How To Lose Your Job By Using Facebook

If you’ve always wanted to know how to get fired by posting on Facebook, the following 65 examples of those who succeeded offer you a number of choices, one of which is sure to suit your personal style. Would you prefer to criticize your employer, or tell your coworkers what you’ve always thought of them? Does it help if the nasty things you say are objectively verifiable, or does that just make it worse? To make the question even more interesting, sometimes labor law steps in to protect your Facebook posts, but it’s important to know when that will benefit you and when you’re still out of luck. So before you venture into the world of employment-related Facebook posts, these 65 stories will help you understand what you’re getting yourself into.

  1. GA Daily News – The rapid increase of diversity in the Atlanta area caught youth football coach Frank Samuelson unprepared, and Samuelson used Facebook to launch a remarkable series of bigoted posts directed at various ethnic groups. Samuelson says he was an equal-opportunity offender and his posts were never meant to be printed out and placed on parents’ windshields, and everyone agrees with him on both points.
  2. Daily Mail – Opinions on the continuing value of royalty in the modern world vary, but if your employer happens to be the Queen of England, you might not want to call her grandson’s fiancee a “stuck-up cow” on Facebook. But if you must, palace guard Cameron Reilly would advise you to wait until after the wedding. He was booted from the couple’s procession after his remarks came to light prematurely.

    Daily Mail

    The British royal family after the wedding from which Cameron Reilly was banned.
    Courtesy of Magnus D, 29 April 2011

  3. ABA – Tour bus driver Fred Pflantzer was smart enough to include his employer’s unfair labor practices in his Facebook criticism, and the National Labor Relations Board backed him up in those statements. Pflantzer still doesn’t have his back wages, but his victory in court against New York Party Shuttle has earned him a place in the history of employment law.
  4. WXII 12 – If you have a temporary job at commercial network provider Inmar, and your boss tells you overtime is no longer permitted, you’d be better off not calling him a “complete tool” on Facebook. That’s how Leila Goodman was fired, although when asked for an explanation she stated her words were intended only for viewing by her friends.
  5. ESPN – When Philadelphia Eagles employee Dan Leone criticized the team for letting a hot prospect slip away, he produced the following Facebook post: “Dam Eagles R Retarted!!” Leone was fired by telephone several days after the fact, and no one has ever been sure it wasn’t the spelling rather than the sentiment that did him in.
  6. New York Daily News – Have you ever had to fire a dancing pierogi? The Pittsburgh Pirates can tell you how it’s done, because they let former mascot Andrew Kurtz go after Kurtz posted a critical analysis of the team’s coaching strategy on Facebook. Maybe the Pirates should have listened to Kurtz’ warning that they’d make their 19th consecutive losing season in 2011 if they didn’t change their ways, because as it turned out Kurtz’ prediction was accurate.

    New York Daily News

    Great Pierogi Race at PNC Park, in which Andrew Kurtz did not compete.
    Courtesy of Flickr, photographer unknown

  7. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune – High school water polo coach Mitch Stein thought nothing of it when he posted pictures of himself with some friends dressed as women on Facebook, and had even less worries about showing himself eating a corn dog at a county fair, even though Stein is gay. But a nosy parent mailed an anonymous letter to the school, and Stein has now sued the school district for wrongful termination.
  8. – How many parts of your job do you consider objectionable? Sam Falcetano discovered the process of posting work-related complaints on Facebook to be less of a relief than a reminder of all the other parts of life he didn’t like either, and by the time Falcetano was done he had produced harsh commentary on everything from picking up trash to the President. Unfortunately, Falcetano’s startling thoroughness didn’t impress the Maplewood Department of Public Works, and they fired him.
  9. State of Rhode Island Department of Health – Doctors often talk about their stressful caseload to friends, but if you do that in such a way that you identify a patient, don’t post the discussion on Facebook. Dr. Alexandra Thran of Rhode Island got a free lesson in the finer points of health privacy legislation when she lost her job over one memorable description of a patient’s… private information.
  10. CNet – Most people love it when an employer shows genuine concern for one’s happiness, but Kimberley Swann is a little less than enthralled by the attention one of her Facebook posts received from Ivell Marketing. Ms. Swann complained of workplace boredom, and boss Stephen Ivell felt so bad about that he fired her, for her own good.
  11. Tri-City Herald – What happens when your personal life as revealed on Facebook conflicts with your public image as a state trooper? A Washington State Patrol cadet named Matt Blahut found out when his professed love for pitchers of beer, backed up by photos proving his case, came to the attention of his superiors, and Blahut lost his job. Cheers, Matt!

    Tri-City Herald

    This is probably not the pitcher of beer that got Matt Blahut fired.
    Courtesy of Matthew Hurst, November 13, 2010

  12. Fox 16 – Former Shannon Hills Police Officer Scott Chaloner took the opposite approach, posting a “don’t drink and drive” message on his Facebook page, but the results were the same. It seems Chaloner’s warning, addressed to residents of the community of Alexander, was issued a few hours before the planned setup of a sobriety checkpoint in that area.
  13. WNEM – For a professor at Mid Michigan Community College, the route to firing is straightforward: use Facebook to chat with students about why other students in the class will fail, and make sure your targets are identifiable. Then you can defend yourself by claiming you were illegally fired for trying to organize a union. At least that’s the method chosen by Jason Liptow, and we’ll see how his lawsuit fares.
  14. The Bourne Courier – No one is quite sure what was so awful about Bourne firefighter Richard Doherty’s Facebook posts, because none were ever reported verbatim. However, Doherty’s off-again-on-again employer claims Doherty made offensive remarks about handicapped townspeople and the gay community, complained about holiday assignments, and otherwise embarrassed the township while online. The state’s Civil Service Commission sided with Doherty.
  15. New York Post – Who knew grade school teachers were not supposed to wish their students would drown, at least not on Facebook? Although Christine Rubino of Brooklyn had earned a master’s in education, it seems she hadn’t done her homework on that rule, and Rubino found herself expelled from her position teaching fifth grade.
  16. The Rockport Pilot – Kevin Colvin is the stuff of internet legend, because of the memorable Facebook photo of himself in a fairy costume his boss discovered during Kevin’s family emergency time. Possibly even funnier than the photo was a response posted by Kevin’s boss, telling him he was fired, but adding, “Cool wand.”

    The Rockport Pilot

    It was not the brilliant fairy costume that got Kevin Colvin fired.
    Illustration of Alfred Smedberg’s The seven wishes in Among pixies and trolls.
    Courtesy of John Bauer, 2011-02-28

  17. Christian Science Monitor – If your goal is to get fired in a way that prompts the National Labor Relations Board to intervene on your behalf, you can join other employees on Facebook in complaining about your workplace. That’s what happened to Dawnmarie Souza, who was employed at Connecticut ambulance company American Medical Response.
  18. Miami Herald – If you’re a defense attorney who has photography skills and access to your client’s goofy underwear, it’s quite easy to be fired: post the resulting pic of leopard-print briefs on Facebook together with a disparaging remark about the client’s family. That worked for Anya Cintron Stern of Miami, and also won the client a mistrial.
  19. Source Fed – Don’t fear the creeper, unless his name is Kevin Eckstein and he teaches at New York’s Cinema School. Eckstein was fired after posting inappropriate chatter addressed to a fake Facebook profile he thought belonged to a 16-year-old girl, although he continues to claim he was a victim of entrapment on the part of the two students who set up the profile.
  20. Bleacher Report – If you’re a replacement NFL referee who makes a living by making impartial calls and you want to lose your job, you can post photos of yourself wearing clothing from your favorite football team. Brian Stropolo was fired for sporting his New Orleans Saints attire in several tailgating pictures on Facebook. Even worse, Stropolo revealed an upcoming game assignment.
  21. – If you’re tired of working for Eidos Montreal as a video game tester, just respond to a political assassination attempt by posting a string of tasteless jokes on Facebook, including a prediction of limited lifespan for the assassin’s target. Former tester Blake Marsh will now have the extra time he needs to polish that comedy routine.
  22. – “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” is usually good advice, but high school volleyball coach Ty Ellis of Winter Haven found that even honoring the deceased can get you fired. Ellis lost his job after posting a team photo captioned “A Tribute to Trayvon Martin” on the team’s Facebook page, because the school claimed it violated their no-political-statements policy.
  23. Oconee Patch – If you’re employed to watch prisoners in the Oconee County jail, it may come as a surprise that you’re not allowed to flirt with the inmates on Facebook. Dewayne Powers and Andrea Rogers certainly didn’t expect to lose their jobs over their sexually suggestive remarks, which reached the ears of supervisors by way of another prisoner’s boyfriend.
  24. Star-Telegram – If you’re a sheriff’s deputy who wants to move on, you can lose an election, lose your temper, post nasty remarks about other county employees on Facebook, and then lose your job. That’s how it was done by Richard “Bo” Aldridge of Tarrant County, Texas, who learned that he was not allowed to hurl accusations of drunk driving against the sheriff.
  25. Digital Media Law Project – If you work for Sheriff B.J. Roberts of Hampton, Virginia, you don’t even have to post your own statements on Facebook in order to be fired. Six of Roberts’ employees took the opportunity to click the “Like” button for one of Roberts’ political opponents, Roberts responded by firing them, and now the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has officially clicked the “Like” button on the employees’ protected speech claim.

