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2017 APG Professional Management Conference

29 September through 1 October 2017
DoubleTree Crystal City Hotel
Arlington, Virginia

PMC Presenter Biographies

As a genealogist and author, Sharon Atkins is passionate about genealogy research and assisting people to discover their personal connection to history. She thrives on researching and writing the stories behind real people. As a marketer, Sharon recognized the market need for up-to-date educational materials related to starting and growing a genealogy-related business. She pitched the idea behind GenBiz Solutions™ to Thomas MacEntee, who took the lead to "run with it." Sharon is also a popular speaker and teacher of "how to" genealogy classes. She is a member of Board member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and Past President of Arizona Council of Professional Genealogists.

Char McCargo Bah is a retired federal policy writer. A genealogist for 36 years and a former genealogist for the City of Alexandria's project on Contraband and Freedmen Cemetery. A coauthor of "African Americans of VA: Beacons of Light in the Twentieth Century," a recipient of the 2014 Alexandria, Virginia Living Legend for genealogical work in Alexandria. CEO/Owner of FindingThingsforU, LLC, a genealogist consultant, an academic researcher, and a writer's coach business. Some business clients have been PBS Documentaries, History Detectives, authors, and the City of Alexandria. A former columnist for Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society; thirty-nine articles were written.

William L. (Bill) Beigel is a historian, lecturer, author, and military records researcher, specializing in facts relating to Americans who died or went missing on active duty in World War II, and in veterans' records for Americans who served in and survived World War II. Bill holds a BA in History and a Masters in Geography, both from UCLA. Bill has written a book about America's repatriation of its WWII military casualties, titled The Return of the World War II Dead, slated for publication in 2017. Bill is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Military Writers Society of America, and the International Society of Family History Writers. For more information, please visit or email

Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD, is an intellectual property attorney by day and a genetic genealogist by night. In 2007 he started The Genetic Genealogist (, one of the earliest blogs on the topic. Together with Debbie Parker Wayne, Blaine is the author of Genetic Genealogy in Practice (NGS, 2016), the first genetic genealogy workbook. Blaine is also the author of The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy (Family Tree Books, 2016).

Angie Bush, MS is the Region 1 Director for the National Genealogical Society and chair of its genetic genealogy committee. She's also a full-time genetic genealogist researcher with AncestryProGenealogists in Salt Lake City. Angie has been interested in her genealogy since she was very young. After college, she spent several years working in biotech while continuing to hone her genealogy skills as a hobby. With the introduction of autosomal DNA testing in 2012, she decided to combine her two loves into one career. Although she spends much of her time working on recent unknown parentage cases, her favorite type of research involves breaking through decades-old "brick walls" using a combination of traditional records and genetic evidence. She is a popular speaker and presenter, and she enjoys attending conferences where she can connect with others who share her passion for genealogy. Angie is a Utah native and lives with her husband and two descendants in Sandy, Utah.

Carla S. Cegielski is a freelance genealogical researcher, lecturer, and web designer. She specializes in creating websites for busy professionals, genealogical societies, and non-profit organizations. She also presents workshops and webinars on creating business and family websites. Carla is currently the webmaster for the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy, ProGen Study Groups, and many others. She has been designing websites since 1997.

Brent N. Chadwick is a part-time professional researcher residing in Western Massachusetts. Since 2013 he has been actively creating templates and programming VBA (visual basic application) code in MS Excel and Word, specifically developing time-saving devices for genealogists. He authored the templates for the Forensic Genealogy Institute in Dallas March 2015, and the Forensic class in Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy January 2017. His website showcases these templates.

A resident of New Jersey, Michelle Chubenko has over 25 years of genealogy research experience, and enjoys solving challenging research problems in Central and Eastern Europe (Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and the Empires of Austria-Hungary & Russia) along with mid-20th century documenting Displaced Persons immigration. In 2013, she became the co-coordinator for the Ukrainian Historical & Educational Center's Nashi Predky Family History Group, serves as a Commissioner on the Middlesex County Heritage & Cultural Commission, and is a founding member of the New Jersey Chapter of APG. She has attended GRIP (2012- 2015), IGHR (2013), and SLIG (Researching in Eastern Europe, 2014) and is a ProGen17 graduate.

