About the Presenters

Our presenters for the seminar are all volunteers and graciously give of their time and talents to prepare and teach on topics of interest to you.  Below are a few details about our 2018 presenters.


ARNOLD, Jill -- Jill is one of the Archivists frequently helping researchers in the Reading Room, she is a Digital Engagement Archivist with the Archives of Michigan.  She works to engage a variety of audiences with Seeking Michigan,  (http://seekingmichigan.org) the online platform of the Archives of Michigan.  Jill earned a Master of Science in Information with a specialization of Library & Information Science as well as Archives & Records Management from the University of Michigan.


DULONG, John P. -- John has been an active genealogist since 1976.  He has developed expertise in several areas of Acadian, French Canadian, Métis, and French genealogical research.  He is the author of French Canadians in Michigan published by Michigan State University Press.  He has worked on the successful projects to document the French royal and noble ancestors of Catherine Baillon and the Le Neuf brothers in New France.  Currently, in partnership with his wife, Patricia A. (McGuinness) DuLong, he is documenting her Anglo-Irish and Scottish ancestry back to James II, King of Scots.  He has a doctorate in Sociology from Wayne State University.  Dr. DuLong is blissfully retired and looking forward to international traveling.  Lastly, he is a former president of the French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan.


EARL, Dan -- I got my start in family history at age 10 when my father took me to the grave of my great-grandfather; that sparked a lifetime of interest in family history. I have spent the last 25 years researching my own family history and helping others make history a part of their story.


GROSTICK, Cynthia -- Cynthia was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan.  She first started working on her family’s history in 1995 after reviewing a publication created by a distant cousin.  In order to improve her research skills, Cynthia joined several local societies.  

Her mother’s family settled in a small village in Michigan back in 1839, coming by covered wagon from New Jersey and New York.  Cynthia can trace several lines of her mother’s family in the United States to the 1600s in both New York and New England.  Her father’s family came to Michigan in 1849, arriving by boat from Germany and settled in Genoa Township, Livingston County.  Her father’s mother’s side arrived in the United States from Sweden in the 1870’s, and is able to trace her Swedish ancestry back to the 1600’s in Sweden.

Cynthia currently serves as president of the Livingston County Genealogical Society.  She also serves as their webmaster and newsletter editor.  Cynthia was presented with the Award of Merit from the Federation of Genealogical Societies for her role in helping to preserve the state libraries family history collection.  Cynthia is a past president of the Michigan Genealogical Council as well as founder and past president of the Stockbridge Area Genealogical/Historical Society.  


HINKLE, Don -- Don is the Director of the Midland Michigan Family History Center . In addition to his normal Family History Center responsibilities, Don is also the Center's Wiki Trainer.

Don is a member of the Mid-Michigan Genealogical Society and of the Midland Michigan Genealogical Society.

Don and his wife Ruth, moved to Midland in October 2017 to be nearer to their three children and 10 grandchildren.


HODGES,Shirley -- Shirley has been actively doing genealogical research since 1967. She has taught genealogy classes and seminars – both for the novice and advanced genealogist – in the U. S. and Canada since 1994. She has also been a guest lecturer for several college-level programs. Visual aids, handouts and examples accompany her lectures. Although she specializes in tracing your female ancestors she covers a wide variety of topics for both the novice and advanced genealogist. Her interest in sharing her love of genealogical research and her sense of humor has delighted audiences. Shirley served as President of the Genealogical Speakers Guild from 2006-2010.

JUNION-METZ, Gail -- Gail is a retired university librarian who has spent over 15 years teaching teachers and librarians all around the country about the Web/Internet. Currently  she is serving as a Family Search missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In addition, Gail works on her own family tree and loves to teach others about Internet-based genealogy. Her goal is to make online family history research fascinating, easy, and most of all fun!


KOSELKA, Tom  -- Tom has been researching his family history for over twenty-five years. Tom is President of the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research and Past-President of the Michigan Genealogical Council and the Dearborn Genealogical Society and serves as a board member, mentor, and advisor to several genealogical societies. He is retired from Dearborn Music and lives in Westland with his wife, Valerie.


