Conference Speakers

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

Elizabeth  Shown Mills

Elizabeth is a historical researcher and writer who has spent her life studying American culture and the relationships between people. A popular lecturer and author, she has represented genealogy in the media on three continents—including ABC, BBC, CNN, PBS, and featured roles in BBC’s 20th Anniversary and 30th Anniversary specials on Alex Haley’s Roots. She has been widely cited as “The person who has had the most impact on family history in the post-Roots era.”

Across her career, Elizabeth spent sixteen years as editor of the peer-reviewed National Genealogical Society Quarterly, blogged for the New York Times, and been interviewed by Time, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other major print media. She served as president of both the American Society of Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and created the groundbreaking Advanced Research Methodology track at Samford University Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research.

As an educator and writer, Elizabeth focuses on research methodology and social history. She is the author, editor, or translator of fourteen books and over 500 journal and magazine articles. Of all her publications, her favorite work is her 2004 reality-based historical novel, Isle of Canes. As a genealogist, she is best known for two essential reference works: Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers & Librarians and Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace.

David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA

David E. Rencher

David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA, is employed by the Family History Department in Salt Lake City as the Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch. A professional genealogist since 1977, he is an Accredited GenealogistCM with ICAPGenSM in Ireland research and a Certified GenealogistSM with the Board for Certification of Genealogists®. He is the Irish course coordinator and instructor for the Samford University Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 with a BA in Family and Local History. He is a past-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 1997-2000, a national genealogical society umbrella organization, a past-president of the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) 1993-1995 and a Fellow of that organization. He is a fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, London and is a vice-president of the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU). He is currently serving as the Chair of the joint Federation of Genealogical Societies and National Genealogical Society committee for Record Preservation and Access and serves as the Secretary for the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and as trustee for the Umpstead, Jr. and Elizabeth Jemima Philpott Rencher and the Winslow Farr, Sr. Family Organizations.

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Judy G. Russell

The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records in family history to understanding DNA testing. A Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side, she is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society and numerous state and regional genealogical societies. She attended the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR) at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and was a Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. prizewinner in Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis at the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University. Now on the faculty of IGHR as well as the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, from which she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist℠ and Certified Genealogical Lecturer℠. She has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the National Genealogical Society Magazine and BCG’s OnBoard newsletter. Her blog – chosen as one of the American Bar Association’s top 100 in 2013 – appears at The Legal Genealogist website (

D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

D. Joshua TaylorD. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS is the President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and a nationally known and recognized genealogical author, lecturer, and researcher. Joshua is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including RootsTech’s Distinguished Presenter Award, the Federation of Genealogical Societies Award of Merit, and the Rubincam Youth Award from the National Genealogical Society. He holds an MLS (Archival Management) and an MA (History) from Simmons College and has been featured genealogist on Who Do You Think You Are? and the hit PBS show, Genealogy Roadshow.