Shannon Combs-Bennett writes and lectures on a variety of topics from genetics to methodology. Based in Northern Virginia, Shannon is a staff genealogist for the Colonial Dames 17th Century. She is the author of A Genealogist's Guide to the Washington DC Area as well as two other books. Shannon holds a BS in Biology, and had completed the BU program, ProGen, and the American Records Certificate from NIGS. Currently she is studying Genealogical, Paleographic, and Heraldic studies from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

Kate Eakman is a former college history professor who discovered that professional genealogy, when approached as a historical discipline, provides her with the opportunity to blend historical research and writing with the stories of individuals and their families. Today Kate is a Senior Researcher for Legacy Tree Genealogists. She is the author of the book Discover the Story of your Civil War Soldier Ancestor and the article "Writing the Professional Research Report: Style and Format" published in the September 2016 issue of the APG Quarterly.

Mary Eberle, JD is an experienced genetic genealogist and a DNA expert. She's a former patent attorney with extensive DNA experience. Mary began her work in the field of DNA research 30 years ago. She designed DNA tests to match transplant patients and donors. She also characterized and published papers on several unique DNA types from people such as Central American Amerindians, the Kuna of Panama. Mary owns DNA Hunters, LLC, which finds people's biological parents and helps people understand their DNA test results. Mary has lectured on genetic genealogy throughout the country.

Valerie Elkins started her professional career as a graphic artist and marketing director for Page & Associates, an advertising and marketing firm. Valerie has presented on a variety of technology topics that relate to the genealogy field at venues such as Rootstech, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and BYU Family History Conferences. Valerie has served as Marketing Chair for the Utah Genealogical Association, as well as for Story@Home Family History Conferences. Elkins has also served on the FGS Marketing Committee and has numerous times served as a Rootstech Ambassador, NGS Ambassador, and Family History Expos Ambassador. Voted one of Family Tree Magazine's Top 40 Social Media Mavericks, Valerie continues to use her knowledge of marketing to promote genealogy interests to the world.

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG℠ is a 1975 graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, and obtained a law degree (1978) and a graduate law degree in tax (1982) from the New York University School of Law. She enjoyed a successful career as a tax lawyer before her 2013 retirement as a Partner from the Big Four Accounting firm of Ernst & Young. She is now a board-certified Genealogist, and in 2016 was elected as a Trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®. She has published in the National Genealogy Society Quarterly, among other publications.

Edward Grandi worked as the property/casualty insurance field in Washington DC from the time he graduated from college until the turn of the century. He earned two of the designations coveted in the insurance field during his career: the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and the Associate in Risk Management (ARM). Ed's specialty as a broker was working with small businesses and nonprofit organization providing insurance and risk management services. In addition, Ed served as an instructor for CPCU and ARM courses offered by the local CPCU chapter. Since leaving the insurance field, Ed has continued to serve as a resource to people with questions about insurance and negotiating insurance contacts for the organizations where he served as executive director.

Laurie Hermance-Moore has more than fifteen years of experience in marketing, marketing research, strategic planning, and brand development. She provides coaching to professional genealogists and genealogical societies in marketing strategy, helping them craft their unique stories, target their offerings to the right clients, and build their confidence in marketing. Laurie holds an MLS, an M.S. in Marketing, and the Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University. She is a member of ProGen 29.

Janet Hovorka ( received a BA in Ancient Near Eastern History and a Master's degree in Library and Information Science from BYU. She and her husband Kim Hovorka own Family ChartMasters (, the official printer for all of the major genealogy software companies, as well as My Heritage and FamilySearch. Janet is the author of the ten Zap the Grandma Gap books and workbooks ( published in 2013 to help family historians engage the youth in their family with their history. In 2016 Janet helped launch genealogyDOTcoach (, a service that pairs professional researchers with clients online and over the phone for short consultation sessions making professional genealogy help more accessible. In 2016 Janet also founded the Genealogy Business Alliance to help genealogy business owners network and create a unified voice in the marketplace. She is past President of the Utah Genealogical Association.

