I have been researching my own and others’ family histories for over 25 years. I am an expert in Irish, Scots-Irish, German & English immigration, African American research, as well as research in Colonial New England, Colonial Virginia and the Carolinas, and 19th century Ireland. I have research experience in Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Upstate New York, New York City, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. I specialize in finding a family’s “black sheep” and finding the stories hidden in the records. I have recently undertaken a project to discover and locate the descendants of the enslaved people from three particular plantations located in North Carolina and Virginia.
I am also an expert in DNA analysis, and I am now using DNA in cutting-edge ways to solve research problems that were unsolvable only a few years ago! For example, I have used DNA analysis to find the ancestral villages of a client’s Irish ancestors who fled Ireland in 1848 during the Great Famine. I have also used DNA to prove the lineage of a collateral relative of George Washington, and to prove and disprove many other clients’ lineages. I have also used DNA analysis, coupled with traditional genealogical research, to find the birth parents of many adoptees, and to determine the birth parents of adoptees in past generations.
I’ve got over 25 years of experience in genealogical research and I adhere to the Genealogy Standards set by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). I lecture regularly on DNA and other genealogy topics. I was the sole speaker for the 2020 Fall Fair of the Fairfax Genealogical Society (FxGS) in Fairfax, Virginia, From Spit to Success: Using DNA for Genealogy. I am the leader of the Genetic Genealogy (DNA) Special Interest Group (SIG) of FxGS, where I lecture almost monthly. I also serve on the Board of FxGS as the Director of External Relations, and I served as the Newsletter Editor for four years. I am a member of the National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Virginia Genealogical Society (VGS), the New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS), and the New York Genealogical & Biographical (NYG&B) Society.
I am a graduate of the following Genealogical Institutes:
- Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) 2020: Advanced DNA Evidence, taught by Blaine Bettinger, et. al.
- Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy (SLIG) 2021: Meeting Standards Using DNA Evidence, taught by Karen Stanbary, et. al.
- Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) 2021: The Spirit of the Inland Seas: Research in the Great Lakes Region, taught by Cari Taplin, et. al.
- Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) 2021: Essential Tools and Strategies for African American Research, (upcoming) taught by Deborah Abbott, et. al.
I will begin a ProGen study group in the fall of 2021. I also plan to begin the BCG certification process soon. I have a B.A., summa cum laude, in Political Science (1985) from S.U.N.Y. at Fredonia, and a J.D. (1991) from the University of Virginia School of Law.