Help:WikiTree Day/WikiTree Day Speakers

Search WikiTree's help pages:

Categories: WikiTree Day

Here is the list of speakers and their presentations for the WikiTree Symposium and WikiTree Day. Be sure to register to receive updates and be eligible for door prizes!



Marty Acks

Marty Acks has been researching his family history since 1999 after having caught the bug from his mom and dad. Marty joined Wikitree in 2014 and recently joined the 100K contributions club. His areas of focus on WikiTree include surname studies, data doctoring, Scotland, and pre-1500 work. Past WikiTree volunteer efforts have included rangering and volunteering at the WikiTree RootsTech booth. He is a board member of the Downers Grove Historical Society and past board member of CAGGNI (Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois).

"An Introduction to WikiTree – A personal perspective"

WikiTree is a free community of genealogists dedicated to growing an accurate single family tree using DNA and traditional genealogical sources. In this presentation, Marty will review some of the key features of WikiTree, how to get up to speed quickly, and review how WikiTree has contributed to his own genealogical successes and those he has collaborated with.

Meli Alexander, DNAChef

Meli Alexander has combined her passion for global cuisines and family history into creating a niche as a culinary genealogist. She has cultivated her persona as The DNA Chef in order to help others learn about their ancestry through food.

Her outgoing personality and attention to detail are the direct result of taking her skillset in the entertainment industry in Hollywood and combining it with her many years of experience in the business world.

Meli’s primary goal as The DNA Chef is to collaborate with her clients by honoring their heritage through DNA results and/or known genealogy and to help them discover what their ancestors may have eaten in the past in order to create a family connection.

Meli graduated with honors in the one-year culinary program at The Art Institute of Seattle. She has worked at a few neighborhood restaurants throughout Seattle and has also worked as a meat cutter. She is now based in Salt Lake City to pursue her work as The DNA Chef full-time.

"DNAChef Bingo"

Join host Sandy Patak to learn more about Meli, the DNAChef, through two rounds of Bingo! Play a fun game, learn some culinary genealogy tips and possibly win a prize.

Melissa Barker

Melissa Barker is a Certified Archives Manager and Public Historian currently working at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives & Museum. She is affectionately known as The Archive Lady to the genealogy community. She lectures, teaches, and writes about the genealogy research process, researching in archives and records preservation. She conducts virtual presentations across the United States and other countries for various genealogy groups and societies. She writes a popular blog entitled A Genealogist in the Archives and is a well-known published book reviewer. She has been researching her own family history for the past 33 years and has been a Professional Genealogist for the past 19 years with expertise in Tennessee records.

“Breathing New Life into Your Boring Ancestors " (45 mins + Q&A)

There is no such thing as a boring ancestor! Many genealogists will say they have boring ancestors because they can't find records or information for them. Learn from a seasoned genealogists and archivist how to locate records and information to bring those boring ancestors back to life!

Digging into Finding Aids: The Road Map to Any Manuscript Collection (45 mins)(Pre-recorded)

Genealogists use all kinds of tools to help them with their genealogy research. One of the best tools to understand and use when working with Manuscript Collections is the Finding Aid. Archivists develop Finding Aids to help genealogists navigate through Manuscript Collections to find their ancestors. This presentation will help genealogists read, follow, and use a Finding Aid to find your ancestors in the records.

Social and Civic Clubs: Discovering Your Ancestors’ Community Involvement (45 mins)(Pre-recorded)

In every community there were dozens of social and civic clubs to be a part of and volunteer. The Garden Clubs, Home Demonstration Clubs, Historical Societies, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs and so many more. Were your ancestors’ part of one of these clubs? Learn about the records that could be available in archives for genealogists to learn about their ancestor who volunteered.

Kevin Borland

Kevin Borland is the chief scientist at Borland Genetics, which hosts a leading third-party autosomal DNA database. Kevin holds a BS degree in Physics from MIT and has been developing genetic genealogy technology since 2013, largely focusing on mathematical reconstruction of genomes of the deceased. He has appeared on the TV show Relative Race and also serves on the board of mitoY-DNA. Kevin is also an attorney in Virginia and the District of Columbia.