Rebecca Whitman Koford holds a Certified Genealogist® credential. Her focus is in American research with special emphasis in Maryland. She has been interested in genealogy ever since the age of five, when she could read her parents' collection of old handwritten family group sheets. Rebecca has been taking clients and lecturing since 2004. She has spoken for the National Genealogical Society Conference, Maryland State Archives, and for groups in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Delaware. She is a board member of the Maryland Genealogical Society and volunteers at the Family History Center in Frederick, Maryland. She has published articles in the APG Quarterly, NGS Magazine, and the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal. She is a graduate of the ProGen Study Group and was appointed ProGen Administrator in January 2015. Rebecca is currently very enthusiastic about the Society of Preservation Patriots project sponsored by FGS, an effort to digitize original military records from the National Archives. Rebecca lives in Mt. Airy, Maryland, with three active teenagers and a very patient husband.

Janice Lovelace, PhD is a professional genealogist who primarily lectures and writes on health, genetics, research methodology, and her ethnic minority heritage. She recently retired from 30 years of full-time college teaching in the social sciences, including women's studies and American Cultural studies. As a psychologist, she lectured on serving multi-cultural mental health clients and has been a consultant for other therapists on cultural issues. Janice is a member of APG, GSG, AAGHS, and several local societies.

J. Mark Lowe, CG℠, FUGA J. Mark Lowe describes himself as a lifelong genealogist. He is a full-time professional genealogist, author, and lecturer who specializes in original records and manuscripts throughout the South. He serves as the Course Coordinator for ‘Research in the South’ at IGHR, and directs a Southern course for the SLIG. Mark has worked on several historical and genealogical television series and podcasts. He is a Certified Genealogist, a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association, and was awarded the Graham T. Smallwood award by APG.

Thomas MacEntee is a genealogy professional specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community. Thomas has successfully implemented a variety of affiliate marketing programs to increase his business income over the past three years.

Rhoda Miller, EdD, CG℠ has been a 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. "Organizit: Reducing Your Genealogical Clutter" has been a popular presentation at the annual conference of the International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies. Many local societies have also sought out this presentation which is now brought to a higher level.

Judy Nimer Muhn specializes in French-Canadian, Native American and Michigan research. Becoming a professional genealogist in Europe in 1993, she lectured at the National Genealogical Society's conferences in 1998 and 2000, and conferences in Europe and the United States. Owner of Lineage Journeys, she conducts research for clients, offers public presentations and she utilizes "Tech Stack" tools in her own business. Judy is Corresponding Secretary for the Oakland County Genealogical Society, a founder of the English Speaking Genealogists of Europe-NATO Chapter, former AOL Genealogy Forum leader, and genealogist for the Clan Elliot-California chapter. Judy has served also as a volunteer in multiple Family History Centers.

Michelle D. Novak is President of MND (, a 20-year-old NYC Brand-Design agency. She holds a BFA from RISD and certificates from Boston University CE-GR, Gen-Fed, and GRIP. Novak is a Trustee of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey (GSNJ) and the Genealogical Society of Bergen County, NJ (GSBC). For GSNJ, she is administering a GSNJ project at the NJ State Archives that will enable the indexing of more than 80,000 early land records. For GSBC, she is Editor of the ISFHWE-award-winning newsletter, "The Archivist." For both societies, she is involved with numerous website, social media, publicity, and digitization projects.

Corey Oiesen works as a genealogist and genealogical translator, with emphasis on France, Canada, and Italy. She holds a BA in international studies and French from Virginia Tech and an MBA from Georgia State. She serves on the APG Board and as the organization's Communications Officer.

Bryna O'Sullivan holds a BA in French Literature from Tufts University and works as French to English genealogical translator and professional genealogist specializing in Connecticut, Luxembourg and U.S.-Canada research. In addition to her membership in APG, she is a member of the American Translators Association.

Marian Pierre-Louis is a genealogy professional who specializes in educational outreach through webinars, internet broadcasts and video. Her areas of expertise include house history research, southern New England research, marketing for independent professionals, and social media. Marian has fifteen years of corporate marketing experience and ten years marketing her own business. She is the Social Media Marketing Manager for Legacy Family Tree. Marian is the also host of the Genealogy Professional podcast, a show committed to helping genealogy professionals become better business people.

