Updates ongoing


Lisa  A. Alzo, MFA, is a freelance writer, instructor, and internationally recognized lecturer, specializing in Slovak/Eastern European genealogical research, writing your family history, and using the Internet to trace female and immigrant ancestors. She grew up in Duquesne, Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1987 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997.

Lisa is the author of nine books, including the award-winning Three Slovak Women, and hundreds of magazine articles. She is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine, teaches online courses for Family Tree University and The National Institute for Genealogical Studies, and is a former board member of FEEFHS.

An avid genealogist for more than 25 years, Lisa chronicles her family history adventures on her blog, The Accidental Genealogist  

Thomas K. Edlund, PhD, is president of FEEFHS, and is a specialist in East European languages and manuscripts. As a professor of family and local history at Brigham Young University, he teaches curricula in East European genealogy, micro-regional history, and paleography.

He has authored many books on language and genealogy, including The Lutherans of Russia, Die Ahnenstammkartei des Deutschen Volkes, Medieval Latin for Family Historians, An Introduction and Index to the German Minority Census of 1939, and A Compendium of Nahuatl Dialectology. He served as editor of the FEEFHS Journal from 1998 to 2008.


Joe Everett, MLS  is a genealogy librarian at FamilySearch, responsible for patron services in international branches of the Family History Library.  Joe was previously the head of International Reference at the Family History Library and a technical services librarian, cataloging Slavic and Germanic records. He also spent several years as a content manager at

Joe earned a B.A. in Russian Language and Family History/Genealogy (Germanic emphasis) from Brigham Young University and a Master of Library Science from Emporia State University (Kansas). He has been involved in library and genealogical associations and has lectured and published articles on Central & East European research.


Kellie Hale received a Bachelor of Science in Math Education from Brigham Young University in 2007, where she also completed minors in Genealogy and Music.  During that time, she served as an intern with the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), and several weeks researching on site in England and Ireland.

Kellie became “hooked” on genealogy when she found a journal entry written by her 3rd great-grandfather describing his immigration experience.   She has since spent an extensive amount of time in Eastern Europe identifying relevant records in local archives, been a guest speaker at several conferences and private lectures, and was the lead researcher for the Edie Falco episode of Who Do you Think you Are.  

Kellie specializes in Eastern European research, with focus on the following areas:  Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Jewish, Immigration, United Kingdom, United States (post-1800) and 20th Century.

Baerbel Johnson

Baerbel K. Johnson, AG,  is a professional genealogist and works at the Family History Library as International Research Consultant. She holds degrees in Family and Local History Studies and Sociology from BYU, and has more than twenty years of extensive experience in European family history research with emphasis on Germany. She has published a number of journal articles, contributed material for several books, and lectured at various conferences. Her personal interest is in “putting flesh on the genealogical skeleton” by placing each individual within a proper social and historical context.

Baerbel is a member of NGS, the German Professional Genealogists Association, the German Society for Computer Genealogy, and SGGEE.  She is also a member of and commissioner for ICAPGen.

Daniel R. Jones, AG,  is an accredited genealogist specializing in Germanic and Slavic research. Awarded a BA in Family History/Genealogy from Brigham Young University and a MS in Early Modern European History from the University of Utah, Daniel has been working professionally since 2003. He has conducted on-site research in church and state archives in a dozen European countries, including Poland and Belarus. He is currently a research specialist for Germanic and Slavic research for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Fritz Juengling, Ph.D., AG, earned a BA in Secondary Education and a BA in International Studies German Emphasis, graduating with Honors from Western Oregon University. He attended the University of Minnesota where he received his Master’s and Ph.D. in Germanic Philology with minors in both English and Linguistics.

The highly specialized field of Germanic Philology combines languages, linguistics, paleography and history.  In completing the programs Fritz demonstrated competence in English, German, Medieval Latin, Dutch and Norwegian; and took courses in fourteen other languages, Latin and Greek philology, and both Latin and Middle English paleography.

Fritz has taught all levels of German, including Medieval German literature, and Old English (Anglo-Saxon) at the college level; German, English, and Latin at the high school level. He is an accredited genealogist for Germany through The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists. He is a European Research Specialist, specializing in German, Dutch, and Scandinavian research, at the Family History Library.


Jilline Maynes has been involved in family history for over 20 years. Currently, she is a student of Family History at Brigham Young University. Her research emphasis is Germany and U.S. Midwestern states. Currently, she is employed at the Center for Family History and Genealogy at BYU as a manager for the Nauvoo Community Project.

In the spring of 2015, Jilline had the opportunity to work as an intern researching German census records with Dr. Roger P. Minert at BYU. Presently, she is working on Dr. Minert’s German Immigrants in American Church Records project, where the goal is to identify and connect researchers with their German immigrant’s town of origin.


Kahlile Bliss Mehr, MA, MLS,  is a retired librarian and author. He published over fifty articles or book reviews and authored the book, Hearts Turned to the Fathers: A History of the Genealogical Society of Utah 1894-1994. He worked in the Family History Department for 32 years.

For ten years Kahlile investigated genealogical records in East European archives to ensure the most valuable records were acquired for the Family History Library Collection. He has visited all of the countries previously part of the Soviet Bloc.

