Gayle Porter

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Gay22-oct-deer-cliff-inn-24-copyle Porter loves history and has been engaged in genealogy and family history for 56 years.  Her experience has come from serving  as family history consultant for over 30 years; as a family history training coordinator for 15 years, serving in a family history center for 26 years, and now serving as a missionary in the Los Angeles FamilySearch Library.  Her experience also includes teaching many, many classes and many research trips in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Betty Isbell

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Betemp-ph-1tty Nichols Isbell, was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her interest in family history began at an early age while listening to her father’s stories of his early childhood in the deep south. She has been actively involved in genealogical research for over forty years, has been a consultant at several Family History Centers, including being a center director twice. She is currently the Director of the Canoga Park Family History Center; and, also, serves as librarian at the Southern California Genealogical Society Library one day a week. She has taught genealogy classes to the public for over thirty years. Her specialty is descendant research, and has worked for a forensic research company locating missing and unknown heirs, as well as operating her own genealogical research business. Betty worked for UCLA School of Public Health and Cancer Center identifying and locating persons involved in medical studies. She has served as a board member of CSGA, LAWGS, Association of Professional Genealogist, and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Southern California Genealogical Society.  In addition, Betty belongs to many national, state, and county genealogical societies. She has attended over 10 national genealogical conferences, as well as making many family research trips to Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. She even dreams of genealogy.


Getting a Successful Start to Family History

Dr. Edna Briggs

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Dr Edna Briggs - LinkedinDr. Edna Briggs is a native of England (Jefferson County) Arkansas, and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.   She’s called “Faye” by family folks, and “Edna” by others.  At birth, her late-Aunt Edna Moorehead Williams insisted that she be given this name, as her namesake.

Edna attended local public schools in Gethsemane and Wabbaseka, AR, and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Institutional Dietetics from the University of Arkansas/AM&N located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.   Following undergrad life, she completed an internship in Hospital Dietetics at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Los Angeles, California.  She earned a Masters of Arts degree in Nutrition from California State University in Los Angeles, and later received Masters and Doctor in Public Administration degrees (with specialization in Health Services Administration and Gerontology) from  the University of Southern California (U.S.C.).

She is retired from the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services after 40 years of service.  As a semi-retiree, she works part-time for a national health care accrediting company.  Work related travel allows her to spend time photographing and researching family members in museums, state archives, libraries and cemeteries in many communities across the nation.  While research activities will always reveal information on a myriad of family members, her surname priorities  are Porter, Moorehead, Woolfolk , Strickland, Jones and Walker.

As a self-appointed family historian, Edna has always been an avid collector of obituaries, funeral programs, death notices, old photographs, etc.  She creates memorial videos that are featured at each Jones-Walker Family Reunion, and at her all-school reunions, featuring those who have departed since the previous gathering.  She and her sister, Bessie, have assisted several family members and friends in writing their obituaries.  And currently (October 2015), she is holding two drafts, until they will be needed.

Edna says, “It is very important to me that I maintain control until the very end.  Therefore, I will write my own obituary and funeral program in order to prevent folks from having their say at my funeral, especially those whom I did not like, or those who did not like me.”   


Writing Your Own Obituary: Part 1 (Lecture)

Writing Your Own Obituary: Part 2 (Workshop)

Thom Reed

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Thom Reed Professional Headshot A [2015-07-29] mediumThom Reed is a highly skilled marketing and communications professional with nearly 15 years of experience in consumer products, B2B, healthcare and technology marketing. In his current role as Senior Marketing Manager with FamilySearch International, he oversees global communication for The Freedmen’s Bureau Project. Since May 2015, he has served on the Board of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society(AAHGS) – Utah Chapter.

Thom Reed is an inspiring lecturer and speaker. In June 2015, he orchestrated and introduced the worldwide broadcast celebrating the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth (African American Freedom Day) and the announcement of The Freedmen’s Bureau Project. In addition, featured him in an article titled, “A New VirtualArchive Could Reveal Much More About African-American History”. Mr. Reed is frequently sought out for his knowledge of the project and his passion concerning African American genealogyand family history research by the Afro-African Historical and Genealogical Society as well as FamilySearch Centers and Public Affairs Councils for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all across the United States.

Thom Reed received his Bachelor’s degree in International Business and Japanese from Illinois State University and received his Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing from Brigham Young University. He and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 18 years, are the parents of 5 children, and reside in South Jordan, Utah.


Freedmen’s Bureau Project: Family Search Libraries

Freedmen’s Bureau Project: Family Search Libraries (Repeat of Session 1)