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WSGS Local Speakers' Directory

The Local Speakers' Directory is an ongoing project of the Washington State Genealogical Society. This list is specifically designed to help your society find speakers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia.

If your society is seeking a speaker of national prominence for a seminar or conference, please refer to our National Speakers page which provides links to web pages that list national speakers. These links should provide an excellent speaker on any genealogical topic.

We want to encourage speakers from throughout the state to add their names to our database. For your convenience, you can use this Local Speakers' Sign-Up Form. You may submit this form electronically, email it to info@wasgs.org or print and mail it to WSGS Local Speakers Directory, 1901 S. 12th Ave., Union Gap, WA 98903.

Lastly, we have included some suggestions for making your speaker feel welcome. Hopefully by following these guildelines, you will have a successful program and your speaker will want to return and speak again!

We would like to thank all of those who have chosen to put their names on the list. The greater the participation, the more valuable the tool becomes!
Breland, Claudia
Gig Harbor $125 per lecture
Burchell, Kenneth W.
Coeur D'Alene, ID
$500 + travel
Camarata, Janet O'Conor Renton camarata2@gmail.com
$100 - $125 via Zoom or
in-person (mileage charges apply)
Lowe, Roxanne McCleary roxannelowe260@gmail.com No fee
Majewski, Virginia "Ginny" Sequim seekingcousins06@gmail.com Negotiable depending on request. Travel expenses if more than 25 miles from Sequim.
Morrison, Steven Waltz
$100 - $125; negotiable for small societies
Phillips, Donna Potter
Negotiable; travel expenses appreciated.
Roddy, Mary Kircher Seattle mroddyn3@msn.com $150 per presentation, will present via Zoom or in-person. Mileage charges for in-person.
Sauber, Lori Lee Spokane Valley lsquaredinnovations@gmail.com Negotiable plus travel expenses
Sparr, Laura Pemberton
Strickland, MaryLynn Auburn m.strickland@skcgs.org $75, although negotiable for struggling local societies
Zimmerman, Valorie Kent valorie.zimmerman@gmail.com No fee
More about the speakers and their presentations:
Claudia Breland has been a professional genealogist since 2009. She is the author of six books and been a lecturer for over 12 years. Her presentations include "Decoding Your DNA"; "Beyond Ancestry"; "Beyond the Internet"; and "Using Historical Newspapers." Descriptions of these presentation are on her website. Her virtual presentations are tailored to genealogical societies, historical socities and museums.
Burchell, Kenneth W., Ph.D - paineite@gmail.com; kennethburchell.substack.com
Kenneth is a writer and internationally recognized specialist on Thomas Paine and the history of American democratic reform. Presentations include discussion of the techniques of historical and genealogical research. Thomas Paine presentations are available as general, biographically based presentations, specialized [ex. The Adventure of Thomas Paine's Bones, etc]. Regional presentations center on the 1855 Inland Northwest Indian Wars, Smohalla, Kamiakin, Isaac Stevens, and the 1855 Walla Walla Treaty. A Freemason and freemasonic historian, Ken offers a range of freemasonic subjects. Inquiries welcome. Travel expenses additional and handouts are included.
Camarata, Janet O'Conor - camarata2@gmail.com
Janet is a genealogist with over 30 years experience. She is a seminar presenter, educator, and trainer in genealogy societies, libraries, retirement centers and senior centers across Washington. She has supported genealogy by volunteering in a variety of ways and is past-president of South King County Genealogical Society (SKCGS). She is the winner of the Washington State Genealogical Society Volunteer of the Year award for 2019. Janet is a graduate of the University of Washington Genealogy and Family History program. Her presentations include assorted topics, i.e. research planning, maps, timelines, immigration/and naturalization, land systems, Scot-Irish, and Italian research. 
Lowe, Roxanne - roxannelowe260@gmail.com
Roxanne is the proud great granddaughter of Washington Pioneers Daniel and Mary (Donovan) Murphy who came to Chehalis County (now Grays Harbor) in 1889. She is the president of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society and secretary of the Washington State Genealogical Society. Her presentations include "Writing Your Own Obituary" and "Free Internet Sites." She is developing programs related to the WSGS Pioneer Pursuit Contest and "Tombstone Symbology." She is a fervent supporter of local genealogical societies and will present to them free of charge.
Majewski, Virginia "Ginny" - seekingcousins06@gmail.com