    Digital Media Law Project

    Six employees were not wanted by Sheriff B.J. Roberts of Hampton, Virginia.
    Courtesy of FBI, Library of Congress, 8 November 1937

  26. WZZM 13 – If you work at a hospital, you may not want to make yourself conspicuous by hanging around the emergency room during your off hours, and if you do hang around, professional guidelines dictate not posting pictures of nearby ladies’ bottoms on Facebook. Don’t worry– if you forget, Spectrum Health of Grand Rapids will be happy to refresh your memory by firing you.
  27. Reuters – For those who call in sick to work at insurance company Nationale Suisse, beware the friend request from an unknown party. Such a request led to the firing of an employee who took the day off and made the mistake of checking Facebook while lying in bed. Ironically, she was outed by a coworker who was also checking Facebook from her desk.
  28. The Sun Chronicle – Everyone who’s ever watched anime knows the joy of doodling all over an unconscious person, but if you’re a cheerleader for the New England Patriots and you post photos of your artwork on Facebook, you’ll be out of a job. Caitlin Davis can tell you what a big event that is in the little town of Foxboro, where a local newspaper published a lengthy account including her life history, parent’s names, and address.
  29. Ottawa Sun – A Canadian company named Farm Boy has spawned several enthusiastic Facebook groups of disaffected employees. Devon Bourgeois discovered how happy Farm Boy was to hear that he’d joined the “I Got Farm Boy’d” group when they let him go. Bourgeois claimed he was just joking when he posted descriptions of his own “hypothetical” on-the-job thefts.
  30. MSN – Despite what you’ve heard about the value of crowdsourcing, don’t ask your Facebook friends for help deciding on a verdict. That’s what a juror in the UK did when the gravity of a child abuse case paralyzed her decision-making ability, but a kindly judge was able to resolve her predicament by kicking her out of the trial.
  31. The Telegraph – If you’re still planking and feel the urge to get in a few poses before you leave work, don’t post the resulting photos on Facebook. That goes double if you work in a hospital, because there is nothing that annoys healthcare administrators like the prospect of re-sanitizing all the equipment that was sterile until you draped yourself over it as a joke.
  32. Silicon Investor – How do you counter being fired for inappropriate Facebook posts? If you were fired by the Canada Border Services Agency, you can contend your replacement is also posting objectionable material, meaning your firing was motivated by the lower salary earned by your younger stand-in. That’s the avenue taken by Chris Hughes and Levan Turner, who lost their summer jobs as border guards after calling the Prime Minister a “serial killer.”

    Silicon Investor

    The Royal Canadian Mounties always get their man, especially if he posts on Facebook.
    Courtesy of Robert Thivierge, 4 July 2008

  33. Bismarck Tribune – Anyone who’s ever worked in the service industry sympathizes with the impulse to yell about cheap tippers, but be advised: Famous Dave’s in Bismarck will fire you if your Facebook complaints are directed against an entire group of people instead of the cheapskate in question. That’s what happened to the server who posted an admittedly cute photo of herself begging for spare change after a weekend spent waiting on the United Tribes International Powwow.
  34. News-JournalOnline – The Trayvon Martin case seems to have been a litmus test in terms of Facebook postings, and a number of employees failed it completely. Volusia County fired a beach safety officer for the same type of racially charged remark that caused New Orleans police officer Jason Giroir to lose his job, and at this point we may wish to institute a counter to keep track of all the other ex-employees in the same spot.
  35. – Taking a laudable moral stance is not only no guarantee against being fired, it can even precipitate your firing if you publicize it on Facebook. Former Haralson County bus driver Johnny Cook learned that the hard way when he refused to take down a post in which he promised to buy lunch for any hungry schoolchildren, since it was school cafeteria policy to turn those kids away if their lunch accounts ran out.
  36. Buffalo News – Remember the caution against slagging entire groups of people based on one person’s actions? That also holds true for religious groups, and when you compare a customer’s religious garb to a Halloween costume on Facebook, get ready to stand in the unemployment line. That advice comes from a former assistant manager at Walmart who thought a lady’s burqa was boo-tiful.
  37. Daily Finance – When someone’s out from work with a physical disability, the insurance company tries to catch that person engaged in prohibited activities like mowing the lawn or carrying groceries in from the car. Nathalie Blanchard’s disability was different: out from work with major depression, Blanchard lived on disability payments until her insurer discovered photos of Blanchard living it up at a resort on Facebook. Word is Nathalie’s depression took a turn for the worse.
  38. The Tech Herald – It’s true flight attendants have to put up with a great deal, but Virgin Atlantic Airlines won’t accept that as an excuse for applying obscure epithets to passengers in your Facebook posts. 13 flight crew members were fired for referring to customers as “chavs,” which translates roughly as “hip-hop styled Teddy boys,” although it’s still being debated whether that was worse than telling the world about Virgin Atlantic’s cockroach infestations and chronic engine troubles.
  39. Charlotte Observer – And if flight attendants can’t criticize their passengers (at least we think that was criticism), certainly grade school teachers can’t anathematize their young charges. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools cleaned house after an enterprising local reporter went on the prowl for inappropriate Facebook posts by users identified as CMS employees, and found some truly opprobrious remarks made by teachers about their students. One parent was quoted as saying, “I struggle to understand why anyone would say that about a child,” and if you read the teachers’ remarks you’ll see exactly why.
  40. Atlanta Journal-Constitution – A young teacher who took the opposite approach and posted traditional travel photos of her trip to Europe was waylaid by an anonymous informer who complained to the superintendent about seeing alcohol in a few of the snaps posted on Facebook. Atlanta Journal Constitution blogger and sleuth-in-residence Maureen Downey makes a convincing case for identifying the tipster, who also accused the teacher of posting about visiting a local amusement named “Crazy Bitch Bingo.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Teachers in many parts of the world know better than to post objectionable remarks on Facebook.
    Courtesy of Rex Pe, 18 September 2006

  41. The Patriot Ledger – If you’re a high school administrator in an upscale district and you don’t enjoy upscale districts, don’t tell the world why on Facebook. Dr. June Talvitie-Siple is no longer making an upscale salary at Cohasset High School, but at least she no longer has to put up with all the “arrogant and snobby” people who made that possible.
  42. Inside Higher Ed – It’s surprising how many teachers have come to grief through Facebook, even college professors, although attention to privacy settings would have prevented many Facebook firings. For example, Gloria Gadsden might still be teaching sociology at East Stroudsburg University had she known that Facebook friends of her Facebook friends, some of whom were her students, could see the humorously phrased death threats she was posting.
  43. Daily Intelligencer – Does Facebook provide a means of natural selection, weeding out overly attentive high school teachers who make sexually suggestive remarks to their students online? It succeeded in getting Chadwin Reynolds fired after he posted a number of come-ons to young girls, including the immortal line “I’m not a gynecologist, but I’ll take a look inside.” The word “ugh” comes to mind.
  44. DNAinfo New York – Speaking of creepy high school teachers, substitute teacher and first-string predator Stephen D’Andrilli was unceremoniously tossed from the roster of the Essex Street Academy after making very personal contact with his students on Facebook, even trying to lure one girl away from her boyfriend. The last straw in D’Andrilli’s case was a post indicating he had followed a girl over the weekend.
  45. 92.3 Now – It’s less clear what happened in the case of Laurie Hirsch, who was a 30-year-old paraprofessional when she was fired for posting on Facebook about her relationship with an 18-year-old. She says the boy she’s kissing in that picture was a former student when their affair began, but Hirsch’s employer seems quite clear on the “and he was 18 years old” problem, even if Hirsch herself does not.
  46. United Press International – People all over the United States are still learning what happens when you make denigrating remarks about murder victim Trayvon Martin, but you might expect a federal prosecutor would know better than to post such sentiments on Facebook. But Assistant U.S. Attorney John Craft has defeated expectations, and is currently under investigation.
  47. Fairfax NZ News – If you’re a government employee and you fancy yourself a comedian, don’t include jokes about your own uselessness in your Facebook improv. Tania Dickinson gave her employer the perfect excuse to fire her when she described herself as a “very expensive paperweight” and claimed to be “highly competent in the art of time wastage.” Oh, and the arson charges pending against Dickinson didn’t help.
  48. Lexology – If you work with the mentally ill as an overnight supervisor in a residential care facility, don’t keep yourself awake by chatting about your clients on Facebook. Martin House fired the last person caught in the act, pointing out they prefer it when residential assistants find their patients’ troubles less amusing.
  49. KUSA-TV – Joe Lobato of Denver did what millions of Americans do on a daily basis– complain about work. Unfortunately, Lobato made the mistake of posting his gripe on Facebook, and since he made the further mistake of doing that at work, an annoyed colleague was able to snitch Lobato out of his job.
  50. Cornell Blog – In the early years of Facebook firings, employers weren’t even sure what to call the site. This quaint reference is from a note received by four-hour-a-day Facebooker and Goldman Sachs trader Charlie Barrow from the long-suffering IT department at his old place of work:

    “It has come to our attention that you have been spending a considerable amount of time on a website known as ‘The Facebook.’”

