2016 Presenters

Featured Presenters

Enjoy presentations by our speakers on a variety of topics.

Brian Donovan is the Global Head of Irish Collections at Findmypast.  He previously lectured in history at Trinity College Dublin in the 1990s and since then has lectured throughout Ireland and the US on history, genealogy and digitisation.   Brian’s experience in digital technology, as well as his background in history, helped motivate the founding of the well-known Irish genealogy company Eneclann in 1998.  He played a key role in establishing the Irish collection at findmypast.com.  Brian oversees all aspects of the development of the Irish record collection at findmypast.com.


F41   The Digital Revolution in Irish Genealogy

S31   The Irish Soldiers & Rebels: Tracing WWI and Irish Revolutionary Ancestors

Dr. Bruce Durie is considered one of Scotland’s top genealogists and is perhaps best known for his BBC radio series, “Digging Up Your Roots” (eighth season in 2014), and “A House With a Past.”  He has authored 30 books, including the best-selling, Scottish Genealogy, now in its 3rd edition.  Bruce founded the much-acclaimed Postgraduate Program in Genealogical Studies at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.   Now a Fellow at Strathclyde, he is developing a full-time one-year Masters and a Doctoral programme.   He also teaches courses on Genealogy, Documents and Heraldry at the University of Edinburgh.   He was recently elected to the prestigious Académie Internationale de Généalogie (the only member from Scotland).   As the Fulbright Senior Scottish Studies Scholar 2015, Bruce will be researching and teaching on Scottish Migration at St Andrews University, Lurinburg, North Carolina.  For more information, visit Dr. Bruce Durie's website.


F31   Role of the Modern Shennachie--Who looks after the story of the Clan or Family?

S21   You Cannot Do Scottish Genealogy from Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org

John Grenham writes the ‘Irish Roots’ column in the Irish Times and runs its ‘Irish Ancestors’ website.   He is a fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society and The Genealogical Society of Ireland and was a founding member of Accredited Genealogists Ireland (formerly The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland) in 1986.  John is acclaimed as author of the standard guide to Irish genealogy, Tracing your Irish Ancestors (4th edition, 2012) as well as Clans and Families (1995), Generations (1996), ‘The Genealogical Office and its Records’ in the Genealogical Office (1999), Grenham’s Irish Recordfinder (CD-ROM) (1995-2006), and numerous articles and columns in the UK magazine Your Family Tree.  In 2014 and 2015 he delivered a ten-week diploma in family history course at City Colleges in Dublin.   For more information, visit John Grenham's website.


F21   Why are Irish Surnames Uniquely Slippery?

Saturday Keynote -  Free at Last: why Irish Records are so Peculiar and so Cheap

Brian Mitchell is widely recognized for his genealogical expertise in North-West Ireland.  He supervised the construction of a database containing one million records (dating from 1642 to 1922) extracted from civil and church registers in County Derry.  This database can now be accessed (for a fee), in partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council and The Irish Family History Foundation, at www.derry.rootsireland.ie.  Brian is a Member of Accredited Genealogists Ireland (MAGI, formerly the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland) and the author of a number of classic Irish genealogy reference books such as A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland, A Guide to Irish Parish Registers, Irish Passenger Lists 1847-1871, and Genealogy at a glance: Irish Genealogy Research.


Friday Keynote -  Placenames and Their Importance in Tracing Family History

S11   Plantation Families of Northwest Ulster: Record Sources

William Roulston is Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation and holds a PhD in Archaeology from Queen’s University Belfast.  He is a Member of Council of both the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland and the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society, and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.    He has researched and written on a number of aspects of 17th- and 18th-century Ulster and is the author of several books including Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors (2005), Restoration Strabane, 1660-1714 (2007), Three Centuries of Life in a Tyrone Parish: a History of Donagheady from 1600 to 1900 (2010), Abercorn: the Hamiltons of Barons Court (2014), and Foyle Valley Covenanters (2015).


F11   Landed Estates in Ireland and the Sources for Their Study

S41   Genealogical Resources at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)


Michael Brophy is a professional genealogical researcher, heir search specialist, and lecturer from the Boston area. He has served as Board Member on the Massachusetts Genealogical Council. Mike was featured on the Irish TV series Dead Money, a genealogy TV show about heir searchers, and has also conducted research for Who Do You Think You Are?.


