Presenters Bios



Marsha has been gathering and researching Family History for over forty years and loves to help others, especially beginners! She is a frequent speaker at various genealogy groups.

A. LeRoy Atkins has completed three genealogical semesters at Monterey Peninsula College and Salt Lake Community College. He has studied at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy for seven years and at the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research at Samford University in 2010. He has been an avid genealogist for 57 years and is continuing his genealogical education. He served as a missionary at the Mesa Regional Family History Center for 18 months and is currently serving as a mentor on the Land and Probate Committee. Mr. Atkins specializes in solving genealogical problems through the use of land and probate records.

austad Bryan Austad
Bryan Austad is the Director of User Experience and Research at Family Search International.  He has been working in the software industry for over 20 years.   He currently leads a the User Experience Designers and Advanced Technology Researchers at Family Search.  What does this mean?  Well, I guess you can complain to him for the UI changes and user flows that may be broken.  If you also see a way of how the newest and greatest technologies can assist in pushing Family History ahead; he’d also be the guy to talk to.  He finds his home in Utah where he lives with his wife and 4 daughters and a dog (female also).



Darlene was born and raised in SLC, Utah but has lived in Arizona with her husband and six children for most of her married life. She has had an interest in family history ever since she was a teenager, but did not become actively involved until after her children were grown and married. She is now retired from an administrative professional and has been at the Mesa Family History Center as a missionary and volunteer for more than 5 years. She especially enjoys using computers for research and helping patrons get their genealogy organized.
Carolyn has been researching her family since 1979. She has published seven family history books and three genealogy guides. Carolyn is the founder, chairman, and newsletter editor of the Bouse Genealogical Society, Bouse, Arizona. She has been presenting genealogy seminars and workshops for over 25 years. Carolyn was elected to Who’s Who of American Women in 1989. She is the recipient of the 2012 AzGAB Founders Award and the 2013 NGS Award of Merit

wendy carlson


I was introduced to family history 35 years ago when I took over a project that my uncle started and have been hooked ever since.  I am mostly self-taught, but have had the good fortune to have been mentored by several people who have more skills and experience than I do.  It has been my pleasure to serve as the Director of the Family History Center in Casa Grande for the last 3 years.



Denise Crawford was born in Ft. Bragg, CA and has been an Arizona resident since 1980. She has always been interested in genealogy and has been actively researching her family for twenty years. Denise has been on the staff at the Mesa FamilySearch Library for the last 12 years. She assists patrons and provides training on immigration, naturalization, census, Internet research and enjoys opportunities to give community presentations. Denise is a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, National Genealogical Society and First Families of Knox County, Ohio. Her favorite online database is the Historical Records Collection on and contributing to Find A Grave is her passion.

Carma Lee has been journaling, writing and collecting family stories for 50 years. This love led her to serving at the Mesa Family History Center where she immersed herself in learning about family history research, specializing in the Family History Research Wiki and FamilySearch. She loves helping others by sharing her knowledge. 


My paternal grandmother died in 1999, she became my motivation to do our family history. In the past 10 years, I have focused my research more in my husband side of the family, since there were more records from Mexico than Colombia at that time. I really enjoy doing genealogy and finding more about my family. My research has giving us an understanding of who we are and to be grateful to those who came before us. I hope to help others with their research in Latin America, Spain, and the Caribbean or any other country with the knowledge that I am still acquiring.

Resident of Anthem, AZ after retiring from a great career with IBM.  Discovered the "fun" in researching family history more than 25 years ago.  His direct  paternal ancestry traces back to the 1660s in Quebec; additional research led to the discovery that he and his wife are 6th cousins!
An archaeologist by training (B.A., and M.A.), Emily Garber has been researching her Jewish ancestry since 2007 and holds a certificate from Boston University's Genealogical Research program. In 2013 she traveled to Ukraine to visit archives and family villages. Emily is a blogger (, chair of the Phoenix Jewish Genealogy Group and owner of Extra Yad Genealogical Services.

Katie Gertz started Kate’s Computer Clinic in January 2000 after an early retirement from AT&T. Katie has a BS and an MBA in Business Administration. Kate’s Computer Clinic services residential and small business clients. Her business includes making "house calls" to set up new computers, networks, repair/replace computer parts; in other words, anything relating to the personal computer. She is known to her customers as "Dr. Kate". Katie is extremely knowledgeable on both the Windows and Apple MAC platforms. She teaches Windows, iPad and MAC classes at many computer clubs around the Phoenix Metro area.
She is a Microsoft Partner, Technet and Action Pack member. She is also a Business Partner with Carbonite and Paragon Software. She is an Apple Ambassador for the Sunland Village East MACies and a Certified Apple Product Professional. Katie is currently serving as the President of the Arizona Alliance of Computer Clubs, President of the East Valley Chapter of the Family History Society of Arizona and Secretary of the Family History Society of Arizona. Her involvement in genealogy started just 5 years ago with the help of her neighbor. She is a guest lecturer at many genealogy clubs around the Valley and is listed in many genealogy Speakers Bureaus.