“Reverse Phasing – What and Why?" (45 mins + Q&A)

Phasing is a DNA process that separates maternal and paternal copies of chromosomes to match relatives. Traditional phasing tools require tested parents, but Reverse Phasing can be used when only a child has been tested. This talk explains the theory and sub-tasks of Reverse Phasing, including the use of an "Evil Twin" phased kit and chromosome mapping to reveal recombination points. The Borland Genetics Reverse Phase "Creeper Smart-Project" automates the process with a "choose-your-own-adventure" interface and can incorporate multiple children.

Eleanor O. Brinsko

Eleanor is a genealogist from the Madison, Wisconsin area who specializes in Midwestern American and Scandinavian-American genealogy. She began her business in 2015 as a researcher and a genealogy presenter. She has given lectures and presentations throughout the country in-person and Zoom. Her favorite genealogical resources include court records and Internet Archive.

“Sifting Through the Cookbooks for Our Female Ancestors" (30 mins + Q&A)

There’s something special about cooking that can bring us back to a particular place, time, conversation, experience, family. Eleanor Brinsko will be looking at the history of the evolution of home cooking and how we can use these recipes, cookbooks, and experiences to help us further our genealogical research and family history presentation. Get a head start on this presentation by digging out the family recipes, church cookbooks, and newspaper clippings of recipe entries. Unfortunately, we will not be providing the food; we’ll leave that up to you.

Sara Cochran

Sara is a full-time professional genealogist with over twenty-eight years of research experience. Her research has taken her into nearly every State in the USA and Ireland. She especially enjoys breaking down brick walls and discovering the stories of black sheep ancestors. Sara holds a Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate, a Bachelor's Degree in Library Science, and is an alum of the ProGen Study Group. Find her online at

"Who Needed it Anyway? Getting Around the Missing 1890 Census" (45 mins + Q&A)

The loss of the 1890 Federal census is a source of great frustration for American Genealogists, but all hope is not lost! Learn strategies and gather tips for success in locating your family in other records between the 1880 and 1900 Federal censuses.

Christine Cohen

I am a long time member of the Whittier Area Genealogical Society, the El Redondo Chapter of the DAR, the Society of Daughters of Holland Dames and APG. I am a "Roots" genealogist who enjoys researching, teaching and presenting to help others in their quest for their family history and stories.

“Mysterious Codes: Passenger Manifests Letters and Numbers" (45 mins + Q&A) (Pre-recorded)

What do those letters, numbers, stamps, and pencil marks mean on Immigration Passenger Manifests? Does your ancestor have the letter "D" or "X" next to their name? Do you know what V/L, # 404, USB, Transit, CL, N.O.B, C/A, LPC, SI, NQIV, BSI, PV or C-XXXXX mean? And what insight we can learn about your ancestor's immigration experience based on these notations.

Connie Davis

Connie Davis enjoys exploring historical influences in the lives of our ancestors. Connie earned a certificate in Family History and Genealogy from the University of Washington in 1999 and has been a professional genealogist since 2018. She specializes in genetic genealogy with a focus on supporting people who have discovered unsettling events in their family trees. Connie believes sharing the stories of our families can lead to a better future.

“Free Space Page for the Win! Sharing the Letters of Rev. T.O. Ellis, M.D." (45 minutes + Q&A)

Do you have family letters that tell your family's story? Would you like to find a way to share them? This presentation will demonstrate how a Free Space Page can be used to share your ancestor's letters and connect them to their FAN club on WikiTree. We will explore the letters of Rev. T.O. Ellis, M.D. as an example. He corresponded with various family members and colleagues from 1863 to 1867, a tumultuous time in Southern California.

Mags Gaulden

Mags is a Professional Genealogist specializing in Genetic Genealogy as the founder of Grandma’s Genes in Ottawa. Growing up in a family full of family historians, Mags was primed to become a Genealogist.