    Goldman may not have known what to call it, but they were very sure they didn’t like it, and consequently they ended up firing Barrow.

  51. The Dartmouth – If you, a college student, are in a position to represent your school, you may wish to hold off on joining a Facebook group set up to post nasty remarks about other students belonging to a charitable organization. That’s how Pennsylvania State University’s Daily Collegian ended up firing Zach Good, and their attention was brought to the problem when yet another Facebook group appeared, called “Fire Zach Good from the Daily Collegian.”
  52. McKnights – It tends to make people edgy when nurses encourage EMTs to let certain patients die, as RN Deborah Ehling discovered when her employer learned she would have preferred it if a shooting suspect had not survived his trip to the hospital. Ehling worked in New Jersey and the shooting took place in Washington, D.C., but due to her previous history of disciplinary infractions Monmouth-Ocean Hospital was willing to overlook the geographic difference and fire her anyway.


    A hospital like the one where Deborah Ehling is no longer working.
    Courtesy of Tagishsimon, 2 May 2004

  53. Daily Mail – Bank employees don’t usually get the sack for being too proficient with numbers, but that’s what happened to British human resources temp Stephanie Bon. She compared her hourly wage on Facebook to the astronomical salary bestowed on the new Lloyds CEO, and her accuracy was anything but appreciated. Bon, in turn, expressed no thanks to the pal who turned her in.
  54. Kay Casto & Chaney PLLC – If you think your Facebook firing has a peg on which to hang a legal decision, you may be in luck. Marianna Cole-Rivera’s demanding co-worker finally went too far by questioning Cole-Rivera’s job performance, and Cole-Rivera struck back by polling other coworkers on Facebook for opinions about the complainer’s remarks. The wrangle ended up in front of the NLRB after Cole-Rivera’s firing, which ruled that her informal Facebook poll constituted protected speech.
  55. Michael E. Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University – As the law concerning Facebook firings continues to evolve, a standard for defining online activity that’s protected is emerging. In general, if employees’ posts criticizing employers fall into the “concerted activity” category, they’ll succeed in protesting any loss of employment. One employee who was fired over posts complaining about late paychecks, Dontray Tull of Bay Sys Technologies, succeeded in obtaining a NLRB judgment against his former employer.
  56. Chicago Tribune – Can a car salesman be fired for criticizing the free food offered by the dealership where he works, and more importantly, why would he want to? Robert Becker thought the cheap hot dogs and bottled water given to customers at a promotional event impaired his ability to sell top end automobiles, and when he was fired the NLRB backed his claim.
  57. Yahoo Singapore – If you think the idea of being fired over a Facebook post is harsh, it can be worse: in Singapore, a labor union administrator was not only fired but also investigated by police for posting a rant against Malay weddings, which are traditionally held on “void decks.” A void deck is the empty ground floor of an apartment building, and it serves as a community center for the building’s residents.

    Yahoo Singapore

    This Malay wedding pair gets police protection in Singapore, even on Facebook.
    Courtesy of hwa800, December 23, 2012

  58. globalpost – If holiday cheer provokes your wrath, and you must post about it on Facebook, don’t include your customers in your tirade. A pension administrator who was flooded with holiday calls from procrastinators who wanted to complete a year’s business in the few hours before year’s end produced this immortal quote: “Go to hell, people who remember to make deposits into children’s savings accounts and pensions on the last business day of the year!” Tellers all over the work know exactly how she felt.
  59. L.A. Times – The Coldstone ice cream company did not appreciate it when a woman who worked at their Turlock plant posted racial slurs and remarks about assassination when discussing President Obama on both Facebook and Twitter. The posts went viral, the woman was fired, and Coldstone is still fielding angry messages from the public.
  60. TMJ4 – If you’re a police dispatcher, you may not find it convenient to make comments on Facebook about your various chemical addictions. Dana Kuchler of West Allis portrayed herself as easy to please with any of the following substances: “Vicodin, Adderall, quality marijuana, MD 20/20 grape and absinthe,” and the West Allis Police Department failed to see the humor in suggesting she could find absinthe anywhere in Michigan.
  61. Poynter – A meteorologist in Louisiana was fired for defending her short haircut on Facebook in response to a viewer who asked whether she had brain cancer. The case developed interesting overtones when the meteorologist described her hair as “ethnic” and a website in Texas took up for the insulting viewer, claiming he was mentally ill.
  62. My Firefighter Nation – Jason Brown of Colleton County learned the value of subjective assessments when he was fired for posting an innocuous, Lego-like cartoon video. Unfortunately, Brown’s boss thought the comic portrayal of a firefighter and doctor reflected unpleasantly on a particular local doctor, and was not inclined to let Brown shelter behind the satire exception.
  63. Huffington Post – When a waitress at Brixx Pizza turned to Facebook to lambaste customers who homesteaded a table for three hours and tipped a whole five dollars for the privilege, Brixx fired her and apologized, also on Facebook, to its customer base. Surprisingly, all the feedback Brixx received indicated anger at the firing rather than the original complaint, and here’s one sample of the criticism: “Stalking an employee’s Facebook account is unacceptable.”
  64. Dallas News – If you’re a police officer, it may be unwise to boast of breaking the law on your Facebook page. That did not seem self-evident to Cat Lafitte, formerly of the Dallas Police Department. Lafitte patted herself on the back for beating up a local hospital employee, and although she saved the paramedics a trip by performing the operation in the hospital where he worked, those bonus points did not save her job.
  65. The Daily Dot – If you lose a promotion bid and you pour out your woes on Facebook, please do it without denouncing your coworkers. If you don’t, you may lose not just the promotion but the job itself, as Jessica Bibbs discovered when she called her office job a “joke.” Describing her colleagues as “fake and lazy” probably didn’t increase her appeal.

122 Tools to Plan and Build Your Family Tree

As a group, family historians and genealogists are generally meticulous, detail-oriented, highly organized workers. These aficionados tend to document their activities, recording not only data about their ancestors, but the processes used in collecting and understanding that data.

These family historians enjoy constructing systems to manage their collection and storage efforts. Sometimes those systems turn into sets of instructions, and sometimes they develop into usable database and charting software. In either case, the family historians and genealogists usually pass on their expertise to the interested public, because what they seem to enjoy above all is sharing their experiences with the world and making a personal contribution to history. You’ll find some of their best ideas collected, summarized and listed below. With these 122 simple tools, you too, can join the ranks of the family historians.

  1. Society of Genealogists (UK) – The UK’s Society of Genealogists offers its members a storehouse of searchable web databases containing genealogical information. This professional library is constantly growing, and the newsletter will keep you informed about new acquisitions.

    Society of Genealogists (UK)

    Waldburg Ahnentafel, the family tree of Sigmund Christoph von Waldburg-Zeil-Trauchburg. Courtesy of, illustrator unknown, late 18th century

  2. XY Family Tree – XY Family Tree is an easy-to-use Windows program that can import GEDCOM files and display all your media files in the correct formats. It’s free and portable.
  3. Family Email Hosting – Family Email Hosting has posted some advice on how to build your own family history website, including planning your research, gathering your source material, and choosing your hosting company.
  4. Family Tree Scriptorium – The Family Tree Scriptorium was established in 1983 to design family trees with calligraphy and other traditional techniques, and you can split the services by requesting family research or calligraphy for other purposes.
  5. Family Tree & Me – Family Tree & Me lets you create family trees with photographs, and as you can see the results can be large (the pictured tree is 54″ x 24″ and contains five generations).
  6. Family Tree application – This application was written to work on high-resolution Apple devices. It uses a very simple, stripped-down interface and generates family tree models with mapping capacity.
  7. Family Tree Art – The Family Tree Art site belongs to a professional graphic designer who has produced a wide variety of visual presentations for the family tree, many including photographs.
  8. Family Tree Designs – Family Tree Designs will do the necessary research to produce a history of your family and has expanded to offer tree artwork that can be framed.
  9. Family Tree Magazine – Family Tree Magazine is an online collection of resources to help you compile your family’s history. Its genealogists’ toolkit includes forms, worksheets, tips on research, and links to research materials.
  10. Family Tree Printing – Family Tree Printing will print a chart generated by your genealogy program onto one sheet of paper, and can print onto canvas if so desired.
  11. Family Tree Template – The Family Tree Template site discusses different types of family history charts and how to fill them in, including suggestions about where to find information on your ancestors.

