See Conference Schedule under “Schedule”
CeCe Moore is the genetic genealogy consultant for the hit PBS television series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Her work has also been featured on 20/20, Genealogy Roadshow, Nightline, Good Morning America, Crime Watch Daily, Nancy Grace, CBS This Morning and The Doctors, as well as being quoted in many online and print publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The Root and People Magazine. Her primary focus is promoting genetic genealogy education and sharing positive stories about the power of genetic genealogy through the media. CeCe is the founder of The DNA Detectives (including the largest genetic genealogy focused online forum, the DNA Detectives Facebook Page) and co-founder of the Institute for Genetic Genealogy (i4GG). Be sure to watch some of her most recognized news stories about her work with her company TheDNADetectives HERE.
Shannon Christmas, is an experienced genealogist specializing in genetic, colonial American, and African-American genealogy in Virginia and the Carolinas. He serves as a 23andMe Ancestry Ambassador, administrator of The Captain Thomas Graves of Jamestown Autosomal DNA Project, and as a co-administrator of The Hemings-Jefferson-Wayles-Eppes Autosomal DNA Project. Shannon has a special interest in harnessing the power of autosomal DNA to verify and extend pedigrees, assess the veracity of oral history, and reconstruct ancestral genomes.
Routinely invited to lecture at international genealogy conferences, Shannon was one of a select few genetic genealogists invited to participate in the American Society of Human Genetics’ Roundtable on Genetic Ancestry Inference. Shannon was tapped to investigate the genetic lineage of Governor Lawrence Douglas Wilder of Virginia and presented his findings at The 2015 Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society’s National Conference in Richmond, Virginia.
A trained urban planning and real estate consultant, Shannon has a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard University and a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Kitty Munson Cooper is well-known blogger on genetics and genealogy. She started her blog in 2012 to keep track of her DNA and genealogy research. It includes numerous basic pictorial tutorials and several useful graphing tools she wrote. The blog currently receives several thousand unique visitors a day and earned Kitty tenth place on the rockstar genetic genealogists list in 2015.
Tim Janzen is a family practice doctor at South Tabor Family Physicians in Portland, Oregon. He has had an interest in genealogical research for 40 years and has particularly been involved in Mennonite genealogical research for the past 20 years. He has a web site that summarizes many different sources available for Mennonite genealogical research found at www.timjanzen.comand has given many presentations about Mennonite genealogy in the United States and Canada. For the past 14 years Tim has been become very interested in using DNA analysis to help complement traditional genealogical research. Glenn Penner and he are the co-administrators of the Mennonite DNA project at www.mennonitedna.com. Tim has a strong interest in many areas of genetic genealogy, particularly in regards to phasing and autosomal DNA analysis. He is a consultant to the genetics company 23andMe as one of their Ancestry Ambassadors. He has also been a consultant for Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage, and Ancestry.com. He periodically gives presentations on genetic genealogy and also does private genetic genealogy consulting on a case-by-case basis. Tim is married to Rachel Janzen and they have 4 children.
Barbara Rae-Venter, J.D., Ph.D., is a retired intellectual property attorney who specialized in the patenting of biotechnology inventions. She earned a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin Law School and a B.A. double major in Psychology and Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Biology (Biochemistry) from the University of California at San Diego. Barbara is a Search Angel with DNAAdoption.org and helps teach the online autosomal DNA classes DNAadoption.org offers to help adoptees use their autosomal DNA to find birth relatives. Barbara also consults with law enforcement on the use of genetic genealogy in identifying suspects in violent crimes and in identifying victims of violent crimes. www.GenealogyConsult.com.
Dr. Kathy Johnston, a retired dermatologist, has been engaged in genealogical research for over 25 years. She has been active in genetic genealogy since 2004, at which time she started collecting DNA samples from her aging parents in order to identify their Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA lines. She has had a special interest in the X chromosome since 2008 because of its unique pattern of inheritance and the richness of its ancestry informative markers. Kathy has been active in the DNA Interest Group of the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) and the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG). As a volunteer, she helps genealogists understand their direct-to-consumer DNA test results. She is a volunteer administrator for several projects at Family Tree DNA. She was a volunteer at the very first “Family History and DNA: Genetic Genealogy in 2013” conference co-sponsored by SCGS and ISOGG. In September 2013, she along with other members of ISOGG, was invited to attend an historic ancestry inference roundtable discussion organized by the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG). In Boston, she presented a scientific poster during the Ethical, Legal, Social and Policy Issues in Genetics Session at the ASHG 63rd Annual Meeting.
After getting bitten by the DNA bug as a high school student, Diahan went on to study at Brigham Young University where she earned a bachelors degree in microbiology. she worked before and after graduation for the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, one of the first efforts to create a correlated genetic and genealogical database.
Growing up with the budding genetic genealogy industry lead her to her current position at Your DNA Guide, where she provides personalized, interactive experiences to assist individuals and families in interpreting their genetic results in the context of their genealogical information. That means she can take you step by step through any kind of DNA test in a way that you will understand, and even enjoy!