After earning her Bachelors Degree from Columbia College, she began to work her own Genealogy as a “hobby”. This 35-year “hobby” eventually led her to a Leader role with WikiTree, where she currently leads: The DNA Innovators Project and The United Empire Loyalist Project. She also leads the Gaulden, McElmoyle, and Templeton Name Studies and the Gaulden, McElmoyle, and Templeton DNA Group Projects.

Mags is an international Genetic Genealogy Lecturer, Blogger, and Social Media Maven. She serves as Admin for Facebook groups including the ISOGG Facebook Group. She is a former member of the Canadian Casualty Identification Team.

Through her non-profit work with, Mags and other genetic genealogists are providing a free and accessible YDNA and mtDNA database for the Genealogy Community. “Doing DNA Right”,

"DNA Group Projects and WikiTree" (45 mins +Q&A)

For a time when Group Project Administrators wanted to share or display lineage information or charts or connections for their projects they used a free site. But with the introduction of the GDPR this other site was taken down. This is where WikiTree can step in with it's incredible DNA features and Free Space profiles to help manage lineages and more. Group Projects are a good fit for WikiTree which has the capabilities and collaboration to help grow the research and reach of these types of projects.

Patti Gillespie

Patti Todd Gillespie is known for bringing energy and humor to her presentations. A former teacher of French & English, Patti is a believer in lifetime learning and inclusive presenting. An avid hobby genealogist for 30 years, Patti formed Family Lines & Stories, her own research company, 7 years ago. She now stays busy researching for clients and speaking to groups, small and large, in and out of her home state of Texas. When not attending to her husband, children, grandchildren, landscaping, and rescue dog, she watches genealogy webinars and South Korean and Chinese television shows.

"Military Pensions: Vital Records in Disguise!" (30 mins)

Military pension records are an amazing source of information! In this presentation, Patti will go through the steps of retrieving United States pension records from various repositories and will illustrate how to create family trees and put "flesh on the bones" of our ancestors using the results found in these vital records in disguise.

Rusty Heckaman

Rusty Heckaman is the Research Room Supervisor of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. There he manages KDLA’s Archives Research Room staff, coordinating research and reference assistance for in-person and off-site customers; appraises, arranges, describes and indexes public records from state and local government agencies; and represents KDLA in public presentations about the discoveries waiting to be made in the State Archives collections and their unique uses for researchers.

Originally from Indiana, Rusty is a graduate of Indiana University with his Master’s in Library Science. He has 15 years of work experience that has encompassed a variety of archival settings including; local municipality, state government, private corporate archives, and non-profit advocacy organizations. He is the current Chair of the Kentucky Council on Archives and a contributing member of the Kentucky Genealogical Society.

"What is an Archivist?" (30 mins)

Rusty taps into years of experience to educate about what an archivist is and the many ways they can help a variety of agencies and organizations.

Sarah Hewitt

Sarah Hewitt is the current chair of the NZSG. Inspired by her two New Zealand-born grandparents, she started researching before the internet (and is very glad it came along). Her research has taken her from New Zealand, to Australia, the British Isles, the US and China. She has a Diploma in Family Historical Studies and has written numerous articles for The New Zealand Genealogist, the Society of Australian Genealogists’ Descent and her local Branch of the NZSG’s Genealogix. She is active in the genealogical community of her hometown of Wellington, New Zealand and always enjoys meeting other family historians.

"Researching in New Zealand with the NZSG" (45 mins + Q&A)

Join Sarah Hewitt as she explains how you might have family in New Zealand and then how the New Zealand Society of Genealogists (NZSG) can help you research them further.

Kathryn Lake Hogan

Dive deep into the rich history of your Canadian family history with professional genealogist, Kathryn Lake Hogan. Hailing from Ontario, Kathryn's lineage includes a mixture of Canadian, Loyalist and New England branches and roots connecting her to England and Wales. But her passion doesn't stop at her own genealogy; Kathryn's mission is to help others discover their Canadian ancestral connections. Kathryn's dynamic presentations, ranging from society meetings to research institutes, have earned her a reputation as one of the leading voices in Canadian genealogy. Whether you've attended one of her sessions or tuned into her monthly webinars, "Genealogy with a Canadian Twist," you've likely felt the excitement of Kathryn's dedication.