Michelle Roos Goodrum is a researcher, speaker and writer with a passion for research in land records, DNA, organization and photography. She is a Facilitator for Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program; mentors and administers the Gen Proof Study Groups studying Mastering Genealogical Proof and regular attendee at genealogy institutes and conferences.
Michelle became involved in family history in the early 1990s when she realized her ancestors saved everything from important family documents to the smallest trinkets. She is now the caretaker of over 130 years of her family’s history.
Recognizing the importance of the relatively new field of genetic genealogy, Michelle completed the first weeklong DNA course in July 2014 at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. She went on to attend the Advanced DNA Analysis course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in January 2015.
Michelle is the author of the book, Digging for Ancestors and pens the column, Timeless Territories, for the monthly digital magazine, Going In-Depth. She also regularly writes for The In-Depth Genealogist blog and her personal genealogy blog, The Turning of Generations where she writes about various family history topics.

edith haws

Edith S Haws is currently serving her 3rd Mission at the Mesa Family Search Library. She also serves as the Indexing Director of her LDS Stake and as an Area Advisor for FamilySearch. Edith has been involved with Family History work for about 38 years, starting with her first class at BYU at age 19. She holds a B.S degree from Brigham Young University in Elementary Education with a double minor in Public Speaking and Music. She is thrilled to see the technology advances that make Family History work so much easier and productive.


Wallace Haws has served twice as a service missionary at the Mesa Regional Family Search Library.  He and his wife jointly service as Area Family History Advisers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the East Mesa Area.

Martha (Pat) has been researching Northern European and Swedish family history for 25 years. She is a native Virginian and a graduate of the University of Virginia. She and her husband Al share six children, and 11 grand children.  She served a family history mission in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Hungary as well as other family history missions in the United States. She recently discovered she is 7% Lapp.  Martha’s passion for seuthing ancestors in these parts of the world is contagious. Come Join the Fun.



JEANNE KONIUSZY has been a hobbyist in family history for over 35 years and is currently working on a
bachelors degree in Family History through Brigham Young University with a projected graduation date
of April 2016. She is the wife of Tom Koniuszy and the mother of three children and six grandchildren.
She has been a Family History Consultant for four years on the ward and stake level and has been a
Service Missionary for the Family Search Library in Mesa since May of 2014.


Joyce Reese McCollum, began her journey as a genealogist in 1985. After learning that both her maternal great-grandfathers, were Civil War Veterans of the United States Colored Troops. Since her early retirement, she has devoted her time to genealogy research. Ms. McCollum is Co-Administrator for, and
Ms. McCollum was part of a delegation that travelled to West Africa with the 7th great-grandchild of a documented 10 year old girl who was captured in 1756 and sold in Charleston to the Ball family. (See Attachment)
I believe that genealogy is serious fun! I love everything about it. In the last few years, I’ve rearranged my life in order to do family history full time and part of that equation is serving as a missionary at the Family History Center. I am resourceful, with a passion for keeping it simple. I would like to see more people interested in their ancestors and I love teaching those who are. I am a Dave Ramsey fan, Find A Grave enthusiast and BYU alumna. I am a wife, mother and grandmother.

Colleen currently serves on the Youth Committee at the Mesa Family History Center helping to develop and teach classes on Family History in an exciting and meaningful way to the youth and those who work with them. She enjoys seeing all the new technology opening doors of opportunity being grasped by the younger generation who will take it to new levels.



Sharon D. Monson is the founder of GenSearch and more, an author, and frequent conference presenter. She has extensive research experience in courthouses, archives, and the Family History Library spanning 30+ years. Her class presentations cover a wide range of research methods, useful tips, and unusual resources. Internet research sites available 24/7 present a unique challenge for Sharon – Search or Sleep? In this case, sleep never wins!