Diahan has been pleased to lecture in many areas including both national and local conferences, from hundreds to handfuls. You will walk away from an interaction with her feeling like she is fun, upbeat, and full of energy. You might also be surprised to leave feeling that you really can do this DNA thing! This is because she has a passion for genetic genealogy, a genuine love for people, and a gift for making the technical understandable.
Diahan is the author of several quick guides on genetic genealogy, a regular contributor to Genealogy Gems, featured writer for Family Tree Magazine, regular contributor to Genealogy Today, as well as many other small writing engagements.
While she truly enjoys enlightening minds of genealogists everywhere about the merits of DNA testing in genealogy, her greatest DNA contribution is her three children. It is to them that she devotes the majority of her time and energies as they are ages 14, 11, and 9. For this reason she feels it is a true gift that she is can be a stay at home mom, and a work from home business woman. Of course this would never be possible without the unwavering support of her tall and handsome husband who holds down the fort in south Florida as she travels and lectures across the country.
Michelle Milledge Trostler earned her MA from USC in Sociology and is a PhD candidate at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. Michelle presented her first solved unknown parentage case to CeCe Moore’s DNA Interest Group in early 2014. That presentation described her (then) avant garde method of attaching DNA to the tree of a match. This came to be known as Mirror Trees which CeCe credits Michelle with inventing. Michelle joined CeCe’s team of DNA Detectives who solved the case of Paul Fronczak in 2015 which is now a popular genealogical read entitled “The Foundling.” Since then, Michelle has worked as an independent Genetic Genealogy consultant reuniting families and solving family mysteries through DNA. For more information, please visit identify family.com.
Dana Leeds worked with DNA at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in the early 1990s while earning a degree in biology education. While helping with a case of unknown parentage in the summer of 2018, Dana developed an innovative method for sorting DNA matches that has proven helpful to those researching brick wall ancestors as well as those working with unknown parentage cases.
Kathleen Fernandes earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Stanford University and worked as a systems analyst in designing IT systems for the Department of Defense. Since retiring, she has been actively pursuing her Portuguese roots and became interested in genetic genealogy as a way to break through the brick walls she encountered in her research. She is particularly interested in tools and techniques for analyzing DNA data in endogamous populations. She has completed several genetic genealogy courses and has begun giving presentations on the topic to local genealogy groups.
Ran Snir, Senior Product Manager, is responsible for MyHeritage DNA products. He leads a talented team of developers, QA engineers, and designers to create and optimize DNA users’ entire journey — from ordering a DNA kit to receiving results, and leveraging a continually growing suite of features to make the most of the DNA results in genealogical research.
David Turissini, Ph.D. joined AncestryDNA, LLC as a population geneticist in January 2017. He received B.S. degrees in Physics and Mathematics from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago where he studied the population genetics of how species diverge and remain distinct in the Department of Ecology and Evolution. He also did postdoctoral research in speciation genomics at UC Riverside and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jim Brewster holds a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology with an emphasis in North American prehistory and archaeology from Northern Arizona University. He interned as an archaeologist before realizing that conversations with skeletons tend to be one-sided. Jim is the genealogist for his family and has taught classes in both paper trail and genetic genealogy. He has had a lifelong passion for understanding the history of the human family in anthropological, epistemological, and genealogical terms. Shortly after graduating, Jim discovered Family Tree DNA and realized a way to turn his passion for understanding into an exciting career. Starting in customer service, he has been employed with Family Tree DNA for over three years and now works as Assistant Manager for the Group Projects Team. Jim works with project administrators as well as attending conferences and events where he enjoys sharing his passion with others and educating people about genealogy.
“Hilary has helped manage 23andMe’s Ancestry Service since she joined the team in 2016. Before diving into the world of genetic ancestry, Hilary was an Associate Researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and earned her B.S. in Biology from Stanford University.”
As Senior Product Manager at Living DNA, Katie Welka drives new features from ideation to completion for the Living DNA ancestry product. She holds a BA in Design & Interactivity and a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University. Katie’s genetic genealogy work has also been featured on the NextGen Genealogy Network.
A genealogist and journalist, Schelly is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com. She has tracked her families for more than 30 years across Belarus, Russia, Lithuania, Spain and Iran. An early proponent of genetic genealogy, she is co-administrator of the IberianAshkenaz DNA Project, confirming Sephardic origins of some Ashkenazi families, and of the new Persian Jewish DNA Project. The former genealogy columnist (Jerusalem Post: “It’s All Relative”) created the award-winning “Tracing the Tribe – The Jewish Genealogy Blog” in 2006, and founded “Tracing the Tribe – Jewish Genealogy on Facebook” (26,000+ global members). She speaks on DNA, Sephardic/Converso Jews and related topics at many Jewish and general genealogy conferences. Affiliations: Jewish Genealogical Society of New Mexico, Israel Genealogical Research Association, Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies, Casa Sefarad. Publications: Family Tree Magazine, Avotaynu, NGS Quarterly, The Forward, JTA, and others.