He is the father of five children and grandfather of nine. He and his wife, Marolyn, lived in Bountiful, Utah.


Sonja Nishimoto, AG, has been employed by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, since May 1989.  She has been a professional Germanic and Slavic researcher since 1982.  She is accredited in German and Swiss research and is especially interested in the eastern provinces of the old German empire.  Areas of research include Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Austria and The Netherlands.  Of special personal interest to her is the region of Silesia where her mother’s family is from and Saxony, where her father’s family is from. 

Sonja was born in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, and immigrated as a child to the United States growing up in Minnesota and California. She attended College of the Desert in Palm Desert, California and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah with a German major.  She serves on the board of directors for the Polish Genealogical Society of America, is a member of the Polish Genealogical Society of Texas, and is the author of several genealogical publications and books. 

Sonja is married to Spencer Nishimoto and they have two children and four grandchildren. Sonja enjoys being a grandmother, traveling and doing genealogical research abroad.


David Ouimette, CG, CGL,  manages Content Strategy at FamilySearch, prioritizing the acquisition and online publication of records worldwide for family history research. His team prioritizes camera placement and targets records in national, regional, and local archives around the global. He has conducted research in hundreds of archives across dozens of countries in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. He also guides record selection for collaborative projects with, Findmypast, and MyHeritage.

Previously, David was product manager at, responsible for family trees, United States records, and the search experience. David regularly lectures at national genealogical conferences and institutes. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mathematics from Brigham Young University, has contributed articles to many magazines and journals, and authored Finding Your Irish Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide.

David and his wife, Deanna, reside in Highland, Utah, and have eight children.


Dave Obee holds an honorary doctor of laws degree awarded by the University of Victoria, British Columbia, in recognition of his work as a journalist, historian and genealogist. He is editor-in-chief of the Times Colonist newspaper in Victoria.Dave is author of Destination Canada, the ultimate guide to Canadian immigration records, and Counting Canada, the most comprehensive guide to Canadian census records. He is a co-author of Finding Your Canadian Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide, published by Ancestry in 2007. He also wrote The Library Book: A History of Service to British Columbia, and Making the News, a comprehensive history of Vancouver Island drawn from old newspapers, as well as seven other books on Canadian genealogical sources.

Dave has given more than 600 talks at genealogy conferences and seminars since 1997. He runs CanGenealogy, a Canadian link site, and, for those with German ancestry in the northwest corner of Ukraine. He has visited 19 countries in Europe during 19 visits there, as well as Australia, Japan and Peru.

Dave served as president of the Federation of East European Family History Societies (FEEFHS) from 2004 through 2007.

Milan Pohontsch, MLS, AG, is a native German and Wend at the same time.  He does genealogical research in both languages and has more than 10,000 hours of research experience in original records and microfilms.

Milan is accredited in German research, and a constant guest presenter and keynote speaker at various genealogical conferences.

He was the co-author of a lineage book and is author of a monthly genealogical newsletter. Milan is also owner of European Roots Genealogy.


Joanne M. Sher is a professional genealogist & historical researcher specializing in Northeastern Minnesota, Northwestern Wisconsin, American-Jewish research and World War I era records.

She has presented numerous times at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, FEEFHS, and Minnesota Genealogical Society conferences. Her articles have been published in the FEEFHS Journal, the Minnesota Genealogical Journal, and various genealogical society publications.  She serves on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest as well as the Foundation for East European Family History Studies (FEEFHS).


Heidi G. Sugden, AG, a native of Vienna Austria, graduated from the University of Utah with a M.A. in German Language and Literature.  She has been employed at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City for over 20 years as research consultant.

Heidi is accredited for both French and Austrian Research and is also competent in German Research.


Careen Barrett-Valentine, AG, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Family History from Brigham Young University, and has been conducting professional research since 2007.  She is accredited in the Germany region by the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen). She was a co-compiler, editor, and/or project coordinator for volumes 2-8 of German Immigrants in American Church Records, a valuable resource for loading Protestant immigrant ancestors in Germany.

While most comfortable researching in 15th to 20th century German language documents, Careen’s interests are varied and her approach to research pioneering and adventurous.  “Impossible” immigration problems are a particular favorite.

In her free time, Careen enjoys spending time with her 6-year-old son, and translating/indexing documents in Hebrew, Russian, and Old Church Slavonic.  Her research specialties include German, Swiss, Polish, and Jewish.


Paul Woodbury attended Brigham Young University where he studied Genetics and Family History. The highlight of his studies was a two month genealogy study abroad in France, Spain, Italy and the Vatican.

Paul has worked on numerous client projects around the world.  He currently works as an outreach manager and DNA specialist at Legacy Tree Genealogists; and as an online course developer for Salt Lake Community College.

In additional to genetic genealogy, Paul specializes in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Scandinavian research, and regularly presents on topics related to these fields.

Beyond genealogy, Paul enjoys singing, dancing, hiking, skiing and balloon twisting. In October of 2015, he married Robin Ellis. They reside in Orem, Utah.


Program Overview

Schedule at a Glance

Pre-Conference Workshops

Optional Consultations