    Family Tree Template

    De Orestis-Galea family tree chart, no author available. Courtesy of Flickr

  12. WordPress family tree plugin – Try this WordPress family tree plugin to display a genealogical reference on a web page, including information for each member of the family (birth dates, mother, father, and so on).
  13. Ancestoring – Ancestoring is a series of posts aimed at training the beginning genealogist, and it carefully describes all the basic steps in family history research. The Toolbox has a number of helpful links.
  14. Blurb – One of the most helpful tools in performing any task is the collective wisdom of experience, and if you’re interested in meeting people who make family trees suitable for publishing, you can find some on Blurb.
  15. MySQL – If you want to learn how to use MySQL to design a database for your family history website, you can find detailed instructions on part of the process here.
  16. RootsMagic – RootsMagic is one of the many genealogy software companies available to help with the technical end of housing and presenting your family’s data. Their latest offering is RootsMagic 6 Essentials.
  17. Genealogy Printers – Genealogy Printers promises to print your family’s history onto a single piece of paper, providing blank charts, completed trees, and intelligent service from a family of genealogists.
  18. Ancestral Quest – Ancestral Quest was one of the first family history programs ever sold, beginning in 1994, and you can download a free Basics version to test-drive the software.
  19. Geneodesign – Geneodesign offers customized illustrations of your family tree in a number of sizes and styles. Each picture is constructed for you personally without using a template.
  20. – is a centralized source for locating links to records housed all over the country, showing births, marriages, deaths, and census records. There’s also a page of international links.
  21. GenScriber – If you’re transcribing images of family history documents like census and vital records, the GenScriber viewer lets you see your current image in one window while you type its data into another window below.
  22. – has fresh ideas for presenting all kinds of information, and you can find family tree graphics describing all types of inheritance histories, from the British royals to Norse mythology.
  23. Paper Tree – Paper Tree gives you a complete set of instructions on how to fill in family tree forms, with notes on type of ink required, making notes in pencil, then overwriting and erasing to produce the final result.

    Paper Tree

    General William Clark’s Family Tree wall chart, no author available. Courtesy of Flickr

  24. House Beautiful – For ideas on designing your family tree, look at House Beautiful’s depiction of the American Design family tree, including its architectural roots. The trend toward industrial family trees is producing exceptionally clever artwork, and this is one example.
  25. GED-inline – GED-inline is a web utility that lets you validate your GEDCOM files, pinpointing any data that’s not conforming. The site respects your privacy by discarding all uploads after analysis.
  26. Family Historian – Family Historian is a well-regarded genealogy software package, for Windows only, and it’s capable of creating charts, CDs and DVDs, and books exploring your family’s history.
  27. DoroTree – DoroTree is highly specialized software constructed by experienced genealogists who needed a product suited to the unique features of Jewish history. Includes a Hebrew data entry feature and Hebrew-Gregorian dates.
  28. Genbox Family History – Genbox Family History lets you turn out charts showing your family history and specially organized reports containing your research. You may try the full version for a month at no charge.
  29. Famtree – Famtree is Windows shareware, and it’s continually improving the basic features of its design by providing GEDCOM imports, user interface enchancements, ability to add half-siblings, and so on.
  30. Cumberland Family Tree – Cumberland Family Tree is multilingual and simple to use, providing automatic name linkage at time of entry and space for multiple marriages. You can even generate an indexed family history.
  31. Roots-Forum – Roots-Forum is a genealogists’ networking site where you can give and receive advice and research tips. Topics include One-Name Studies, Brick Walls, and Missing Links.
  32. Custodian 3 – Custodian 3 databases are designed specifically to accommodate the various types of records likely to be found in genealogical research. Recommended for indexing projects and local histories.
  33. Family Origins – Family Origins is genealogy software for Windows, and it has some very helpful features like specialized record types, multiple relationships tracking, marriage searches, and GEDCOM support.
  34. Back to Roots – If you’re looking for genealogical data from the UK, Back to Roots has an extensive catalogue containing many years’ worth of directories from the British isles.

    Back to Roots

    St Augustine of Canterbury, Upton Lovell: church hall. Courtesy of Basher Eyre, photographed for Geograph Britain and Ireland

  35. Sovereign Ancestry – Sovereign Ancestry is an international firm of historical researchers concentrating on not only family histories but related projects like studies of locales and even individual houses.
  36. RootsMap – The RootsMap company has a very interesting genealogy product called the surname distribution map, which can show you occurrences of any name in Great Britain and Ireland.
  37. My History – My History is a supplier of all items you need to create, record, and display your own family history. They carry many stationery items intended to store and preserve old records.
  38. Heritage Family History – Professional genealogist Celia Heritage (yes, that’s her real name) heads the Heritage Family History reasearch company, and she offers a wealth of information on how to succeed in your own family studies.
  39. RootsChat – RootsChat is a networking resource especially for family historians interested in tracing their British origins. You can ask for help with documents, dating sources, or even balky software.
  40. ROOTS Consulting Services (Scotland) – The goal of ROOTS Consulting Services (Scotland) is to translate the results of your family history research into a travel itinerary so you can plan to visit places of interest or do some on-the-spot delving.
  41. Neil Bromley – Neil Bromley does truly beautiful artwork in the style of medieval illumination, and if you want the best in a custom rendering of your family tree you can do no better.
  42. Family Folios – If your idea of the perfect research tool is someone to do the work, try the FamilyFolios service by professional genealogist Angela Aldam, who produces studies of families in the UK.
  43. Simple Family Tree – Simple Family Tree was created by a programmer who writes free software as a hobby. It supports GEDCOM files, and you can even take a look at the source code.
  44. GenoPro – GenoPro draws family trees for you based on the genealogical information you supply, using the highly detailed genogram format. It includes a Family Wizard to insert an entire family in one process.
  45. Bygones – Bygones is freeware, and it has a Mac version as well as a Windows version. It’s intended for use in keeping digital notes on family history research.


    Sleepy Hollow Cowboys And Cowgirls. Courtesy of Pete Newman, 1936, Flickr

  46. Brigham Young University – Mormons are very interested in genealogy, and that’s why Brigham Young University has an entire department devoted to family history studies. The website offers a number of online resources.
  47. Lifelines – Lifelines uses GEDCOM as its data storage format, and to start using Lifelines you simply export your existing GEDCOM files, then import and start scripting a wide variety of reports.
  48. Hypertext Indented Narrative – Hypertext Indented Narrative is a web adaptation of the original Burke’s Peerage pedigree format, which provides a means of inserting hyperlinks into an individually drawn, freeform family tree chart.
  49. All-Things-Family-Reunion – All-Things-Family-Reunion is a website that grew out of many years of planning family events, and one of the dimensions of the work turned out to be producing family trees in the word art style.
  50. Modern Software Experience – The site owner, Tamura Jones, is an expert on genealogy software, and much of the knowledge collected on Modern Software Experience will help you navigate the different programs discussed.
  51. Genea-Musings – Genea-Musings is the product of avid researcher Randy Seaver, and a typical web post might walk the reader through a flexible series of steps with the goal of teaching a particular family history research technique.
  52. GenDetective – GenDetective is a data analysis program that examines your existing family history data to discover what’s missing, then generates lists of the specific missing pieces needed to complete your work.
  53. WinGeno – WinGeno is a free downloadable program that lets you diagram your family’s history in the form of a genogram. It’s available in the English amd German languages.
  54. Ultimate Family Tree – Ultimate Family Tree (UFT) is an old FoxPro-based artifact in the world of genealogical software, but it still works and has an active, passionate group of users that will be glad to offer software assistance.
  55. Behold – Behold is a Windows program that shows all your data, according to your selections, in the aptly named Everything Report. Behold will import your GEDCOM files and find any errors.
  56. Geves – Geves is genealogy software for Windows that lets you input your historical data and output family trees in different styles. It’s capable of using GEDCOM files and displaying media.


    Family tree of the house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha on the thrones of Great Britain, Belgium, Portugal & Bulgaria, updated. Courtesy of JMvanDijk, 31 July 2012

  57. FamilyPursuit – FamilyPursuit offers a chance to collaborate with other community members online in building an online family tree according to the wiki principle. You can also start a tree just for your family.
  58. Family Crossings – Family Crossings is a do-it-yourself family website service that lets you post and share your family’s history only with other members of your family, as opposed to sharing on Facebook.
  59. The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding – The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG) lets you store and manage your genealogical data in MySQL tables in your website. Instead of HTML pages, you display the data directly using PHP.
  60. Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine – Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine is a highly recommended community and networking tool to find family history resources, meet other researchers, and ask genealogical questions.
  61. Scottish Genealogy Research Tool 5.01 – Interested in learning about your Scottish roots? Try the Scottish Genealogy Research Tool 5.01, a freeware download that walks you through genealogical web searches, which you can save.
  62. – is another site that hosts the family profile pages you create for yourself and your relatives, letting you build family groups online and upload your historical documents.
  63. Familyrelatives – Familyrelatives is a family history website that lets you pay to search its genealogical databases and store your family tree information using an interactive history builder.
  64. Hereditree – Hereditree not only displays your family tree in a visual format but bases its navigation capacity on that design, so you can see and edit your tree’s data while you’re in tree view.
  65. Family for Elgg 1.7 – Family for Elgg 1.7 is a family history widget that displays family relationships attached to the user, based on existing profile information. Licensing is GNU General Public.
  66. Gramps – Gramps is free genealogical research software open to the community (think SourceForge), and it’s written in Python. Gramps has data analysis widgets for the dashboard and an interactive map.
  67. Second Site – If you’ve been storing your family history data in a The Master Genealogist (TMG) database, then Second Site will use it to create HTML pages you can post on your own website.