LEYNDYKE, Brenda -- Brenda is the President of the Calhoun County Genealogical Society and a board member of the Michigan Genealogical Council. For the past eight years Brenda has written the award-winning genealogy blog, Journey to the Past, a two-time winner of Family Tree Magazine’s 40 Best Genealogy Blogs. She started researching her family ancestry ten years ago and has traveled to ancestral homes throughout the Midwest and on the East Coast.  Brenda’s roots go deep in Michigan, with many ancestors settling here before statehood.


LINTON, Jim -- James S. Linton was called as a Family History Consultant for the Lansing Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 5 years ago. He served as a staff member of the Family History Center for 3 years.  He has become familiar with and relies on Family Search.org to do his own family history work.  Mr. Linton has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1989.


MASON, Jeff – Jeff has worked as a CPA in the Lansing area for the past 27 years, currently working as a Tax Manager for Kutas & Associates, P.C.  He has been an active genealogist for the last 42 years, doing extensive research in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  He has also performed extensive research of records in England & Wales, as his English research has taken him to the former Family History Centre in London, the Society of Genealogists in London, the Worcestershire County Records office, and visits to ancestral hometowns in rural England.  Jeff is a contributor to the Find-A-Grave project, as well as the administrator and co-founder of the Nason Family DNA project through FamilyTreeDNA.com.


MCINTOSH, Melinda -- My interest in family history may have been sparked by my grandmother’s retelling of stories her grandmother told to her about the Civil War and our family’s Revolutionary War heroes. Or perhaps by my other grandmother’s entertaining stories of life on a Wisconsin farm. Whatever started my interest I have been lucky enough to preserve letters and records from all sides of my family, and to be able to serve in the Lansing Family History Center. Mary Griffes taught me a great deal about accessing, preserving, understanding, and organizing genealogical records. And I have been fortunate to attend RootsTech in Salt Lake City and FGS in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and to complete a lot of online training.


McKNIGHT Harrison -- Harrison is a professor at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business, where he teaches information systems courses. He also researches trust in new technologies (e.g., self-driving cars) and trust within the sharing economy. He received a Ph.D. in management information systems from the University of Minnesota. Before pursuing a doctorate, he earned bachelors and MBA degrees from Brigham Young University and worked for ten years at American Airlines’ SABRE Computer Systems division. Harrison and his wife Jan have four children and six grandchildren.


NORTHRUP, Laressa -- Laressa began researching her family in 1978.  She has an advanced certificate in American studies and also one in Canadian studies from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.  Her expertise is mostly in New England, the Middle Colonies and the Midwest. She has also served as the President of the Mid-Michigan Genealogical Society and the Program chair for the Midland Genealogical Society. She also belongs to the DAR, Daughters of the War of 1812 and the DOU. 


NORTON, Cindy -- She began her interest in Family History in 1977 while living in Fort Benning, Georgia. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Family History from Brigham Young University. While a BYU student she was an intern at the National Archives and the D.C. Archives both in Washington, D.C.  Besides extensive research experience in Virginia, Indiana and Kansas she also has research interests in Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Pennsylvania and Arizona. She is currently a volunteer at the National Archives and enjoys scanning records for other researchers. Cindy and her husband live in Berryville, Virginia.


QUARNBERG, Cassie -- Cassie (Merrill) Quarnberg grew up on a farm in Idaho. Her Grandfather, J. C. Sandberg, served in the Idaho State senate several terms. It was important to him that, as his grandchildren, we learned the law making process and how time and history morph our lives into a necessity of change. I appreciate his forward thinking now, more than I did forty something years ago .
Though the dynamics of each household varied, my grandparents’ lives were quite similar because of economics and world events. I enjoy finding a story or event that somehow connects the farmer and the senator.


QUARNBERG, Dave -- Dave is the Director of the Lansing Family History Center. Dave has been in the computer industry for 31 years. He has been a technology specialist for the Lansing Family History Center for many years. His grandmothers researched genealogy through old libraries and records; tracing the family line back to an elusive Swede. Dave loves what the always new and improving technology brings to family history research.