"Mastering the Updated Library and Archives Canada Website: Strategies for Success" (45 mins + Q&A)

The Library and Archives Canada website has always been a challenge to navigate, however, with the launch of its revised website in August 2022, finding records seems harder than ever. In this session, learn strategies for using the new “Collection Search” and how to maneuver about the website to successfully find what you’re looking for.

AJ Jacobs

A.J. Jacobs is an author, journalist, lecturer and human guinea pig. He has written four New York Times bestsellers that combine memoir, science, humor and a dash of self-help. Among his books are The Year of Living Biblically and The Know-It-All. He also wrote "It's All Relative," in which he immersed himself in the world of family history, including WikiTree. He has given several TED talks that have amassed over 10 million views. His latest book is The Puzzler, which The New York Times called “A romp, both fun and funny.” He was the answer to 1 Down in the March 8, 2014 New York Times crossword puzzle. He is your cousin.

"Constitutional Cousin Connections"

What problem-solving methods can we learn from doing crosswords, Sudoku, and riddles? And can these help us break through brick walls and solve genealogy puzzles? The answer is yes -- at least according to me.

Roseann Kent

Rosann Kent earned her master's degree in reading and storytelling from East Tennessee State University. She lives near Dahlonega, Georgia on a cabin near Clay Creek and recently retired as Director of Appalachian Studies Center at the University of North Georgia. Curator of Moon and Mountain Lore which details Ancestral Planting by the Signs gardening and much more. She enjoys telling stories about her Appalachian ancestors. Some of the stories are true.

"Ancestral Planting & Gardening Traditions"

Rosann Kent discusses Planting by the Signs, an ancestral planting and gardening tradition from our ancestors. This ancient folk practice schedules home and gardening tasks according to the moon's phases: planting, cultivating, weeding, irrigating, harvesting, weaning, butchering, canning, cutting wood, and even going to the doctor/dentist.

Alina Khuda

Alina Khuda has a BA (Hons) and MA (Hons) degrees in Social Studies and Politics, studied in the USA (sponsored by the US government).

She participated in GOI Peace Foundation and UNESCO projects from 2009.

Moreover she has an extensive experience as a court expert, probate genealogist and a forensic genealogist from 2015. Established KGS (Khuda Genealogical Services) in 2016.

She is an expert criminal genealogist for USA courts and a course editor for the University of Genealogical Studies in Canada. With a sufficient experience in journalism Alina and her team provide search of unknown relatives and missing beneficiaries for estates in the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, UK, EU.

An expert for genealogical data in the Europe: Jewish Galician Records, Orthodox Christian, Old Believers, Greek Catholic, Roma Catholic, Lutheran, and Mennonite records.

She did research for government, non-government organizations, attorneys, trustees, companies worldwide as well as numerous private clients. Member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and Genealogical Organization «Nashi Predky» (NJ, USA)

"Researching Your Jewish Roots in the Eastern Europe"

We aim to provide an overview of the archives, repositories, online databases and type of sources available in Europe to continue with your Jewish research. Case-study and tips/challenges will be provided.

Lianne Krüger

Lianne Kruger is a professional genealogist and speaker specializing in Canada, U.S. and Canadian homesteading, video recording family history, and using technology such as Google Maps and Drive, Microsoft Office and Evernote. She has spoken live and webinars for RootsTech, Legacy FamilyTree Webinars, Ancestry, NGS, FamilyRoots, THE Genealogy Show, Ontario Ancestors, AGS, and more. She has published articles in BYU Studies Quarterly, FamilySearch, Ancestry, SK Translations, and ISBGFH. After earning a computer degree she has taught computer software courses since 1982. She has been an ambassador/influencer for RootsTech for 4 years. She has a Bachelor degree which included a Certificate & Associate Degree in Family History Research from Brigham Young University-Idaho.

"Marking Your Ancestors' FootSteps in Google Maps" (45 mins + Q&A)

Find where your ancestors lived on Google Maps. Mark these locations on your own Google map, using your Google account, by using addresses, latitude and Longitude, name of the place, or placing a drop. Create a map of Earliest Known Ancestors to organize where to research. Share your map with others.