    Second Site

    Illustration by David Henry Friston for Carmilla, in The Dark Blue, reproduced in Best Ghost Stories, ed. Bleiler. Courtesy of Haunted Images: The Illustrating of Le Fanu at, February 1872

  68. Family History Hosting – If you’re a researcher rather than a website builder, Family History Hosting provides a simple construction option that comes with technical assistance and the capacity to add enhanced features.
  69. Penn State DuBois – Penn State DuBois hosts an FTP page from which you can obtain many GEDCOM utilities, including a pedigree printer, relationships analyzer, and wall chart generator.
  70. Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group – Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group pools the intense concentration and organizational ability of the area’s inhabitants and applies them to family history research, and the members love to help other researchers.
  71. Wakefield Family History Sharing – Wakefield Family History Sharing is ordered around the central idea of amassing and sharing genealogical data for one location, in this case Wakefield (UK). Imagine the entire world’s family history described by such sites, and you’ll see the goal.
  72. Dynastree – Dynastree is a free family tree builder you can download to generate your own family history chart, and there’s a URL available for display of what you’ve created.
  73. ProGenealogists – ProGenealogists is a genealogical research firm that will construct an entire family history for you or fill in a gap in your existing work that you just can’t finish on your own.
  74. Ahnenblatt – Ahnenblatt is free Windows software that you can download from the maker. It creates detailed family trees and reports based on your family history data.
  75. Heritage Consulting – Heritage Consulting provides professional research services on genealogy and related fields like estate research for probate attorneys. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, the company has access to the famous Family History Library.
  76. USGenNet – USGenNet Barrel of Genealogy Links is a very lengthy web page that contains nothing but helpful links to aid the family historian, including surname and location lists.
  77. Myblood-line – Myblood-line works for both Windows and Mac, and its built-in search tool lets you look through all your data storage (families, media, timelines) at the same time to locate your search term.
  78. GenealogyWise – GenealogyWise was developed by the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, and it hosts a thriving community of family history researchers. Newest group announcement is the Society for One-Place Studies.
  79. Trace Your Dutch Roots – If you have Dutch ancestry, as many Americans in the New York City area do, Trace Your Dutch Roots is an essential tool for learning about genealogical resources covering the Netherlands.

    Trace Your Dutch Roots

    The Blind, Pieter van der Heyden, published by Hieronymus Cock. Courtesy of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, circa 1540-1570

  80. AncestorSync – AncestorSync is a data synchronization program that lets you share the same database on multiple computers, meaning you’ll have different data entry sources putting information into the same table.
  81. Adam: The GEDCOM Family Tree Builder – Adam: The GEDCOM Family Tree Builder, from genealogist and programmer Tim Forsythe’s toolbox, is a free web service that lets you build your family tree online and port it as a zip file.
  82. National Institute for Genealogical Studies – The National Institute for Genealogical Studies will teach you how to research your family’s history using online courses, both standalone offerings and longer programs including certificate courses.
  83. Heredis – Genealogy software maker Heredis has put a lot of thought into making the data storage process easy, and its unified Family group view for entering data is a real time-saver.
  84. GedStar Pro for Android – GedStar Pro for Android lets you see all your genealogical information on your Android device, using a Windows utility to move the data off your PC and an Android app to import.
  85. Treelines – With Treelines, you can build an illustrated family history on the web, creating each page as a single story. That sounds simple enough, but the evocative power of the technique becomes apparent when you read some of the existing submissions.
  86. American Ancestors – American Ancestors belongs to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and you’re invited to use their online databases or ask them for assistance in your family history research.
  87. Ages! – Ages! lets you create a family tree beginning with the person window, for entering a single family member, then moving on to connect all those individual components.
  88. Family ChArtist – Family ChArtist lets you design and print your famliy chart online in a matter of minutes by uploading a GEDCOM file and choosing layout options.
  89. Progeny Genealogy – Progeny Genealogy offers a suite of genealogy charting programs, including standard box charts as well as timelines, maps, and even charts to display your family’s history in three dimensions on a two-dimensional page.
  90. Filiopietism Prism – In a post on Filiopietism Prism, John D. Tew explores genealogical uses for old financial records, describing the conversion of documents that now occupy 12 linear feet into a digital history of his family’s activities.

    Filiopietism Prism

    An engraving entitled “Music Hall and Exposition Buildings” from Cincinnati Illustrated by Kenny, D. J. Courtesy of Robert Clarke & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, publishers, 1879

  91. GeneWeb – GeneWeb is a genealogy program from Europe, with an English language option. It includes a consanguinity calculator, list of correct titles for nobility, and space for family events.
  92. Ancestris – Ancestris is free open source code written in Java, meaning it works with Windows, Mac, or Linux. It prefers the GEDCOM 5.5 standard. Some of the available views are tree, chronological, table, and geographic, so you have a number of ways to see your data.
  93. Genealogy of Automobile Companies – If you want ideas about how to construct a visual portrait of your family’s evolution over time, examine this graphically designed family tree created to describe the American automobile industry.
  94. – Michael John Neill’s provides a list of downloadable webinars that discuss topics like Civil War pension records, federal land descriptions, and 1940 census indices.
  95. German Roots – German Roots is an excellent first stop for any family history researcher with German ancestors. It’s the most complete English-language collection of German records you can find.
  96. Researching Your Family Tree – Researching Your Family Tree is a helpful web tutorial for beginning genealogists, providing clear, simple instructions on how to perform basic web research like reviewing vital records.
  97. Linkpendium – Linkpendium has a handy list of genealogy resources by state and by surname. There’s also a special search feature that lets you check all the available name data at the same time, in one query.
  98. One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse – One-Step Webpages by Stephen P. Morse offers an outstanding collection of what may be all the American vital records currently available online, including immigration lists and links to genetic information.
  99. Gerard Aflague – Gerard Aflague will produce a four-generation family tree to your specifications, printed on poster stock or as a banner, and promises a two-to-three day turnaround.
  100. Can Genealogy – Can Genealogy by Dave Obee is an online guidebook to Canadian genealogy resources, including information on the Acadians, Loyalists, and Metis or First Nations. Alternately, you can browse the regional links.
  101. AncestryDNA – AncestryDNA will provide a combined genetic analysis and family history profile that describes your chromosomal inheritance in terms of ethnicity, and if you read the blogs of people who subscribed to the service, you’ll see how surprising the results can be.


    Chromosomes with stain. Courtesy of Flickr

  102. Family ChartMasters – Family ChartMasters is the result of a passionate genealogist asking a talented computer programmer for organizational assistance with a family history presentation. The website walks you through the process of designing your own chart.
  103. Forensic Genealogy – Forensic Genealogy explains how to analyze photographs and databases in conjunction with DNA profiles to identify and track down your family history. For example, you’ll learn how to determine whether photos were taken on the same roll of film.
  104. Find My Past – Find My Past holds a large collection of genealogical records drawn from Australasia (that is, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands).
  105. Civil Rights Documentation Project – Many Southerners’ lives were redefined by the civil rights struggle, and one of the best sources for information on people involved in that critical intersection of American and personal history is the Civil Rights Documentation Project.
  106. Small-leaved Shamrock – Other specialized genealogy research links for those with Irish or Catholic ancestors can be found on the Small-leaved Shamrock site, which also hosts links for records relating to people connected to Schuylkill County (Pennsylvania), railroads, and coal mines.
  107. Genealogica Grafica – Genealogica Grafica is downloadable shareware that provides multiple output methods for the family history information contained in your GEDCOM files, including text, charts, and web pages.
  108. Zotero – Zotero is a specialized research tool that analyzes web page content and copies/saves the subject matter, so you can store what you find in web searches by simply clicking when you want to add content to your database.
  109. The In-Depth Genealogist – Free magazine The In-Depth Genealogist offers news, tips, tricks, and other genealogy-related material for the benefit of its readers. Current topics include research using divorce records and bad news concerning the 1890 U.S. Federal Census.
  110. Family History with the LineageKeeper – Family History with the LineageKeeper has posted a set of instructions on Preparing for Family Interviews, beginning with the principle “Start with what you know, then move outward in your research.”
  111. Lucidchart – Lucidchart lets you create a family tree chart online using their interactive templates, and you can even collaborate in real time with other members of your family.
  112. Clan Henderson Society – The Scots take exceptional pride in descent, and once you discover which clan you belong to, you’ll have a home for life. If you’re a Henderson, you can learn all about your roots from the Clan Henderson Society.

    Clan Henderson Society

    A romantic depiction of Highland Chiefs in the Stewart and Gordon tartans. Coloured engraving after J. Logan by R. Havell. Courtesy of J. Logan, The Scottish Gael, 1831, uploaded 17 January 2012

  113. Trace Indian Ancestry – If some of your forebears belonged to Native American tribes, the U.S. Department of the Interior has created a Trace Indian Ancestry webpage to serve as a gateway to their records.
  114. NativeWeb – NativeWeb keeps many pages filled with categorized links to help you research genealogy by ethnicity (American Indian, First Native, African-American) and location (state and hometown).
  115. DNAeXplained – DNAeXplained offers a wealth of commonsense advice on how DNA analysis can (and cannot) help you expand your genealogical research, and one of the best examples of this explanatory technique can be read in a post called “Proving Native American Ancestry Using DNA.”
  116. Brother’s Keeper – Brother’s Keeper is genealogy software written for Windows, with database tables to hold your information and output options including charts and reports. Sample output is posted on the site.
  117. Relativity Explorer – Relativity Explorer is a Windows tool that lets you navigate effortlessly through a graphic display of your genealogy information based on a text list of your family members.
  118. The Genealogy Timeline – The Genealogy Timeline is software that was developed by a Florida family of genealogists to merge their family history with larger historical events (local, state, and national history).
  119. Genota and Genota Forms – Genota and Genota Forms are two programs designed to organize your family history research material, in whatever form it appears, in such a way that you can locate where you found any given piece of information.
  120. MudCreek Software – MudCreek Software has a number of utilities designed to work with your data files or other genealogy software. One example is the GENMatcher, which searches your data for duplicates.
  121. GenSmarts – GenSmarts is software that can analyze your existing genealogical data, log the gaps, and create a to-do list telling you what you need in order to complete your family history.
  122. Ancestral Author – Ancestral Author for Windows can generate hyperlinked PDFs containing your family history information drawn from GEDCOM files, text input, images, and other digitized sources. Output appears in NEHGS report format.