Ginny has a Certificate of Advanced Genealogical Studies in American Records from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in Ontario, Canada. 25+ years of experience doing genealogical research and over 10 years of providing educational presentations. Her area of expertise is in Anabaptist records (Amish, Mennonite, Brethren, etc), religious records and Civil War research. She is the great-great granddaughter of a WA State Pioneer, past President of Clallam Co. Genealogical Society and WA State Genealogical Society. Her virtual and in-person presentations include: "What Is Your Name?" --  how understanding names, naming patterns and social customs can help your research; "Census Records and the Clues They Hold" -- a deep dive into the census; "Civil War Reseach" -- how to find your ancestor and what records are available; "Citing Sources" -- it's not as hard as your think; "Was Grandma Born in the Cabbage Patch?" -- looking for vital records in alternative places; "The Horsemen Never Ride Alone" -- a look at how war, disease and disaster affected our ancestors and where to look for documentation; "Diasporas" -- a romantic sounding name, an unromantic subject; dispersion; "Knew Before You Go" -- preparing for genealogical travel;  "Religious Records" -- a look at different religions in the USA and what records each has; and "Researching Anabaptist Ancestors" -- searching for Amish, Mennonite, Brethren, etc. Ginny's fee is negotiable dependent on the request, plus travel expenses if more than 25 miles from her home. Handouts will be provided to host for copies to be made.
Steven Waltz Morrison is a past president of the Puget Sound chapter of Association of Professional Genealogists, and the Olympia Genealogical Society. He holds a Bachelor of Science with honors from Western Washington University, and a Masters of Public Administration from The Evergreen State College where he taught as an adjunct faculty for seven years. In 2018 Steven coordinated Exploring Quaker Records – At Home and Abroad at SLIG, in 2020 co-coordinated Exploring American Quaker Records at GRIP, and in 2021 coordinated Quaker Records of North America, Ireland and the British Isles for ISBGFH. He’s addressed international audiences on Quaker topics at the Ulster American Heritage Symposium in Omagh, Ireland & Toronto, Canada, and the Yearly Meeting of Friends in Ireland. In 2016, the American Society of Genealogists awarded him their Scholar Award. Steven has presented to all active genealogical societies in Western Washington, in addition to numerous seminars and conferences.
Phillips, Donna Potter - donna243@gmail.com
Having worked with genealogical teaching, researching and writing for over 30 years, Donna is qualified to speak on a long list of topics including a current list of Internet-research topics. Her presentations are appropriate for genealogical societies, historical societies and museums and the general public. She is able to present to large and small groups -- meeting programs and seminars. She is willing to travel in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Her speaker's fee is negotiable and travel expenses are appreciated. Her favorite emphasis is on motivation…… family history is doable and is fun!
Roddy, Mary Kirchermroddyn3@msn.commkrgenealogy.com/
Mary is a Certified Genealogist; editor of National Genealogical Society Quarterly and co-founder of Applied Genealogy Institute. Her lecture and hands-on presentations are listed here. She is willing to present virtually and also to travel for in-person presentations. Her presentations are tailored to genealogical societies, historical societies and museums, general public, seminars, workshops and conferences.
Lori Lee is the current President of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society and business owner of LSquared Innovations. She is also a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and Seattle Genealogical Society. She has been a lecturer and workshop leader at a multitude of professional events and is comfortable speaking with groups of all sizes with equal doses of humor and humility. Lori Lee has earned educational certificates in Genealogy and Family History (UW), DNA and Genetic Genealogy (Nat'l Institute for Genealogical Studies), and is on-track to complete Fundamentals in Forensics in April 2023 (SLIG). Her areas of expertise include Quaker research, Basic A-Z research techniques, creating compelling histories, research project organization, and using the L2Scrollio Research Kit as a research tool. Speaker fees are determined based on the specifics of the event, such as on-site lecture, virtual only, 1/2-day workshop, travel, etc and so are negotiable.
Sparr, Laura Pemberton - laurasparr41@gmail.com
Laura is past President of WSGS and has spoken at many locations. She will speak on any genealogically related topic with advanced notice. Fees are negotiable. Handouts are an extra expense.
Strickland, MaryLynn - m.strickland@skcgs.org
MaryLynn is a 20-year member of the South King County Genealogical Society. Her virtual presentation "Land of My Own--Understanding the Rectangular Survey System" includes a history, an explanation of the Section Township Range information and how to locate a land grant on a map.  Using Randy Majors' map tools and Google Maps, we can locate modern settings of historic grants. A handout is provided.
Zimmerman, Valorie Cowanvalorie.zimmerman@gmail.com; @valoriez
Valorie is the president of the South King County Genealogical Society, as well as Vice President of the Washington State Genealogical Society. Her presentation "Breaking Down Brick Walls with Collaboration" is most appropriate for genealogical societies, historical societies and museums. She has managed many meetings for her home society, and has given this talk to the Black Genealogy Research Group of Seattle as well. Valorie will provide her presentation free of charge to any group.