David Allen Lambert

David Allen Lambert has been on the staff of American Ancestors/NEHGS since 1993 and is the organization’s Chief Genealogist. David is an internationally recognized speaker on the topics of genealogy and history.

Lambert has published many articles in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, the New Hampshire Genealogical Record, Rhode Island Roots, Mayflower Descendant, and American Ancestors magazine. He has authored and or co-authored in the published genealogies presented to David McCullough, Ken Burns, Angela Lansbury, Michael and Kitty Dukakis, Nathaniel Philbrick, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. He has also published eleven books including A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries (NEHGS, 2018), and Vital Records of Stoughton, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1850 (Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2008). David received his B.A. in History from Northeastern University. David is an elected Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston, Mass., and a life member of the New Hampshire Society of the Cincinnati and the General Society of the War of 1812. David also serves as the tribal genealogist for the Massachusett Tribe at Punkapoag in Massachusetts.

Areas of expertise: New England and Atlantic Canadian records of the 17th through 21st century; American and international military records; DNA research; and Native American and African American genealogical research in New England.

""Verifying Descent from Salem's Accused Witches" " (45 mins)(Pre-recorded)

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of court cases and accusations of witchcraft across colonial America, yet the most famous series of prosecutions from this period are the Salem witchcraft trials between the year of 1692 and 1693. In that short period, more than two hundred were accused, thirty found guilty, and 20 executed. NEHGS Chief Genealogist David Allen Lambert discusses how to verify your lineage from someone accused of witchcraft in Salem during the Hysteria. He points you to key records, resources, and references for proving your line of descent .

Peggy Clemens Lauritzen

Peggy has been a featured columnist in Reminisce magazine, has written several Legacy QuickGuides, and has filmed as an instructor for Ancestry Academy. In 2018, she was honored to be awarded Fellow of the Ohio Genealogical Society and received the Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service to Professional Genealogy. She is a former researcher at Ancestry ProGenealogists. Peggy and her husband Kerry serve as Family History Center Directors in northcentral Ohio. She now serves on the APG Board, as well as UGA.

"Memory Keepers " (45 mins + Q&A)

There is so much more to FamilySearch than the FamilySearch Family Tree and records research. One of the best things we can leave for our descendants is a plethora of memories.

Steve Little

Steve Little, a seasoned professional with a rich and diverse career, brings his extensive experience and unique perspectives to his role as a professional genealogist. Steve's academic background includes a Bachelor's degree in English, followed by a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics, specializing in Natural Language Processing and Computational Linguistics, two of the pillars of today's large language models of artificial intelligence.

His first career spanned over two decades, during which he crafted information systems for various libraries including local, law, university, and state archives. Later, he transitioned to the non-profit sector where he has dedicated more than 15 years.

Transitioning to a "retirement career," Steve found a new passion as a professional genealogist after decades of independent research, with a special interest in the use of AI research and genetic genealogy within endogamous communities. This role, which he undertakes bivocationally, merges his life-long interests in language, technology, and genealogy, and provides him with a unique vantage point at the intersection of these domains. His work in genealogy is informed and enriched by his extensive experience and deep love for these fields.

"A.I. and Genealogy: The Basics and a Bit Beyond" (45 mins + Q&A)

Explore how AI is revolutionizing genealogy with Steve Little's insightful presentation, "AI and Genealogy". Dive deep into the power of AI, its limits and how it can be harnessed for genealogy research. Discover how Large Language Models (LLMs) such as OpenAI's ChatGPT enhance research efficiency, productivity, and creativity. Unravel real-world use cases of AI tools in OCR cleanup, data extraction, narrative report cleanup and translations. Learn about the exciting future of AI in genealogy with the growth of use cases, reduction of technical limitations, and more affordable costs. Get an understanding of privacy and ethical considerations in AI use and the importance of distinguishing AI use from ghost-writing. Followed by an interactive Q&A. Connect with Steve via email or on the AIGenealogyInsights website. AI is here to stay, learn how to navigate this new frontier for genealogy research..

