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WSGS Local Speakers' Directory

The Local Speakers' Directory is an ongoing project of the Washington State Genealogical Society. This list is specifically designed to help your society find speakers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia.

If your society is seeking a speaker of national prominence for a seminar or conference, please refer to our National Speakers page which provides links to web pages that list national speakers. These links should provide an excellent speaker on any genealogical topic.

We want to encourage speakers from throughout the state to add their names to our database. For your convenience, you can use this Speakers' Directory Sign-Up Form. Either print it out and mail it, or use its format and send an e-mail to Info@wasgs.org to add your name if you lecture yourself, or to suggest someone you are aware of who might be interested in being added to our directory.

Lastly, we have included some suggestions for making your speaker feel welcome. Hopefully by following these guildelines, you will have a successful program and your speaker will want to return and speak again!

We would like to thank all of those who have chosen to put their names on the list. The greater the participation, the more valuable the tool becomes!
Maple Valley
Coeur D'Alene, ID
Portland, OR
More about the speakers:
Nancy Adelson
Nancy is a Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State (JGSWS) Founding Member, President, Program Chair and JOWBR State Chair. She researched over 4000 family members. She wrote/published "A New York City Boy". She has presented at International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) conferences and locally. Nancy earned the WSGS Award for Outstanding Efforts in the Preservation of Important Washington State Genealogical Records, IAJGS Salutes and JGSWS Outstanding Community Service Awards. She earned The Trustee Life Long Learning Award and The Governor Dan Evans Award for Innovation for her teaching abilities while working as tenured Professor of Real Estate and Business at North Seattle Community College for over 20 years.
Fees are negotiable based on travel time and expense.
Equipment needs: LCD projector and screen for Power Point presentations.
Areas of Expertise: Jewish Genealogical Research, Jewish Online World Burial Records (JOWBR), NARA, Collecting Cemetery Records, Beginning and Organizing Genealogical Research, Sharing/ Publishing Research, Organizing and Sharing Your Family History.
Claudia Breland
Claudia Breland is a librarian, author, lecturer and researcher with over 40 years of research experience in libraries, archives, courthouses and historical societies across the country. She is the author of two books: Genealogy Offline and Searching for Your Ancestors in Historic Newspapers, both available on Amazon, and writes a monthly email newsletter.  Claudia is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, and various state and local societies, and has lectured for libraries and genealogy societies across Western Washington for the past four years. 
Areas of expertise: DNA and Genealogy, Newspaper Research; Online Research; Social Media and Genealogy; Introduction to Genealogy. 
Equipment needs: screen, LCD projector, handouts emailed two days before lecture. 
Travel preferences: if over 150 miles away from Gig Harbor, overnight stay in a motel is requested.
Kenneth W Burchell
Kenneth is a writer and internationally recognized specialist on Thomas Paine and the history of American democratic reform. Presentations include discussion of the techniques of historical and genealogical research. Thomas Paine presentations are available as general, biographically based presentations, specialized [ex. The Adventure of Thomas Paine's Bones, etc] or as full costume living history. Regional presentations center on the 1855 Inland Northwest Indian Wars, Smohalla, Kamiakin, Isaac Stevens, and the 1855 Walla Walla Treaty. A Freemason and freemasonic historian, Ken offers a range of freemasonic subjects. Inquiries welcome.
Travel expenses additional and handouts are included.
Jim Johnson
Jim is the Director of the Heritage Quest Research Library in Sumner, WA. Topics include: 1.) Internet for Genealogy (2 hrs); 2.) Canadian Research (2 hrs); 3.) Deciphering Genealogical Handwriting; 4.) Western Migration During the Gold Rush Era; 5.) Animap and maps on the internet; 6.) Mayflower and Other Early Ships; 7.) Using Family Tree Maker; 8.) Military Records; 9) Cemetery & Death Records (2 hrs.); 10.) Church Records (2 hrs.). Other topics presented on request.
Jim has his own LCD projector and wireless internet hookup.
Handouts are included. Many presentations include a CD for the participants with internet links.
Fee is negotiable. Travel may include additional expenses like motel.
Winona Laird
Winona has been doing family genealogy for 60 years. Winona was an accountant and tax preparer. She had her own practice in Kent Washington for over 25 years.  She retired from the Accounting business and became a Professional Genealogist. Her specialty is Lecturing and Teaching Genealogy. Winona has a list of classes and lectures on her website. She has taught at Historical Societies, Libraries, Genealogy Societies and at Green River Community College. Winona has published a book “Have you Ever Lived in a Mining Town” the life story of her grandmother. You can watch a video of a few stories in the book on YouTube, and enter the title of the book or tag mining stories. Winona is a  member and President (June 2011- 2013) of the South King County Genealogical Society and coordinator of their Family Tree Makers User’s group, May 2013 became Educational Chairman for South King County Genealogical Society,  National Genealogical Society and Federation of Genealogical Societies. As of 2013 she is the Program Coordinator for the PS-APG Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Also a Member of Association of Professional Genealogists (national organization).
Connie Lenzen, CG
Connie is a past Board for Certification of Genealogists President (2005-2008). She is a past NGS director (2004-2010) and the lead editor and writer of the revised NGS Home Study Course. She received the NGS President’s Citation for service to that organization. She has served on the boards of local and state societies and has provided volunteer service for many other societies. Topics include church records, adoption, naturalization, probate, tax records, use of the internet, and family traditions as well as numerous other areas. A complete list of her lectures can be found on her website.
Handout masters are supplied to sponsoring society.
Laptop and projector can be provided by the speaker.
Steven Waltz Morrison
Steven Waltz Morrison is a member of the Puget Sound chapter of Association of Professional Genealogists. He is a past president of the Olympia Genealogical Society. He holds a Bachelor of Science with honors from Western Washington University, and a Masters of Public Administration from The Evergreen State College where he taught as an adjunct faculty for seven years. Steven has presented at more than two dozen genealogical seminars and conferences throughout the Northwest.  He was also invited to speak at the Family History & Genealogical Conference in Provo, Utah and the Ulster American Heritage Symposium in Omagh, Northern Ireland. He has published multiple articles about Quakers which can be found in Familia (the journal of the Ulster Historical Foundation), Journal of Scotch-Irish Studies, Directory of Irish Family History Research, and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. In 1998 Steven privately published Glad Our Paths Crossed, a remembrance of his grandmother Waltz. It is now part of a millennium time capsule on the Washington State Capitol Campus, and in the Family History Library at Salt Lake City. Steven is a graduate of seven advanced genealogical training courses from the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR), the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), and the British Institute. Areas of expertise include genealogy methods, Irish genealogy, Quaker genealogy and northwest genealogy.
Donna Potter Phillips
Having worked with genealogical teaching, researching and writing for over 30 years, Donna is qualified to speak on a long list of topics including a current list of Internet-research topics. Let's talk!
Laura Pemberton Sparr
Laura is Past President of WSGS and has spoken at many locations. She will speak on any genealogically related topic with advanced notice. Fees are negotiable. Handouts are an extra expense.