I was born in Pinon, Arizona on the Navajo Nation.  I am the son of Donald and Grace Mose and the  youngest of seven children.
After graduating from San Juan High, I attended  No. Pioneer College in Holbrook, AZ.  I currently work at Gateway Community College as a security dispatcher.  In my past, I enjoyed riding in  rodeos as a bronc rider until I had my accident.  That changed my whole talent around.
I discovered a new talent in family history and got involved in Native American research.  I have a strong desire to find my ancestors.  I have learned a lot about the 1800 history of Native Americans and about the  African Americans.  I am the chairman of the Native American, African American and Polonesian Committee.



Shirley is a native of OK with roots in NC, GA, TN, AR, and TX. She is Scotch-Irish, Welsh and has a splash of Native American with deep roots in W Tennessee and the Ozark Mtns of N Arkansas. She has 35 yrs of genealogy research experience and has served at the Mesa Family History Center for 20 years. Her genealogical expertise is: U.S. Military Records, Genealogy Research Analysis/Problem Solving, and Internet Research. She teaches and lectures at the library and in the communities where she has lived.
The past 7 yrs she has been a member of Find A Grave, contributing over 18,000 memorials.  It is one of her passions.



I was born in Heber City,Utah to an Educator/ Administrator Father and German Immigrant Mother.  Educated at the University of Utah in Business Administration and worked for over 35 years in the computer/data communications field. Ended my career in a start-up company in Arizona and retired in 2006 as Vice President of Global Sales after traveling over 3 million miles and visiting 52 countries.
Began genealogy during the mid 1960’s while living in Germany and have been involved in family history since then. Have served at the Mesa Family History Center since Dec. 2007 with a concentration on German & related research. I teach 30 classes per year in the community and enjoy helping others find solutions to brick walls.


Professional genealogist for the McClelland Irish Library at the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix, Cindy has been doing family history research for over 20 years. Prior to working at the Irish library, she had her own genealogy research business. She is a graduate of the ProGen Professional Genealogy program and has completed the Irish Genealogical Research course at Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. She enjoys helping people navigate the complexities of Irish research and currently serves as Program Chairperson for the Paradise Valley Chapter of the Family History Society of Arizona.



Leone grew up in Utah. She traveled the world with her family, attended High School in Tehran Iran, graduated from USU, taught school in California, received MA degree from BYU, and eventually settled in Arizona when she met, and married, Richard. They have 6 extra-ordinary children and 16 fabulous grandchildren. After several years’ experience in extraction and indexing, she “caught the bug” and has a passion for finding her ancestors, “the search is exciting—the ‘find’ is incredible!” Currently, Leone serves as a missionary at the Mesa Family History Center.

Todd Powell is a senior product manager for the FamilyTree department at  He has over 25+ years in technology and business leadership.  He graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in engineering and a MBA.   Todd is a native of the Phoenix  and Gila valleys.  Todd, his wife Karie, and their 5 children live in Mapleton, Utah, however they spend a couple of weeks every winter in Mesa where they can reunite with extended family and drink fresh orange juice every morning.



Duane Roen has been tracing his roots since his teenage years, building a database with more than 32,000 ancestors. He and his wife, Maureen Roen, have also been recording their family history since 1978 by writing nearly 16,000 daily journal entries on their children and other family members. Combining his professional and personal interests, Duane worked with colleagues to establish courses on writing and recording family history in the College of Letters and Sciences. He also is founding coordinator of the Project for Writing and Recording Family History in the College of Letters and Sciences. Although Duane loves family history, he spends most of his waking hours serving as Dean of University College and Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences.



Mary Säfsten was raised in Mesa where she was trained in Family History at a very early age. She graduated from BYU, then married Robert Säfsten whose parents were both born in Sweden. Mary was trained in Swedish Genealogy Research to assis her husband research his family tree. 2008-2010 she served a mission at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. She divides her year between Mesa and Bellingham, Washington, where they raised their family of 12 children.



- Born in Indiana and raised in Arizona.
- Graduated from ASU in Engineering.
- Served in the USAF as a Missile Launch Officer with Minuteman III ICBMs.
- Worked In the aerospace industry in engineering and management for over thirty years.
- Volunteer at the Mesa Family History Center since 2005.
- Married for 45 years with three children and three grandchildren


Dr. Janette Silverman has been involved in Jewish genealogical research for nearly 35 years.  She is a moderator for the JewishGen Discussion Group, Coordinator of JewishGen's Ukraine SIG, the Lead Co-Chair of the International Association od Jewish Genealogy Societies (IAJGS) 2016 conference in Seattle Washington and a member of the IAJGS membership committee.  She previously served as president of the Phoenix Jewish Genealogy Society and teaches classes on Jewish Genealogy Research.  She is an international speaker, and in addition to speaking about JewishGen and classes on Jewish genealogical research, also speaks about personalizing history, using archival resources for genealogical research, the Blumenthal family of Michigan, researching in Ukrainian archives, researching the holocaust, and many other topics.  Her doctoral dissertation was on Jewish genealogical research, entitled "In Living Memory".  Additional information about Dr. Silverman and her research can be found on her website,


I was raised in Arizona and after graduating from BYU married Ken Skousen from Mesa. We have 2 children and 6 grandchildren. I have served in numerous church callings and most recently served senior missions in Cochabamba, Bolivia and Madrid, Spain. Until Oct 1 we are serving in the Copenhagen, Denmark Temple.