Diane L. Richard is the Principal of Mosaic Research and Project Management (MosaicRPM), She has ME and MBA degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has been doing genealogy research since 1987 and since 2004 professionally focused on the records of North Carolina, neighboring locales and migration paths to the Mississippi River. She has researched NC roots for the popular TV show Who Do You Think You Are? and appeared on the Bryan Cranston episode. Since 2006 she has authored over 200 articles on genealogy topics. Since 2010 she has been the editor of Upfront with NGS, the blog of the National Genealogical Society and published over 1000 posts. She is currently editor of the journals for NCGS and WCGS. She is a member of the national and local chapters of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), and other national and regional societies. She presented at the 2012 Federation of Genealogists Conference (FGS), 2015 FGS Conference, the recent 2016 NGS & TxSGS Conferences. She speaks frequently about the availability and richness of records documenting North Carolinians.

Mary Kircher Roddy, a CPA, earned a BA from University of California Riverside, a Masters in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas and a Certificate in Genealogy and Family History from the University of Washington. She worked in public accounting, as a tax manager for Holland America and Westin Hotel Company, and as a contract bookkeeper for small business clients for more than 25 years. Mary is a regular presenter with LegacyFamilyTree Webinars and speaks frequently at libraries and genealogy societies in Washington and at regional and state genealogy conferences.

The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell, JD, CG℠, CGL℠ is a genealogist with a law degree and credentials as a Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. In particular, she has written and lectured widely on genealogical ethics both in general and focusing on the specific issues of ethical concerns in DNA testing.

David Ryan (MA DIPGEN) is a professional genealogist based just outside of Cork city, Ireland. His research interests include landlord and tenant relations in South Tipperary in the aftermath of the Great Famine and monumental memorial plaques in historic parish churches. David has worked closely with other professional genealogists delivering expert advice on counties Cork, Tipperary, and Waterford. He has worked as a professional genealogist for the past three years. He previously worked as the Heritage Curator with Triskel Christchurch in Cork City from 2011 to 2015. David is a graduate of University College Cork (UCC). He was part of the inaugural Diploma in Genealogy (2012-2014), completed through UCC Adult Continuing Education. He has also graduated from UCC with an MA in Medieval History and has recently graduated with an MA in Digital Humanities. He completed a research topic as part of the MA, "Preservation in The Digital Age: Definitions, Approaches and Challenges." David is also a member of Cork Genealogical Society and the Irish Genealogical Research Society.

Karen Stanbary, holds the Certified Genealogist® credential no. 1071 from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. She serves on the BCG Genetic Genealogy Standards committee. She is a regular lecturer at the Newberry Library in Chicago, teaching in-depth courses on Beginning Genetic Genealogy, Advanced Genetic Genealogy, the Genealogical Proof Standard, GEDmatch and Visual Phasing. She is a repeat instructor in a variety of genetic genealogy courses at all three institutes: GRIP, IGHR and SLIG, including the Professional Genealogy course at IGHR 2017. Her case study proving the biological father of an adoptee was published in the June 2016 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. She has been selected to present a BCG webinar "Weaving DNA Test Results into a Proof Argument" in 2017. Karen holds a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. This degree and its skill set melds nicely as she works with the emotionally charged issues of misattributed and unknown paternity cases. Karen regularly takes genealogical clients that need specialized DNA analysis. She has experience with all kinds of DNA-based cases.

Jessica M. Taylor founded Utah-based Legacy Tree Genealogists, a professional genealogy research firm, in 2004 and has served as the company's president since that time. Now a 20-employee company that also works with contractors and affiliates worldwide, Jessica sends and receives about 150 emails per day. She's also a busy young mother of three, which has pressured her to be constantly evaluating the effectiveness of her time and how to run better organizational systems.

Maureen Taylor has more than thirty years of experience working with short-term contractors, freelance professionals and virtual assistants. She's worked with virtual assistants for a decade. Examples of her experiences will be part of her presentation. She's hired individuals to assist with social media, marketing, bookkeeping, design and day-to-day support. She believes that the right individual will help you grow your business.

Ian Watson, PhD teaches in the media and interaction design program at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Gjøvik, Norway. He previously taught in Iceland, where he also worked on open-access scholarly publishing and digital librarianship projects. At the same time, he works as a freelance researcher, writer, and editor for genealogical publishers. He has published several articles on open-access issues in Scandinavia and moderated conferences on the topic. For more information, see

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