    Ancestral Author

    Gisborne Court at Peterhouse, Cambridge. Courtesy of Roger Kidd, photographed for Geograph Britain and Ireland

  123. Clooz – Clooz by Ancestral Systems is a genealogical data management program capable of organizing all your sources and displaying all interlinked information for any single entry in a unified Composite View.

50 Best Family History Blogs

Difficult as it was to choose only 50 family history blogs as top selections, here are the most entertaining examples of what is traditionally an amusing genre. There’s a vast range, a library’s worth of different perspectives to be found on these sites: some are very personal stories, glimpses of not only family history but also human nature. Others are scholarly historical works that compile every known detail on a particular set of related families. You’ll discover facts about the lives and times of everyone from crowned heads of Europe to medieval weavers of silk tapestries and American pioneers who came to the colonies, won their independence, and kept roaming farther south and west. It’s a series of history lessons related by the participants. In addition to being entertaining and educational, it is our aim that these top sites also help you to explore otherwise hidden parts of your own family history.

  1. Adams Family Papers – The Adams Family Papers are billed as “An Electronic Archive,” which reflects the precision and thorough nature of their acquisition and presentation. These documents were assembled by the venerable Massachusetts Historical Society, which was founded in 1791 and thus is part of history in its own right, and they contain the personal records of John Adams, second president of the United States, and his wife Abigail, a staunch advocate of public education. The site has posted beautifully organized collections of letters, a diary belonging to Adams, and Adams’ autobiography, plus detailed descriptions of what the collections contain, transcripts, and images of the pages themselves.

    Adams Family Papers

    A painting of President John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd president of the United States, by Asher B. Durand (1767-1845). Courtesy of U.S. Navy.

  2. Jewish Gen – The Jewish Gen site is a central repository of genealogical records belonging to Jewish families in countries all over the world, from Belarus to Austria to Scandinavia to South America. Based in New York City, Jewish Gen is affiliated with the Museum of Jewish Heritage, known for its focus on the Holocaust, and the sheer volume of information in its possession is impressive, as you can see from the databases section. Examples of what you can find are a searchable database of surnames and towns (the Family Finder) and a burial registry covering 4,000 cemeteries in 81 countries.
  3. Van Antwerp Family – The Van Antwerp Family blog is a charming little scrapbook created by George Van Antwerp in 2007. The author stated in one of his first posts, which concerned the city of Antwerp, that he wanted to start a conversation about the family, and his notes on other Van Antwerps (a pottery company, a set of condos, a building in Mobile, Alabama) are cleverly designed for that purpose. There’s a post with some 17th century history of the Van Antwerpens of the Mohawk River Valley, an article about the author’s father’s missionary work in Brazil, and many other highlights from the family’s chronicles.
  4. Kemp(e) Family History – This site, which is devoted to the genealogical project known as a one-name study, also includes information on the surnames Kemps and Kempf, and although data for living members of the family is not made available on the web, you may use the contact link to make that type of request. The site layout is exceptionally logical, showing a selection of data types (from photos to headstones) and a division of the family tree into maternal and paternal lineage. There’s even a page of statistics on the Kemp(e) data collection, with fun facts like the total number of family members (94,825) and the lifespan of the oldest Kemp known (125 years).
  5. ScotWeb Clan And Family Histories – ScotWeb is the web commerce branch of that famous producer of woven tartans, D.C. Dalgliesh, and its research into the Scottish clans for which its artisan fabrics are named contains any number of fascinating footnotes to the country’s history. For instance, the son of the original laird of Anstruther was known for his generosity to the monks of Balmerino Abbey, and the founding father of Clan Mackintosh obtained his lands by fighting under King Malcolm IV. If you’re inclined to don a particular plaid, you can also pick up some facts about those who originally wore it on ScotWeb.

    ScotWeb Clan And Family Histories

    Soldier of the Black Watch. Engraving of Samuel MacPherson of the 43rd Regiment of Foot. Courtesy of National Army Museum, London; John Prebble, Mutiny, 1984 edition; colour realization by Helena Zakrazewska-Rucinska.

  6. Andy Randazzo family history – This page was started in 2010, and it has material on not only Randazzos but other Sicilian families like the Vitales, Cianciolos, and Palmisanos. Sicily is the largest Mediterranean island and it has passed through the hands of many rulers beginning with the Greeks and continuing through the Roman and Byzantine empires to ancestors of the French (Normans), Germans (Hofenstaufens), and Spaniards (Catalans). Accordingly, to learn the history of Sicilian families like the Randazzos is to learn centuries of regional history. The current access code hint to view data on the site refers to the castellated city in which the family originated, and if you can solve this or a similar riddle, you will be admitted.
  7. Williams Family Tree – The Williams Family Tree site announces itself as a new, improved iteration of the original, and while it is delightful it’s also flash-intensive, so not all its image enhancements are available on every device. However, it is well worth moving to a browser that can view the Williams Family Tree as designed, because the webmaster put years of experience into the product and obtained a very good result. The site welcomes reader contributions, and the number of additions by members of collateral branches (Hake, Harper, Hoggett, and so on) has turned the collection into a vast library of valuable information on British families.
  8. Minnesota Historical Society – The Minnesota Historical Society has set up a family history/people finder page on its website, holding indices of birth and death certificates, a catalog of resources from local public libraries, state census records, and an online assistant to help you construct your family’s history. There’s a list of links to special databases on other sites, such as Veterans Graves Registrations, family history searches for descendants of the Dakota and Ojibway tribes, maps, and histories of towns and buildings. You can also search for information about your ancestors’ lives in the oral histories, Civil War data, and national/ethnic groups collections such as lists of Chinese and Norwegian settlers.
  9. Richison Family History – Jerry Gregory reserved part of his personal website for a compilation of data on the descendants of George Washington Richison and Sarah Marade Barrow, who married in 1846. Neither was a lettered individual, so the name is alternately recorded as Richardson and Richison (even sometimes Richeson, Richerson, and Ritcheson), and modern genetic testing suggests the Richisons were indeed members of the Richardson family of North Carolina. The great flexibility in spellings mirrors the ease with which many of them moved around from state to state in the southern U. S. There’s an extensive alphabetized list of surnames belonging to people who married into the family, and a linked assortment of photos taken over many years.
  10. Jewish Encyclopedia – The Jewish Encyclopedia was published in 12 volumes between 1901 and 1906 by Funk & Wagnalls, and it is a compendium of information on Jewish families, histories, literature, theology, and many other aspects of Jewish life and tradition. One could easily spend weeks wandering around the histories of families like that founded by Sir Albert Abdallah David Sassoon, an Anglo-Indian merchant born in Baghdad, or reading tales of various Rosenbergs (Russian-American writer Abraham Hayyim, Prussian physician Albert, or Julius, a Hungarian deputy of the 19th century). The Jewish Encyclopedia is well respected for its scholarly scope, accuracy, and thoroughness.
  11. Ten Generations – Three Centuries – Another scholarly approach to family history, this time studied as a bridge to a greater understanding of the recent history of Finland, is the five-year project recorded on the Ten Generations – Three Centuries web page. The Academy of Finland is financing this study of cultural transmission from generation to generation of Finland’s families, and when completed it will contain detailed information on fifty thousand individual Finns, including interviews to gather the family history of each as well as genealogical data. These researchers will trace the progress of social changes at the national level by observing their effects on single families and their members.
  12. The Sanchez Family Tree – The Sanchez Family Tree is filled with Sanchez news, photos, and links to individual descendants’ sites, which in turn have pages for each of their family members, and so the network of multiple linkages created on the web traces the same paths as the family’s relationships. The family tree for which the site is named is a very clearly laid out genealogical flow chart showing six Sanchez generations. The stories of the three sons are very different: one is living in Oregon and studying to be a priest, another is married and teaches mathematics at a high school in California, and the third teaches biology at the college level.
  13. A Guide to the Bellamy Family Papers – This collection, and its web page, are housed in the University of Florida’s George A. Smathers Libraries (look in the Special and Area Studies Collections). The Bellamy documents consist primarily of personal correspondence, chiefly that written by Eliza A. Bellamy and her son Burton William Bellamy in the period 1825-1894. The site includes a history of the Bellamys of East Florida, who moved to Tallahassee at the city’s inception in 1821. The patriarch of the family, John Bellamy, is remembered as the man who built the Bellamy Road running east to west along the route of the old Mission Trail.
  14. A Family History of the Thomas, Goldsmith, Button and Barrow Families – This site unites the four related families, hosting a link for each: the Thomas family (Halifax, Yorkshire), the Goldsmith family (Portsea/Portsmouth, Hampshire), the Button family (London and Suffolk), and the Barrow family (New Forest – Hampshire and Dorset). Each family has an interesting history in its own right, all dating back to the latter half of the eighteenth century (1760s-1780s), and each site has its own Family Finder index to locate connected surnames and related individuals. There is a meticulously assembled downloadable .pdf available for each family, giving names, occupations, and brief lives of all descendants.