Melanie is the State Archivist & Director of the AZ State Archives, a Division of the AZ State Library, Archives and Public Records. She has a Ph.D. in history and is an avid genealogist and family historian. As an archivist who works with government records she is familiar with numerous primary sources that contain information about people. She has taught family and oral history workshops throughout the state of Arizona and has conducted over 100 oral history interviews ranging from family histories to interviews with the original residents of the first Sun City.


Ann Wessman Tanner was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, graduated from the University of Utah and then taught English at Olympus High School for two years. She married James Tanner in the Salt Lake Temple 48 years ago. They are parents of five daughters and two sons, all of whom are married and living around the country. They have thirty-three grandchildren. Ann and James lived in Arizona for the past forty-three years, then made a sudden move to Provo, Utah one year ago. Ann served two Church Service missions at the Mesa Family Search Center and is currently serving at the BYU Family History Library where she coordinates the Sunday classes, teaches, and prepares training for the missionaries. In her spare time she reads.



James L. Tanner B.A. Degree; Spanish, M.A. Degree; Linguistics, University of Utah. J.D. Degree; Law, Arizona State University. 2 years, Intelligence Analyst, U.S. Army. 39 years Arizona trial attorney. Over 32 years in genealogical research. Avid Blogger of Genealogy’s Star blog and Rejoice, and be exceeding glad. Eight years as a missionary at the Mesa, Arizona Family History Center. Presently serving at the BYU Family History Library. Presenter at Expos and Conferences around the U.S. and Canada. Previously owner of a retail computer business and an Apple Macintosh software company. Professional photographer. Seven children and 32 grandchildren.


Jean has always had an interest in knowing who her ancestors were and what their lives were like.  She began her quest to identify them when she was a teenager.  In addition, she loves computers from the beginning when they were slower than molasses and still continues her love of technology today.  By mixing these two medias, Technology and Ancestors, she has found hundreds of her ancestors and has a better understanding of where to find this information online.  She currently serves as one of the web masters for the Mesa AZ Family History Center.


Robert Martin Wilbanks IV is a long time genealogist who discovered genealogy at the age of 12 with the advent of the television mini-series Roots in January 1977. Having been interested in history since the 4th grade, with Roots he realized how he personally connects to the “Great American Experience” through his ancestors. He instantly became a fervent genealogist and considers Alex Haley the most influential person in his life.
With much library research experience before entering college, working in libraries was a natural direction for him. He earned a library para-professional degree, as well as a B.A. in History. Since 1982 he has experience working in Community College libraries, city libraries, a law library, business library and currently works in a medical school library. Robert began his genealogy profession in 1988 as editor and publisher of two family newsletters, followed by authoring several books, and then became editor of a genealogy society newsletter, and a quarterly. In the late 1990s he wrote a genealogy for the Desert Shamrock Phoenix Irish bi-monthly publication. 
Robert gave his first genealogy presentation in 1989 speaking continuously ever since. Throughout the 90s he was involved in local genealogy societies and attended many local seminars and National conferences. He helped start the East Valley, Tempe and Scottsdale Chapters of the Family History Society of Arizona, holding the office of President for the latter for two years. He also chartered two local chapters of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, holding the office of Commander for 5 years. He attended the annual one week program at the Institute of Genealogy and History at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama from 1989 to 1991, learning sophisticated genealogical research and analysis; techniques he strongly encourages and practices today.
Now a professional genealogist for over 26 years he founded Ancestral Pride: Professional Genealogy Services in 2009 and continues speaking, researching, writing, and has developed several websites. He teaches an 8 week beginning genealogy course for the City of Phoenix, and an 8 week beginning Irish-American genealogy course for the Irish Cultural Center. Currently, Robert is President of the Arizona Council of Professional Genealogists. Robert’s most noted areas of expertise are United States military history and records, the American Civil War, the Old South and Colonial Virginia.