Shaunese Luthy

Shaunese received her BA in Family History and Genealogy from BYU. She is the owner of Untangle Your Roots and specializes in the Dakotas Regions, Central Plain Regions, Midwest/Great Lake Regions, and Mountain West Regions in client research. She is also a presenter at a variety of different conferences and societies.

"Finding the Friends, Associates and Neighbors" (45 mins + Q&A)

Using different records such as Censuses, Vitals, Land, Church, and Probate will help find the Friends, Associates and Neighbors. The importance of finding them will be discussed.

Thomas MacEntee

Thomas MacEntee is a Baby Boomer guy with a love of punk rock music but also art history who somehow “fell” into the technology industry almost 40 years ago, and then left a lucrative IT career to pursue his love of family history and genealogy. Technology and historical research are opposites, but “tech people” like Thomas are needed to guide today’s genealogists through the maze of options so they can deploy the best apps and devices to break down research brick walls. Thomas MacEntee: author, educator, advocate, entrepreneur, and that “genealogy guy” who helps you accomplish your family history goals.

"Google Tools for Genealogy" (45 min + Q&A)

As genealogists, many of us know the value of using every possible record set and resource during research. We call it a “reasonably exhaustive search.” It is a main element of the Genealogical Proof Standard as put forth by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. But are we taking that same approach and care when it comes to using Google? More than just a search engine, there are many tools at Google that can help you work smarter when it comes to your family history research.

"Tech Troubleshooting – What Would You Do?" (45 min + Q&A)

Let’s face it. Dealing with technologies used for genealogy research is often a hassle, especially if you’re not a “digital native.” Learn the basics of tech troubleshooting, how to contact a tech vendor and get results, the best ways of finding tech help online, and how to create a “tech troubleshooting protocol” for future problems. We will also cover some of the most frequent tech problems and solve them collaboratively as a group.

"Genealogy A to Z: A Trivia Adventure" (45 min + Q&A)

Trivia contests seem to be all the rage now. But if you were ever a fan of the television show Jeopardy or the game Trivial Pursuit, here’s a way to test your genealogy knowledge.

With genealogy expert Thomas MacEntee as presenter, you can participate in a fun, fast paced, and educational genealogy trivia game. Every participant will receive a handout at the END of the adventure complete with genealogy trivia questions and answers!

"Did I Get Everything? – Creating a Checklist for Genealogy Research" (45 min + Q&A)

Are you really done with researching that ancestor? Many genealogists think they have a brick wall when, in fact, they just haven’t done a “reasonably exhaustive search.” Learn how to assemble a genealogy research checklist to take your genealogy to the next level.

Participants will learn how to identify gaps in their genealogy research and then move to the next level of research. These levels include using genealogy networks, going beyond online research with the help of Family Search Centers and other “offline” resources, and crafting a genealogy research checklist.

John Mancini

John Mancini is the President of Content Results, LLC -- http: // -- and the Past President of AIIM. He is a well-known author, speaker, and advisor on genealogy, digital transformation, information governance, and intelligent automation. He is the author of Immigrant Secrets, writes about family history topics at http: //, and is the author of more than 30 eBooks on a variety of topics.

"Immigrant Secrets" (45 min + Q&A)

The only thing my father ever said about his Italian immigrant family was that his parents died in the 1930s, shortly after arriving at Ellis Island. Except they didn't. Once I began the search for my grandparents, I mostly ran into dead-ends. Until the 1940 Census. My grandparents magically appear, but as inmates at the Rockland Insane Asylum. What happened? Why all the secrecy? And how did I use genealogy to unravel the mystery?

Melanie McComb

Melanie McComb, Senior Genealogist, holds a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York at Oswego. She is an international lecturer who teaches on a variety of topics including colonial through twentieth-century American military research, genetic genealogy, Atlantic Canadian, African American, Jewish, and Irish genealogy. She is also an Honorary Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. She has had articles published in American Ancestors Magazine and Fifty Plus Advocate. She is a blogger, known as The Shamrock Genealogist.

