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

Luana Gilstrap

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Luana began working on her family history in college.  She earned her B.A. in English from UCLA and remained there to earn her Masters in Library Science. She has worked as a genealogical librarian in two different libraries.  Over the years she has taught family history courses at colleges, been a presenter at numerous genealogy seminars, and for five years was an instructor  in the training program at the Los Angeles Regional Family History Library.  She moved to the midwest in 2014, and recently she was asked to be the Director of the Fargo ND LDS Family History Center.  Her travels have taken her into courthouses, libraries, and archives across the United States and in England and Ireland.


Avoiding and Overcoming Brick Walls: Part 1

Avoiding and Overcoming Brick Walls: Part 2

Margaret Lewis

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image00Margaret (Marti) Lewis is the President and one of the founding members of the San Diego African American Genealogy Research Group. Marti is a compelling and influential voice in the genealogy community; she has been featured, quoted, profiled and published in several major media publications.

Marti’s love for genealogy is expressed through her own personal published articles: “A Soldier’s Story”, “My Family Link”, “He Touched Me”, and “Ancestral Roll Call”.

During Black History month in 2008, Marti was interviewed twice by Jessica Chang, Emmy award-winning reporter for Channel 4’s San Diego’s News magazine show, “San Diego Insider”.  She was also featured on Channel 4’s Multicultural community affairs interview show “Shades of San Diego”, where she shared 500 years of her personal family research.

On January 21, 2015, Marti was the Keynote speaker at the Naturalization Ceremony in San Diego Golden Hall, 856 new US citizens were sworn in.  In March of the same year Marti was the Keynote speaker at the 13th Annual “Discover Your Roots” conference.

Marti, has also contributed some of her personal family research materials and  photos to Dr. Frank N. Schubert, for his books “Voices of the Buffalo Soldier” and the new supplementary volume “On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier, Volume II”. Both volumes feature her great great grandfather Jacob W. Wilks.

Marti,  volunteers’ in many capacities, she is as a contributor to Find A Grave, she’s also a consultant on African American Research at the San Diego Family History Center, where she teaches a free series of Researching Your Roots Workshops, in addition she the administrator for the African American Genealogy Research  and California Genealogy Research pages on Facebook

Marti is known for her boundless enthusiasm, and has provided genealogical presentations and workshops statewide in California, and also in Arizona and Nevada.

Marti’s recent DNA test results have helped to unravel some of the mysteries of her family’s history and have helped to substantiate several family lines.


Using DNA Testing to Discover Your Roots

This‘n That Genealogy Research Tips

Jackie Ireland, Ph.D.

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irelandA native of Utah, Jackie received her Ph.D. from UCLA in small group communication. She served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Los Angeles City College and was Chair of the Council on Academic Affairs for the Los Angeles Community College District. Following her retirement in 2008, Dr. Ireland served a family history area support mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Laos).

Currently, Dr. Ireland volunteers in the Los Angeles Family History Library and serves as the lead family history consultant in the Santa Monica II Ward where she also teaches a family history class in Sunday School.


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African American Internet Resources