quality, short-run books, including family histories, memoirs, and fine art books. Tom and his company produced more than 400 family history heirloom books, printed more than 11.5 million pages and scanned more than 13,000 photographs.

Alice Colby Volkert is on the board of the SoCal Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She is a member of NGS, GSG, UGA, and NEHGS.  Her specialty is being a coach, helping people make their own discoveries and organizing their data. She is a frequent speaker at genealogy societies and conferences.

Joel Weintraub, PhD is a past National Archives volunteer and an emeritus Biology Professor.  He has produced census tools since 2001, and in 2002 teamed up with Stephen Morse.  These utilities, for searching federal and NY State censuses by location, are freely available at stevemorse.org in the census folders.




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