DNA Consultations at (45 min + Q&A)

An American Ancestors DNA consultation can help you make the most of using DNA in your family history research! Have you taken a DNA test and need help deciphering results? Interested in learning techniques on breaking down one of your genealogical brick walls? Or maybe you want to learn about some of the many third-party tools available. This talk will review our DNA consultation service and discuss the types of scenarios you may consult with an expert genealogist about, and we’ll also review a case study from one of our past clients

Catherine Nelson

Cathi Nelson is the CEO and founder of The Photo Managers, a global membership organization that serves entrepreneurs through training, professional certification, partnerships, and educational conferences. Cathi’s mission is twofold: to help small businesses worldwide achieve success as professional photo managers and to educate consumers on the importance of organizing, saving, and sharing their photos and videos.

"Connect By Sharing Photos & Stories " (Pre-recorded)

I believe we take photos to tell the stories of our lives. Sharing life’s precious moments with family and close friends helps build connections. However, not everyone is comfortable with changing technology. In this presentation, I’ll share my favorite ways to share photos and tell stories.

Sandy Patak

Sandy Patak, owner of Ancestry Roads, is a professional genealogist and webcaster. Based in Southern Appalachia, Sandy brings the culture of all Appalachia to viewers with her webcasts. The webcasts tell the stories of Appalachia and Appalachians with the goal of changing the narrative. She is regularly asked to consult and speak on Appalachian-centric topics, genealogy, and history. You can usually find her traveling the backroads of her ancestors with her husband, their yorkies, a bag of Crab Chips and a Cheerwine.... or at a Hockey game.

Hillbilly Highway: The Out-Migration of Appalachians (45 min + Q&A)

Understanding the reasons and causes for migration out of Appalachia, to industrial cities, as well as the cultural effects of those left behind and those that moved. Sharing stories with special guests that have traveled this highway, known as Urban Appalachians, while their roots remain strongly tied to Appalachia.

Jon Marie Pearson

Jon Marie Pearson is a social media specialist helping the genealogy community make the most of the virtual genealogy world on social media.

Unraveling the Threads: Creating and Sharing Your Family History On Social Media (Pre-recorded)

This presentation is designed to guide participants on a journey of discovering their family history, empowering them to share their unique family history with the world on social media. It begins with a focus on crafting engaging narratives that bring ancestors to life. It navigates through the best ways to share these narratives, whether through social media, blogs, or other digital platforms. The presentation highlights best practices for sharing sensitive and personal content, engaging with an online audience, and maintaining consistency. It concludes with inspiring real-life case studies, motivating participants to start their journey of sharing their family history.

David Ryan

David Ryan is a genealogist and oral historian based in Cork, Ireland. He is currently studying an MA in Public History through the University of Limerick and is a board member for the Association of Professional Genealogists.

"Why Can't I Find My Irish Ancestors?': Solutions For Your Irish research" (45 mins + Q&A)

Irish family history research has a well-deserved reputation for being difficult. Often it can seem nearly impossible. The goal of this talk is to examine the most common barriers those researching their Irish ancestors encounter and to offer some potential solutions to overcome them.

"Hidden Treasures’: Discovering Local Sources in Your Irish Research" (45 mins + Q&A)

What many people overlook when researching their Irish family history is the treasure trove that is local repositories and the records they contain. This talk will examine some of the records contained in local repositories and how best to use them for your genealogical research.

Katherine Schober

Katherine Schober is a German-English genealogy speaker, author, and translator, specializing in the old German handwriting. She is the author of “The Magic of German Church Records” and “Tips and Tricks of Deciphering German Handwriting”, as well as the creator of the online courses “Reading the Old German Handwriting" and "German for Genealogists”. Katherine lives in Bend, Oregon with her Austrian husband and their toddler son, and can be reached via e-mail at or at her website

"A Wealth of Websites: Deciphering the German Script Made Easy" (45 mins + Q&A)

Learn the top online tools and resources to make deciphering the German handwriting easier - and more fun. With websites that offer fill-in-the blank help, surname and town verification, and much more, the resources taught in this session will have you deciphering that script in no time!

Maureen Taylor

Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective helps clients with photo related genealogical problems. Her pioneering work in historic photo research has earned her the title “the nation’s foremost historical photo detective” by The Wall Street Journal and appearances on The View, The Today Show, Pawn Stars, and others.