    A Family History of the Thomas, Goldsmith, Button and Barrow Families

    Buccleuch Cottages, Beaulieu, New Forest. Courtesy of Jim Champion.

  15. GeneaNet – GeneaNet is an online collection of historical resources boasting over 400 million records in the following categories: family trees, records from sources like parish churches and government census rolls, and photographs. The beauty of a set of hypertext genealogy pages like that created by GeneaNet is that you can link every single piece of information, so it’s quite simple to trace where a particular piece of data originates. For instance, if you follow the name link for Salomé Groehly of Alsace, you’ll discover all her personal information was located in her hometown of Illkirch-Graffenstaden, and that for Veit Harsch comes from Vaihingen-sur-l’Enz (Germany, called Allemagne on the Francophone subject page).
  16. The Story Curator – The Story Curator takes a literary approach to a family history, inserting the reader intimately into a virtual museum of family life at the point of a European-American woman named Moussia, a cosmopolite artist whose daughter is a poet. Moussia is summed up from her daughter’s perspective as “Russian by birth, French by taste,” which is a lovely phrase, and her sophistication and elegance are the informing spirit of the Story Curator blog, the aesthetic that guided the writing, the image selection (old family photographs of artistic quality), and every detail of the web presentation. There are fifty finely crafted episodes in Moussia’s story.
  17. Windhorst, Bottge, Leistikow & Vandervoort Genealogy – This site collects old photographs and local histories of the Windhorst, Bottge, Leistikow, and Vandervoort families, with some material from relatives belonging to the Seebach, Jepson, Bratsch, and Schuyler branches. The histories are linked at the top of the page, and the downloadable report called Windhorst Genealogy, by Richard Windhorst, a history of the Windhorst family of Olivia, Minnesota that was completed by its author in 1995, is a fascinating read. Cousin Peter Windhorst added newly discovered information and an updated Foreword in 2010 which describes the origin and nature of the additions (for instance, the family tree in Wesenstedt, Germany now stretches back to Gercken Windhorst, fl. 1600).
  18. Greek Genealogy – The Greek Genealogy site traces the family tree of a Greek-American dentist named Lica Hariclea Catsakis (Bywater), who grew up in Greece and emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 42. The emigration triggered a deep interest in her Greek roots, and Dr. Catsakis has made numerous trips back to her homeland, beginning in 1977, to interview relatives and search local records in order to amass a collection of her family’s historical data. She has uncovered previously uncollected materials on four ancestral families belonging to the Katsakis, Kitsikopoulos, Mantafounis, and Vlahopoulos branches, and has written several treatises on her research in both English and Greek.
  19. L’Association de la Famille Boudreaux/Boudreau/Boudrot/Boudreault – The Boudreaux Family Association embraces all the variants on the name found in South Louisiana. Based in a town called Lafayette, this clan has a governmental organization structure (president, vice-president, and so on) to handle the genealogical business of the family, in which the student of French government will recognize an echo of the mairie. Sadly, former president Donald Joseph (Don) Boudreaux recently passed away, but new webmaster Larry Boudreaux has stepped up to meet the challenge and make sure the Boudreaux family history and site remain available, which is an especially important function since the planning for the family’s 2014 congrè (congrès, or reunion) is now underway.
  20. South Carolina – Genealogy and Family History – This state genealogy page is hosted by Sciway (South Carolina Information Highway), an online repository for South Carolinian resources. Resource categories are extensive, listing everything from cemeteries and churches to maps and plat books. Sciway has compiled a very useful list of links to individual counties’ genealogy sites, and a look at the counties shows you that many are named after American revolutionaries, as you might expect from one of the original 13 colonies. For example, Horry County was named after a Revolutionary War colonel and General Francis Marion was the inspiration in naming Marion County, while Lee County’s name honors the Confederate commander.
  21. House of History, LLC. – The House of History will be happy to help you research your family’s history, and even arrange a trip for you to visit your forefathers’ homeland (called an “Ancestry Event” by the Hvizdos family, owners of the business). For an example of the available research services, visit the Review page, where the owner’s mother describes the many documents assembled by the House of History in a research effort which eventually permitted the women of the line to fulfill a long-cherished ambition and join the Daughters of the American Revolution. On the other side of the family, successfully tracing the peregrinations of the Gulas family of Slovakia resulted in a trip to Europe to meet long-lost relatives for the first time.
  22. RoyaList – The RoyaList, or “royal list” site is a compendium of biographical data on the royal families of England and Scotland painstakingly collected by Alistair Grieve. The genealogy section explains a number of interesting aspects of the database: due to multiple intermarriages spanning many centuries, it contains information on many of Europe’s royal houses as well. The target population is confined to immediate family of the royal lines, but you will also run across the occasional distantly related celebrity (George Washington and George Bush are two). The database design is worthy of note, offering features like a kinship calculator for any two individuals on record, and as the examples show many of the relationships you will discover are multiple.


    The Hampden Portrait, Steven van der Meulen. Courtesy of Sotheby’s Catalogue #L07123, Important British Paintings 1500-1850 22 November 2007.

  23. The Oliver Family – The Oliver Family site was created by a descendant named Jennifer Kolthammer who decided to research the history of the family founded by William Oliver and Ann Wilson, a Devon couple of the 18th century. Ms. Kolthammer has traced her family back to a son of those Olivers whose sons emigrated to Canada, and includes a link to the related Bonnycastle family site. Incidentally, the strikingly clean lines of the site’s design are due to a genealogy site builder called Second Site, which does achieves beautiful technical results but works with only one database format (called The Master Genealogist, trademarked).
  24. Digital Diaspora Family Reunion – In counterpoint to the single-family history that contains only relatives by blood and marriage, the inclusive model of the Digital Diaspora Family Reunion is filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris’ bid to unify the family photos of African-Americans as a collected whole, a digital document memorializing the African Diaspora. It is intended to be a project created by users who upload their media (including photos, video, audio, and text files) to a central repository, an online museum of family histories. This is your chance to participate in a national project online and contribute your family research to a collection of lasting historical value.
  25. Idaho County Genealogy Society – The Idaho County (Idaho) Genealogy Society is one of the local offshoots of the USGenWeb Project, which aims to create free, publicly accessible genealogy websites at the state and county or parish level. The goal is to encourage Americans to preserve and share records of their families’ history, and for the residents of Idaho County, this website serves as a collective resource, a shared scrapbook/historical volume. If you have any questions about the site, or you’d like to add your own research, web mistress and Idaho County native Penny Bennett Casey is always happy to hear from you.
  26. Lowcountry Africana – This is a truly impressive expansion of the old site, showcasing a large collection of genealogy and history resources covering the African-American population of South Carolina and northeastern Florida, specifically the Gullah or Geechee culture originating on the old rice plantations. The collection is sponsored by the Magnolia Plantation Foundation of Charleston, South Carolina, and their account of the development of this unique culture is remarkable: the rice workers from Africa had a resistance to malaria not shared by the plantation owners, and thus they worked and lived with minimal oversight. As a result, much of the workers’ ancestral heritage of language and tradition was preserved in their new homeland, and it is now presented on Lowcountry Africana.
  27. Layers of the Onion – A Family History Exploration – Susan Weinberg is the blogger who created Layers of the Onion, and it details her search for her family’s roots, undertaken with the consciousness of her personal identity as a Jewish writer and artist and seen in the context of what it has meant, historically, to belong to that faith. Weinberg’s journey has taken her back many centuries, and across many miles to far-flung locales (Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus) that also require covering a great distance in terms of cultural and linguistic shifts. Her travels have helped Weinberg define herself as a person and as an artist.
  28. Kansas Heritage Group – The Kansas Heritage Group was a pioneer in the field of digital access to historical and genealogical records. The group takes great pride in the facts that as the Kansas History Gateway, it was the second WWW public web site, and in 2004 its creator received a public shout-out from internet patriarch Tim Berners-Lee. The odd family facts found in the Kansas family history links should not be missed: imagine a journey from California that takes so long your own children don’t recognize you when you return (Amsbury), or buying 160 acres of land for only $200 (Beedles), or living in such an unsettled era that voting for President Lincoln would make it impossible to buy land in the state of Missouri (Clogston) to get a sense of 19th century American life.

    Kansas Heritage Group

    1880 advertisement for land in Kansas. Courtesy of “Where to go to become rich: Farmers’, miners’ and tourists’ guide to Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado,” Chicago: Belford, Clarke & Co., 1880.