RUDDOCK, Bill – Bill is a native of Washington County New York State with deep colonial roots in the Hudson Valley. He has authored many books and articles that relate to New York colonial families.    He is a contributing editor to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record and for five years, was the editor of the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazin


RZEPCZYNSKI, Kris -- Currently a Senior Archivist at the Archives of Michigan, Kris previously worked for a number of years at the Library of Michigan as the Michigan/Genealogy Coordinator. He holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts in History from Western Michigan University. Kris has presented at national, state, and local conferences, including the Federation of Genealogical Societies, National Genealogical Society, Ohio Genealogical Society, Public Library Association, Historical Society of Michigan, Michigan Library Association, and for dozens of local genealogical societies and public libraries. A past Vice-President of Membership for the Federation of Genealogical Societies and a Past President of the Mid-Michigan Genealogical Society, his memberships also include the Association of Professional Genealogists, Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan, Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, and Historical Society of Michigan.


SCHAFER, Chris -- Chris has been doing his family history research for 20 plus years.  His research includes German roots that make up half of his family tree.  He is especially fond of the stories of his ancestors.  He has been a Genealogy Merit Badge for the Boy Scouts of American for 10 years, and enjoys helping others find the stories of their ancestors.  Personal research includes Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Germany.


SHAW, Linnea   --  Linnea has had a lifetime interest in history, especially family history.  She has been involved in genealogy for about 12 years.  Since half of the roots of her family tree are planted in Swedish soil that country has been a focus of her research.


SIONAKIDES, Roni -- Roni Sionakides, nee Sherbino/Cherbino/Charbonneau, has been interested in local history since graduating from High School.  She began working on her own family genealogy in 2002 and at the same time the Michigan Quaker families.  Currently she serves on the Ingham County Historical Commission as secretary.  She is currently working on the Michigan Hicksite Quaker families, completely original research not traipsing over older research.  It has been an extremely interesting journey.


WARD, Donald L --- Don began his family history research in about 1968, with considerable help from grand-uncles and -aunts and other family members.  He first used hand- or typewritten family group sheets, kept in his Book of Remembrance, to record and organize all the information.  Later, when computers came into use, he began to use the PAF program at home.  Since 2012, he has used the Family Tree on FamilySearch.org to organize, share, and preserve his family history information.  Don now serves as a Family History Consultant and enjoys helping others learn how to correctly and efficiently use the Family Tree.


WILKES, Gary -- Gary was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and a Masters and post-Masters degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  His has spent more than ½ of his work career in Research & Development positions. He and his wife Ruby Butler Wilkes have two sons and one grandson.

Gary’s mother and her paternal uncle were the genealogists of their generations, but Gary did not begin applying his research skills to genealogy until 1990 when he was asked at a family reunion of his wife’s,  family to use his computer skills to computerize the family records.  From that time, he has spent a major fraction of his non-working hours building many family trees for who his wife would say is everyone he meets.   He recently helped his fifth cousin in Nova Scotia identify her birth father from her DNA results and extensive associated genealogical research

Gary is the lead Genealogist for his father’s side Reunion Committee since 2009.  He has been a member of the Lansing Area African American Genealogy Society since 2012 and is currently its Vice President.   He is also a recent member of the African American Genealogy and Historical Society and has begun working towards becoming a Certified Professional Genealogist


WILLSON, Katherine R. -- Katherine is a genealogy lecturer, educator & researcher in Ann Arbor, MI and is the creator of the “Genealogy on Facebook” list with 12,000+ links to genealogy/history groups & pages on Facebook. She currently serves as the President of the Michigan Genealogical Council, the Vice-President of the Ford Genealogy Club, a Director for the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) as well as the Genealogical Society of Washtenaw County, the Corresponding Secretary of the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, and the Secretary of the Genealogical Speakers Guild.


WINDER, Rick -- Rick is a relative newcomer to the family history scene, having been content to let his mother take care of genealogy research.  However, his love of technology – combined with the genealogy technology tools now available – have given him a love for family history work. He delights in seeing others' excitement when they discover an ancestor, locate a census record or print out their 9-generation fan chart.   Rick's focus is in teaching other newcomers about these tools and adding stories, photos, and sources to his own family tree so his descendants (5 children, 15 grandchildren) will have easy access to this documentation.  


Many thanks to our presenters for their time and effort.