"Hidden Clues in Photos of Women" (30 mins)(Pre-recorded)

Tell the story of your female ancestors by studying the clues in their photos. Fashion, props, hats, and photographic imprints can reveal their personality and passions.

Eric Weddington

Eric Weddington has been a genealogist for over 10 years and on WikiTree since 2016. He holds a BS in Organizational Leadership and has worked in the high-tech field for 30+ years in various roles including leading the Open Source office of a $3B+ company. He has over 40 years of study of esoteric symbolism and the Western Mystery Tradition, including being a Freemason for the last 12 years. He belongs to one of the most esoteric and philosophy focused Masonic Lodges in the U.S. in Colorado, where he has lived for the past 28 years.

"A Brief Tour of Gravestone Symbolism"

Cemeteries are important sources for genealogy. Many gravestones are personalized with symbolism that may point to important biographical details. We'll explore some of this gravestone symbolism, their meanings, and how it relates to genealogy.

Marian Burk Wood

Marian Burk Wood is the author of the popular genealogy book, "Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past." An internationally-known speaker and family-history blogger (at, she earned an MBA from Long Island University and a BA from the City University of New York. Marian has been researching her family tree for 25 years, with special emphasis on preserving family history for future generations.

"Keep Your Family's History Safe for the Future!" (15 mins + Q&A)

Who wants their genealogy research or materials to wind up in the trash can? Sometimes the safest place for some or all of your family history is in the collection of a museum, library, archive, genealogical society, or another institution. Learn about the process for donating a family history artifact, from investigating potential repositories and understanding their collection priorities to documenting your item's provenance, approaching curators, receiving approval to donate, and signing a deed of gift transferring ownership to the institution. Plan now to keep items safe, before joining your ancestors!

Yore Travel

H. Jessica Armstrong is the founder and CEO of Ancestor Ventures, a house of genealogy

travel, technology and media brands. With Ancestor Ventures, Armstrong is on a mission to build tools and products that help make genealogy research and ancestry travel more accessible and impactful for hobbyists and enthusiasts and lucrative for professionals and entrepreneurs.

Armstrong’s first venture, Yore Travel, is a marketplace for adventures into the past. The easy-to-navigate platform helps travelers find the perfect ancestry or heritage travel experience by comparing tour, cruise and activity listings, browsing reviews, and reading guides and articles. For travel suppliers, Yore Travel is a set of technology-focused marketing tools that enable themto promote their business and increase their bookings.

She currently resides in Arizona, but hopes to hit the road for an extensive exploration of her family’s history for her travel project, Suitcase Genealogist.

"Yore Travel Bingo" (45 min + Q&A)

I will provide a quick overview of Yore Travel, its current and planned features, who it is for, and the estimated launch date, followed by a peek at the developing platform, and end with information about how travelers can sign up for launch updates and suppliers can join the marketplace. Plus enjoy Bingo with host Sandy Patak and possibly win a prize!

Special Sessions and Panel Discussions

WikiTree Day Kick-off + Get to Know the WikiTree Team

Join us as we kick off WikiTree Day! This includes a special interview between Eowyn, Chris Whitten and the WikiTree Team. Learn more about what your WikiTree Team members do and get to know them a little better.

15th Anniversary Virtual Toast

Join us live on Sunday, November 5th, at 1:15pm EDT/6:15pm UTC as we have a toast to celebrate WikiTree's 15th anniversary. We'll also being sharing things about WikiTree that we are grateful for.

The toast will include a live stream from our WT Discord Channel so pop in there to be include and toast with us live!

You can also join in the live chat during the video and toast with us there. The more, the merrier!

Genealogy and AI Discussion Panel

Join us for a discussion about artificial intelligence (AI) and its place in genealogy. We will be chatting with genealogy and AI specialists including Steve Little, Thomas MacEntee, Drew Smith and Willie Williams. Bring your questions with you and we will take as many as we can from the live chat during the live stream.

This page was last modified 04:11, 30 October 2023. This page has been accessed 5,151 times.