December 28, 2018

Speaker Spotlight: Blaine T. Bettinger and Judy G. Russell

by admin in Uncategorised

Today is our final Speaker Spotlight feature, bringing an insight into the fantastic arena talk programme and some fascinating facts about the speakers behind them.

Blaine T. Bettinger

Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., is a professional genealogist specializing in DNA evidence. In 2007 he started The Genetic Genealogist  one of the earliest blogs on the topic. Blaine is the author of The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, and co-author with Debbie Parker Wayne of the award-winning Genetic Genealogy in Practice. He also co-authored “Genetics for Genealogy” with Judy Russell in 2018’s Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards (ProGen PPS) (Elizabeth Shown Mills, Author and Editor).

Blaine is or has been an instructor for genetic genealogy courses at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR)Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG)Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research.

Embracing a New Era of Genealogy? (Friday 7 June 2019 at 12:30pm in Arena 1)

Is DNA evidence essential for genealogical research or is DNA testing mostly for fun? Together we will critically examine the role of DNA evidence in genealogy, including when it should be considered and whether it is ever essential.

The Future of Genealogy (Saturday 8 June 2019 at 2:30pm in Arena 1)

More than 20 million people around the world have taken genetic genealogy tests, creating unparalleled records for genealogists.  Let’s explore some of the tools and techniques enabled by these enormous databases. For example, how will we be using DNA evidence 10 or 25 years from now? In what exciting ways will we be able to use DNA that we can only dream of today?

1. How far are you travelling to reach the show?

I am traveling from Syracuse in beautiful Upstate New York. That’s about 3,350 miles as the crow flies!

2. What are you most looking forward to at the show?

I am most looking forward to meeting new people and seeing old friends. As much as we all love the dead, the living are what make genealogy so special. And one of the great things about genealogy is that “new people” become “old friends” very, very quickly!

3. What first sparked your interest in genealogy?

It was an assignment in middle school to fill in a family tree. I called my grandmother who helped me fill out many names just from memory (most of which turned out to be very accurate!), and I was hooked. I’ve spent the time since trying to fill out the rest of that tree!

4. If people want to find out more about you, where can they do so?

They can find me in the Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques group on Facebook, or at my blog The Genetic Genealogist (

5. Would you care to share a fun fact about yourself or something that no one else knows until now?

In second grade, a piece of art I created won an “I Love New York” contest and was featured in the state capital and on paper placemats at fast food restaurants throughout the state. Unfortunately, my artist skills never developed any further than the second grade!

Blaine B Photo

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.

She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society and numerous state and regional genealogical societies. She has written for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (from which she received the 2017 Award of Excellence), the National Genealogical Society Magazine, the FGS Forum and BCG’s OnBoard among other publications.

Copyright and Copywrongs: The law for Genealogists (Friday 7 June 2019 at 10:30am in Arena 1)

Materials and records created by others are the bread-and-butter of genealogy. But whether the law allows use of old photographs, reports and articles can be murky at best. Born in the laws of the United Kingdom in the Statute of Anne (1710), enshrined in the United States Constitution (1789), and incorporated into international law in the Berne Convention (1886), copyright law is complicated, and violations can be expensive. Staying out of trouble requires understanding what’s copyrighted and what isn’t, when and how copyrighted materials can be used, and how to handle issues that arise. In Copyright and Copywrongs: The Law for Genealogists, we’ll review the basics of copyright law around the world, dispel some persistent myths about what is and isn’t protected, and offer tips for finding materials we can freely use without copyright concerns.

Mr Blackstone’s Common Law (Saturday 8 June 2019 at 1:30pm in Arena 1)

Common law, also called Anglo-American law, had its origins in the courts of England in the Middle Ages. Deriving its name from its application commonly in all the King’s courts throughout England, it has become the dominant rule of law in countries where roughly one-third of the world’s population lives, including the United Kingdom and the United States. It’s critically important to genealogists because so many of its precepts explain why our ancestors did what they did, where they did it, how they did it and even when they did it. Everything from the age at which people could choose guardians, consent to marry, or make valid wills to who would inherit property if a decedent didn’t leave a valid will is governed by common law. And one man — English jurist William Blackstone — both reported on and shaped the course of the common law in his acclaimed Commentaries on the Laws of England. In Mr. Blackstone’s Common Law, we’ll look at some of these important legal concepts that shaped the records we use today — and at the man whose writings about them shaped the law itself.

1. How far are you travelling to reach the show?

Since I’ll be speaking the week before in California, it’ll be about 5330 miles by air! (Only 3370 miles on the way home since I live on the US East Coast.)

2. What are you most looking forward to at the show?

Getting to meet some of my international colleagues and learning more about research repositories I haven’t yet had a chance to use.

3. What first sparked your interest in genealogy?

My mother’s family is deep in storytellers, so I grew up hearing the stories about the family history. Eventually it occurred to me it’d be really nice to discover whether anything at all about the stories could possibly be true. (Hint: some was, and some… well… not so much.)

4. If people want to find out more about you, where can they do so?

My website is at

5. Would you care to share a fun fact about yourself or something that no one else knows until now?

Since I’m headed to England, it almost has to be the fact that I am a total geek when it it comes to the Plantagenet period of English history. My first trip visiting Westminster Abbey, I had come across Margaret Beaufort’s tomb and was excitedly explaining to my sister her significance in the War of the Roses when the bells rang to signal a moment of silence. At the end of the moment, my sister and I started to move off and a hand tugged on my jacket. I looked down to find a lovely little British woman who smiled: “Please, miss,” she said. “Would you finish the story?”

One Comment

  1. 29th April 2019 at 1:47 am

    Congrats to The Genealogy Show. You couldn’t have got two better speakers than Blaine and Judy. Everyone who attends will thoroughly enjoy and learn from them.

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