International German Genealogy Partnership

Conference Speaker Biographies

Kim Ashford is a professional genealogist, speaker and owner of the Twigs and Branches Genealogy Service. She is the past president of the Germanic Genealogy Society of Minnesota (GGS), a member of APG and co-chair for the 2017 International Germanic Genealogy Conference. She is one of the founders of the International German Genealogy Partnership.
 
James M. Beidler is the author of Trace our German Roots Online: A Complete Guide to German Genealogy Websites and Family Tree German Genealogy Guide, and writes Roots and Branches. He writes an award winning weekly newspaper column on genealogy in Pennsylvania and is a columnist for German Life Magazine.
Gail Shaffer Blankenau, M.A., is a professional genealogist, speaker and author, specializing in German genealogy, land records, and lineage research. Gail enjoys speaking and writing about genealogy. Her articles have appeared in many genealogical magazines.
 
Ingeborg Carpenter, M.A., is the president of the Sacramento German Genealogical Society. She is a native German, has worked intensively with the German language through teaching, tutoring, translating, and studying at the university level. She has taught the old German handwriting and performs German research and translation duties.
Bill Cole, M.A., is the vice president of the Sacramento German Genealogy Society and cochair for the 2017 International Germanic Genealogy Conference. He is a master storyteller and writer. He is sought after as a professional speaker/trainer.
 
Kent Cutkomp is a past president and current program chair of the Germanic Genealogy Society of Minnesota and co-chair for the 2017 International Germanic Genealogy Conference. He has given lectures in Germany and the United States, and he is the co-author of Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns. He is one of the founders of the International German Genealogy Partnership.
Lois Hemmeter Edwards has more than 25 years of experience researching German ancestors. She has written the book, Beginner’s Guide to Germanic Genealogy published by GGS. She has been a presenter at numerous genealogy workshops.
 
Werner Esser, Dr.-Ing., of Germany, serves as a member of supervisory board of Stadtwerke Bonn North Rhine-Westphalia. He has been the president of the Pfalzisch-Rheinische Familienkunde e.V. since 1996.
Richard Haberstroh, Ph.D., AG, is an accredited genealogist in German Genealogy. He has been involved in German research since 1984. He is the author of the book, The German Churches of Metropolitan New York: a Research Guide, published by The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.
 
Kenneth W. Heger has published articles in numerous state and regional publications. He managed the program at the National Archives and Records Administration for five years. He is a frequent speaker at annual conferences and the National Institute on Genealogical Research.
Debra A. Hoffman is the assistant director of the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records. She is a professional genealogist and the owner of Hoffman Genealogical Services. She is a frequent speaker at genealogical societies.
 
Benjamin Hollister, of Australia, has been a professional researcher for 20 years. He is convenor of the Germanic and Continental European Special Interest Group of South Australia and an international regional
representative for APG.
Cynthia Spurgat Jacobson has been researching her family for 20 years. She is a member of FEEFHS and GGS. She writes weekly blogs on Genealogy for German Lutherans in Suwalki Province (G-GLISP) on the Internet.
 
Baerbel K. Johnson, AG, a native German, is an international reference consultant at the Family History Library with more than 20 years’ experience in European family history. She has published journal articles, contributed material for several books, and lectured at various conferences. She is a member of the APG.
Fritz Juengling, Ph.D., AG, is a research consultant on the international floor of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, where he specializes in German, Dutch and Scandinavian research. He is a frequent speaker at genealogical societies.
 
Timo Kracke is a board member for Verein für Computergenealogie e.V. and Oldenburgische Gesellschaft für Familienkunde e.V. He is the voice of the German Podcast “der Genealoge” and founder of the Kids-Genealogy project “die Familienforscher.” He is an author and blogger and lives in Ganderkesee, Germany.
Ursula C. Krause is a professional genealogist, teacher and speaker from Berlin. She is the founder of Rootseekers Genealogical Research. She did research for Finding Your Roots and an award-winning documentary the Upside Down Book.
 
Michael D. Lacopo, DVM, is well versed in research from a methodical and scientific viewpoint strengthened by his background in medicine. He has lectured nationally and internationally since 2004.
Nathan Machula is a professional genealogist specializing in German Research and a DNA Specialist.
 
Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG, author of the Guide to Hanover Military Records, 1514-1866, helps clients discover their German ancestry and specializes in reading German script. She is a popular national speaker.
Roger P. Minert, Ph.D., AG, is a professional genealogist accredited by the FHL for research in Germany and Austria. He is a professor of family history at Brigham Young University. He is the author of the new book German Census Records 1816-1916. He has published many other genealogical books.
 
Jill Morelli, CG, focuses her work on teaching, lecturing, writing and client work. She lectures regularly to local and regional genealogicals and non-genealogical groups.
Stephen P. Morse, Ph.D., is the creator of the One-Step Webpages, for which he’s received numerous awards. He is a computer professional with a doctorate degree in electrical engineering.
 
Bryna O'Sullivan is a professional researcher and a French-to-English translator. She specializes in Luxembourg-American research. She has a blog page and is the owner of the Charter Oak Genealogy website.
Wade Olsen is a life-long genealogist with a focus on German and German Bohemian ancestry. He has a passion for travel and is enthusiastic about connecting people with their heritage.
 
Toni Perrone has been speaking to genealogical societies since 1981. She is the co-founder of the Immigrant Genealogical Society and the Temecula Valley Genealogical Society. She is the current president of the Pommern Interest Group of the Immigrant Genealogical Society.
Sigrid Pohl Perry, Ph.D., was born in Wedel, Germany and immigrated to Illinois in 1952. Sigrid has worked with archives and special collections at Northwestern University Library since 1981. She is a member of SGGEE and has served on the Board of Directors since 2011.
 
Yogi Reppmann, Ph.D., is a historian and wrote the draft of a book How to do Genealogical Research in Schleswig Holstein. He specializes in an immigrant group of a small number of democratic revolutionaries who emigrated from Europe in the late 1840s and early 1850s.
Shirley Riemer is the author of The German Research Companion, and co-author of A Handbook for Your Visit to the Homeland of your Ancestors. She has served as editor for Der Blumenbaum and been a member of the Sacramento Genealogical Society for many years. She has made 45 visits to Germany.
 
Joanne Daerr Ryder is the founder of the Southwest Florida Germanic Genealogy Society. She is a member of the Florida StateGenealogical Society speakers' bureau.
Donna Schilling and Charles Schilling, Ph.D.,
Donna has given presentations to various local groups in Iowa about Pomerania and other topics. They have been to the Pommern area several times and she is in process of writing a book tentatively titled German Genealogy in Pomerania: Kreis Schlawe.
 
Carolyn Schott is the founder of the Black Sea German Research Community and formerly a board member of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society and editor to their publication. She has been a speaker since 2007.
Donald P. Schwert, Ph.D., is a retired professor of geology at North Dakota State University. He researches his German/Polish/Kashubian ancestors whose histories reflect the struggles and successes associated with immigration into the U.S.
 
Paul Sternberg, past president of GGS, and past chairman of the Pommern Regional Group (PRG) of Minnesota, and is the current webmaster for PRG. He is co-author of Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns, and has written several books on Pomerania.
Paula Stuart-Warren, CG FMGS, FUGA, is an internationally recognized genealogical educator, researcher and consultant. She has lectured at conferences in many states and Canada. She is a member of the APG and a past board member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. She has written many articles on various research facilities and types of records.
 
Ernest Thode is the author of many German genealogical books such as Address Book For Germanic Genealogy. He has published many other genealogical books. He has been a genealogical columnist, teacher, librarian, translator and German genealogical lecturer throughout the U.S. for many years.
John Vanek has experience as a researcher and writer for the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum, the Minnesota Historical Society, Hagley Museum, etc. He is the owner of GeneaLOGIC Family Research Services.
 
Dirk Weissleder, of Germany, is a lecturer and independent company consultant. He is the chairman of the DAGV (Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Genealogischer Verbände e.V.). He is one of the founders of the International German Genealogy Partnership.
Kathy Wurth is a researcher, speaker, volunteer, and owner of Family Tree Tours, specializing in ancestral trips to Germany. Kathy is facilitator of specialized groups researching in Bavaria and Niedersachsen, Germany.