F43   Irish Descendancy Research in the USA

S42   Irish-American Catholic Genealogy

Richard M. Doherty of Troy, Michigan, is a professional genealogist, lecturer, and author with more than 40 years of experience. Dick is director of Celtic Quest LLC and has made 35 research trips to Ireland. He lectures in the U.S., Canada, and Ireland and is a past-president of the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research and the Irish Genealogical Society of Michigan.

UPDATE: Regretfully, Richard Doherty has had to cancel. He will be replaced by Boston based professional genealogist Mary Ellen Grogan (see bio below).

Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CGSM is a full-time faculty member at Walden University, mentoring doctoral students in Education, Adult Learning, and Higher Education. Among other publications, Alice edited Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, published between 1989 and 2004. She has several decades of family history research experience and teaching, most recently on using DNA in solving genealogical problems and understanding the multigenerational patterns in families.


S22:   DNA Side of Genealogy

Kieran Folliard is a native of Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, whose life’s journey has brought him to Minnesota as an entrepreneur and innovator. He enjoys the community aspect, the artistic aspect and all of the characters that contribute to the exchange of ideas and processes in all he starts.


Friday - banquet:   The Changing Face of an Irish Immigrant.

Nora Galvin, CGSM is a descendant of nine immigrants from Ireland who settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. A professional genealogist, she specializes in Connecticut and Irish research and genetic genealogy. She has completed two courses at IGHR (Samford University): Writing and Publishing for Genealogists and Irish Genealogical Research.


F13   Connecting to Your Extended Family Using DNA

S33   How to Use Your Autosomal DNA Results from FTDNA, 23&Me, or AncestryDNA

Mary Ellen Grogan is a professional genealogist based in Boston, MA. She specializes in Irish genealogical and historical records. She has spoken at national conferences and led research trips to Ireland.


F23   Griffith’s Valuation: Gateway to Irish Research

S23   Birth, Marriage and Death Records in Ireland: What, Where, How

Erin Hart is an award-winning crime writer (author of Haunted Ground, The Book of Killowen) strayed serendipitously and successfully into crime fiction. She is a member of the Authors' Guild, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.


Saturday - luncheon:   The Past is Always underfoot.

Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D. is a professional genealogist focusing on American and English research. Lois has three degrees in history, and has studied at major genealogical institutes. She writes for Minnesota Genealogist and The Septs, teaches about genealogical records and methods, and volunteers for a number of genealogical and lineage societies.


S12   Researching Cornish Ancestry

William H. Mulligan, Jr. is Professor of History at Murray State University, where he teaches courses in US and Irish history. He is the author of a number of books and more than a dozen articles and book chapters, and has lectured and spoken at conferences in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, the U.K., Germany, France, and Brazil.


F32   What Ireland Did They Leave: A Brief Overview of Irish History and Why People Left

S13   An Errand for My Father: Researching My Ancestors

Sheila O’Rourke Northrop is a professional genealogist and President of FamilyTracer.net, a progressive Family History research company. She previously served hundreds of clients as co-president of Midwest Ancestor Research for 12 years. She is a member of many genealogical organizations and has volunteered in leadership positions.


F42   Cops and Robbers: An Occupation Trail Spotlight

Tom Rice, CGSM is a professional genealogical researcher, lecturer, and writer. He is a past director of the Minnesota Genealogy Society, past officer and current director of the Irish Genealogical Society International (IGSI), managing editor of the IGSI journal The Septs, and a Minnesota Historical Society genealogy help desk volunteer. He has attended 11 week-long genealogy institutes.


F12   Paths to Learning Irish Genealogy

Paula Stuart-Warren, CGSM works internationally in genealogical and historical research, lecturing, and consulting. Her specialties include unusual records, problem solving, methodology, major repositories, and Native American research. Paula is a Course Coordinator for two institutes (SLIG and GRIP), and a former officer of the Association of Professional Genealogists and board member of the Minnesota Genealogical Society. She currently serves on the Federation of Genealogical Societies Board of Directors. Her Irish ancestry far exceeds the other parts.


F22   Irish Railroad Workers and Records of the Railroads

S32   Making the Most of U.S. Resources to Find Irish Locality Connections