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.

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, Time.com 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)


Richard McBride

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richardmcbrideDr. Richard D. McBride is the Director of the Los Angeles Regional Family History Center. He has been involved in family history research for about 40 years. He is a retired USC Professor of Management Science and Logistics. He has a PhD in Mathematics from UCLA.


Family Tree Sources and Documents/Photos

Census Research


Barbara Randall

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brandallBarbara Randall is active in the Southern California Genealogical Society and is Chair of Jamboree 2015. She conducts workshops primarily in the southern California region on a variety of topics. Barbara is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, National Genealogical Society, Genealogical Speakers Guild, New England Historical Genealogical Society, New York Genealogical & Biographical Society and British Isles Family History Society-USA. Barbara is a DAR registrar and volunteer genealogist/consultant. She is a special education teacher/coordinator.


Are Your Ancestors Playing Hide & Seek?

Land, Lots of Land! Land Records


Richard Procello

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Richard’s presentation is titled, How To Write Your Family History In 9 Easy Steps. He has been activity involved in genealogy since 1995 when he began to write his maternal family history. He was inspired by all the stories his mother shared with him and his sisters during dinner. She was also intensely involved with many of her 61 first cousins who later became his source for information.

He has written the following books:

  1. Grandmother Dora Knoll May’s Family, 1835-2000. The book traces his Black Native American heritage. Because of his research he and 28 members of his family are now citizens of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation
  2. Discovering Our Past, The May Family History, 1705-2004. The book traces Richard’s slave heritage. With the assistance of a descendant of the slave owner’s family he was able to prove through DNA that the slave owner was his Great great-grandfather.
  3. Aunt Ruth’s Story, The May Family History, 2005. Richard’s aunt had a successful business located on Central Avenue.
  4. How To Write Your family History In 9 Easy Steps, 2007
  5. Running For Success, An Anthology Of Fremont High School Track History, 1950s-1980s, 2011. Fremont High School located in south central Los Angeles won 10 Los Angeles City Track and Field Championships during that period and produced four Olympians.

The first two books are located in Los Angeles Central Library, Los Angeles County Library, AC Bilbrew, Black Resource Center and libraries located in Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama.

Richard has a versatile and eclectic background. He was born and raised in Los Angeles. Richard attended Fremont high school. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Science degree from California Stare University at Los Angeles. After receiving his master’s degree he began his professional career as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Watts. After transferring to the Employment Development Department (EDD) he became a manager and worked in that capacity for 34 years. He is also a professional scenic and wedding photographer with plans to publish a book of his photography this fall. He has participated in numerous photography exhibits. Richard is a California licensed Marriage Family Therapist and worked briefly as a clinician/ manager after retiring from EDD. He is a member of the California African-American Genealogical Society.


How to Write Your Family History in 9 Easy Steps

Charles G. Meigs Jr.

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meigsBorn in Arkansas during World War II and growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Charles began researching his personal genealogy in December, 1990. Not having the extensive family oral history possessed by Alex Haley, Charles, nevertheless, became motivated to begin tracing his roots after reading a book written by a woman who had traced her roots back into the 1700s in North Carolina. Dorothy Spruill Redford was motivated by Alex Haley’s “Roots” and ultimately organized a one-day Reunion of the descendants of slaves of The Somerset Plantation and 3,000 people came. Her book, “The Somerset Homecoming” provided the motivation for Charles to believe that he could trace his ancestors back into the slavery era. The following December, he began his quest to walk on the land where each of his slave ancestors lived at the outbreak of the Civil War.

His efforts have led him to discover African American ancestors in the Cherokee Tribe, and African American slave ancestors in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. As a result of his personal research and the knowledge he’s gained in the process, he has conducted monthly workshops on Cherokee genealogy and African American genealogy at the Family History Library in Los Angeles for more than fifteen years. In addition, he has been a featured speaker on various aspects of African American and Native American genealogical and historical research at several genealogical and historical societies in Southern California including the U.S. National Archives at Laguna-Niguel.

He has a degree in Engineering from UCLA, and when not researching his family tree, he is an independent management consultant.

He has a daughter, three grandsons and has been married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara, for over forty-five years.


How I Traced Two Lines Into Slavery

Africans and the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks and Seminoles)


Gerard McKay

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gerard-mckayMy interest in family history began during my childhood in St. Louis County, Missouri. My father, Julius S. McKay, was a great teller of family stories and each one of my six older siblings and myself were well-versed in McKay family history. As I grew older, I combined my desire to document my family history, and my love and study of U.S. history, into formal research at the National Archives in Washington D. C. in 1989 and with subsequent trips to the Family History Center in West Los Angeles. Other than a few census records, I had limited initial success in finding documents to confirm the family stories. Following my retirement, with more time for research & travel and with the explosion of web and computing resources, I have now confirmed or solved many (not all) of the family stories and mysteries on my paternal side–while identifying and documenting eight generations of ancestors and communicating with, and visiting, several distant cousins. The research story about my great-grandparents, William & Amelia McKay, was published in the January 2011 quarterly edition of St. Charles County Heritage, the Bulletin of the St. Charles County Historical Society.


Probate Records: Finding Slave Ancestors Before 1865

Probate Records: Finding Slave Ancestors Before 1865 (Repeat of Session 1)