Welcome to Your Family History Project.com!
I am a family historian, a genealogist, a lecturer, and an attorney. I have a law degree from the University of Virginia, and I worked in government relations for 25 years. But since 2016, I have been pursuing my true calling — helping people to discover their family history.
I specialize in discovering the stories that are hidden in the records, and finding a family’s tragedies and its “black sheep”. I can find the unknown divorces, the underage marriages, the bankruptcies, the early deaths of children and spouses, and other events that shaped the lives of your ancestors — which ultimately shaped the person who you are today. I will also put your ancestors’ lives into historical context. They didn’t live in a vacuum, their lives were impacted by the events occurring around them.
I am also an expert in DNA analysis, and I enjoy teaching others how to use DNA in genealogy. I have used DNA to solve many genealogical mysteries and break down many genealogical brick walls. I have found, using DNA, the descendants of particular enslaved people, as well as the ancestral villages of ancestors who fled Ireland during the Great Famine. I have also used DNA to prove the lineage of a collateral relative of George Washington, and to prove and disprove many other lineages proposed by clients. In addition, I have found the birth parents of adoptees as well as the birth parents of individuals in prior generations by analyzing DNA matches coupled with traditional genealogical research.
I have recently undertaken a project to discover and locate the descendants of the enslaved people from three particular plantations located in North Carolina and Virginia.
I’ve got over 25 years of experience in genealogical research and I adhere to the Genealogy Standards set by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). I lecture regularly on DNA and other genealogy topics. I was the sole speaker for the 2020 Fall Fair of the Fairfax Genealogical Society (FxGS) in Fairfax, Virginia, From Spit to Success: Using DNA for Genealogy. I am the leader of the Genetic Genealogy (DNA) Special Interest Group (SIG) of FxGS, where I lecture almost monthly. I also serve on the Board of FxGS as the Director of External Relations, and I served as the Newsletter Editor for four years. I am a member of the National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Virginia Genealogical Society (VGS), the New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS), and the New York Genealogical & Biographical (NYG&B) Society.
I am a graduate of the following Genealogical Institutes:
- Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) 2020: Advanced DNA Evidence, taught by Blaine Bettinger, et. al.
- Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy (SLIG) 2021: Meeting Standards Using DNA Evidence, taught by Karen Stanbary, et. al.
- Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) 2021: The Spirit of the Inland Seas: Research in the Great Lakes Region, taught by Cari Taplin, et. al.
- Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) 2021: Essential Tools and Strategies for African American Research, (upcoming) taught by Deborah Abbott, et. al.
I work with records of all kinds, both on-line from across the globe, and in national and state archives and libraries, in courthouses, and in local libraries and historical centers. I live in Northern Virginia, within easy driving distance from the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the DAR Library and other research facilities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. I also visit the Maryland Archives and research institutions in Baltimore and Richmond on a regular basis.
I am a lecturer and an acclaimed writer, and I can lecture to your group, or research your family history and/or conduct DNA analysis and present it in a report, a beautiful coffee-table-style book, a narrated slide show, a live and/or recorded presentation, or another project of your choosing. Any of these will bring your family history to life in a way that will be treasured by you and your family for generations to come!
View samples of my work, and contact me to discuss Your Family History Project!