  29. Elrod Family History – The Elrod family comes from Germany, and they have meticulously assembled family documents drawn from many different sources to piece together a lengthy history, with a family tree containing over 55,000 names. You’ll see many posts containing material from Germany like a history of a city named Gefrees, which uses many quotes from a 19th century ancestor, one Anton Christian David Ellrodt (one of the older spellings of the name), and a note on the home page of a town called Kulmbach that credits Jacob Ellrod with drawing Kulmbach’s first plan in 1666. There’s even a French 10th cousin who sings opera.
  30. Goodwin Family History – The Goodwin Family History site is an online document repository, and it has been very neatly arranged using a site builder known as TNG, which uses a MySQL database foundation to hold whatever the family decides to upload (for example, photographs, written histories, cemeteries and headstones). There’s a quick-access menu to go directly to dates and anniversaries, places, and family statistics (1,236 people in the database along with 5,449 photos, earliest known birth is that of Josselyn Goodwin in 1414). As you can see, the site interface itself adds a great deal of helpful information about the family that updates automatically every time new data is added.
  31. Mallett Family History – The subtitle of the site is “Malet/Mallet/Mallett — from 1066 to the Present Day,” which is a very economical means of conveying the fact that the family originated in France and came over to England with William the Conqueror. The site itself has an interesting history, beginning in 1997 as a simple essay in family history research and then moving on to a detailed and thorough exploration of the surname itself, including placing several Mallett variants on record in the Guild of One-Name Studies registry. There’s a motivating intelligence behind the site design and its writing that is very engaging, and the explanation of its Mallett survey in terms of the one-name study is brilliantly clear.
  32. Wilson-Maynard Genealogy Pages – This site is also infused with a lively personality, as the URL of the home page informs the reader (here it is, in relevant part: “thispagedoesnotexist.html”). That is one of the old standbys from the precommercial internet, and it’s still a welcome universal signal denoting a light-hearted attitude. You can investigate the Maynard/Vail side of the family or head for the Wilson/Boggess family tree, if you prefer, and in either location you’ll see the web master has achieved a remarkable moving-backward-through-history effect by arranging the text and photo boxes for each family member from newest to oldest. It’s almost unnecessary to check dates, as you can see the photography techniques becoming more and more dated until the photographic record ends.
  33. Celtic-Casimir: Genealogical Links Page – That is an approximate title for the site, as it is evidently meant to be used as a collection of personal pages rather than a resource intended for public use. There are a number of skillfully executed designs in the Celtic style, some in color and some that remain in grayscale in order to highlight the fine line work, all credited to Australian artist Bernard Casimir. Casimir’s designs are the type of mesmerizing serendipitous discovery you’re liable to make at any moment on a family history site, and they make a visit to Celtic-Casimir highly recommended. There is also an extensive page of links to abstruse data sources (Collectanea topographica et genealogica, Dictionary of Victorian London, Fragmenta Genealogica).
  34. The Ancestor; a quarterly review of county and family history, heraldry and antiquities – This digital reproduction of the original 1904 volume demonstrates one of the highest and best uses of technology, and the book itself contains issues of an English periodical that drew its genealogical material from contributors who wished to share it with fellow enthusiasts. Without doubt, some of its contents will be found nowhere else, as can be inferred from a sample of the subjects (a putative Samborne family tree, letters from members of the Fane and Incledon families, genealogists’ histories of litigation in Chancery), and special poignance is derived from the dating of the volume itself to the decade before the first great war of the 20th century.
  35. Caudle Family History – The history of the Caudle family is the perfect counterpoint to a review of The Ancestor, providing a contrast of raw American vigor to set against the demure portrait of English country gentlemen anxious to record their heraldic devices. Created by J.R. Caudle as an homage to a genealogically inclined father (Preston Milford Caudle, Sr.), the site begins with a mysterious family crest (explication from knowledgeable members of the public is invited) and moves on to the origin of the Caudle name. Apparently it is derived from a location name, the parishes of Caldwell in Ripon and Peterborough (England).
  36. Our Family History – This simply titled site covers descendants of the following families: Pirtle, Pearson, Remington, Kimbrough, Harper, and their relatives. Like the Goodwin Family History, the site is built on top of a TNG database, and its organization is characteristically sound. Web master Patricia Ann Pirtle Durda has been elaborating this family history for decades, beginning in 1969, and has enlisted a number of contributors from among her family members. Do not miss the romantic tale of Douglas and JoAn Pirtle Dillard: Douglas first proposed at the age of 5, and finally won his heart’s desire 72 years later, and everyone who’s read that saga wishes them all the happiness in the world.
  37. Roger Williams – This site belongs to Roger Williams, who is not a descendant of the original person of that name who founded Rhode Island after being expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony but is related to Williams’ contemporary and fellow exile Anne Hutchinson. The 21st century Williams works in commercial web technologies, but the site reveals him as an outdoorsman and an artist, and his disquisition on his Huguenot forebears is nothing short of superb. After escaping religious persecution in France, his Marmoy, Malandain, and Le Doux ancestors settled in Spitalfields to weave silks, since the French industry had effectively set up shop in that location after the Edict of Nantes was revoked (1685).

    Roger Williams

    Engraved print depicting Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, meeting with the Narragansett Indians. Courtesy of New York Public Library (original engraving by James Charles Armytage).

  38. Holden-Cudworth, Wilson-Wason Ancestry – This new Canadian site lists four families that were united in 1970s Montreal by the marriage of a Holden and a Wilson. The Irish Holdens settled near Markham, Ontario around 1822, and the Scottish Wilsons arrived in Montreal in 1952. The Wasons, like the Wilsons, originated in Glasgow, and the Cudworths of Yorkshire came to Ontario at the beginning of the 20th century. Some of the collateral surnames like Ianson, Juriannse, and Thistlethwaite are very unusual, even unknown to the average reader. There is an 1898 study of the Cudworths of Sandal Magna and Darlington, including information on their engineering careers.
  39. The Ottolenghi Web Site – Ottolenghi is another name not commonly found in the U.S., and indeed these Ottolenghi or Ottolangui families are scattered abroad in Australia, Israel, and New Zealand. The family members who created the Ottolenghi site trace their ancestry back to David Ottolenghi of Livorno (Italy), born in 1730, who emigrated to London. David’s parents were Menahem Ottolenghi and Judica de Immanuel de Valletro, and the site contains a list of family members showing the name was sometimes anglicized to Langley (for example, Jacob Nathan Ottolangui became Jack Langley in Melbourne, Australia, and Marcus Lewis Ottolangui took the name Mark Louis Langley in Dunedin, New Zealand).
  40. My Family History – This site is recognized less often by its formal title and frequently by a memorable part of its URL, Gone2Texas (so named because both sides of web master D. A. McGee Core’s family did in fact end up in that state). The tale of Ms. McGee Core’s genealogical data illustrates the perils inherent in digital archiving, due to several severe losses of stored information, but her persistence paid off in a beautiful new website which includes a complete series of technical notes on how the reconstruction was accomplished. Don’t miss the collection of headstone photos from Greenlawn Memorial Park and Oak Bluff Memorial Park (Jefferson, Texas).
  41. My Tapley Tree…and its Branches – Web master Liz entertains with a vivid history of her years of research into the Tapley, Drake, Ranney, and Schwalls families of Georgia. After inheriting a steno pad on which her grandfather had kept his work on the Tapley family tree, the effort grew into the digital age and eventually became My Tapley Tree. There’s a fresh sense of the intertwining of everyday life with family history in the site’s schedule, where snippets of family history are specially selected for presentation on certain days (such as Tombstone Tuesday, Surname Saturday, even Military Monday with items like a recap of an uncle’s service during World War Two).
  42. Our Southern Heritage – Blog owner Ivan Lewis wrote the treatise of the same name detailing his family’s genealogy, including the Southern offshoots of the Lewis, McCartney, Chapman, and Sones families. He finally moved the book online in 2003, and has separate links for the book text and for each of the four families with which it’s concerned. Lewis has much to be proud of, because the genealogy pages are consistent, thorough, and obviously produced through a patient ongoing effort, a true labor of love. Lewis’ description of his residence in Arkansas is very funny: the property retains a large number of trees, and the house retains a wild raccoon, also large, in the ceilings.
  43. Terry Mason’s Family History Site – The Mason genealogy has amassed 62,529 names and the alphabetical index containing them spans many pages and includes a few rarities (Daffron, Faubion, Wodell, Yeiser). Each individual name has a link that takes you to that part of the site where the history of that person’s immediate family resides, and the organization is intuitive (which is fortunate, as the site is clearly designed for initiates rather than the public, and accordingly does not provide a site map). Anyone who has family from the South will find the place names to be resonant echoes of old towns found in pilgrimages along the blue-line highways (older roads whose traffic was diverted onto the newer interstate highway system in the 1960s).
  44. Branson / Cook Genealogy – The history of the Branson and Cook families can be accessed through systematically grouped and titled links, and much of the site’s content seems to be available from the home page. This provides a perfect example of the effectiveness with which an active mind can produce superior organization and ease of use when compared to a packaged website-solution type of design, because the Branson/Cook page is able to dispense with the design frills (menus, category links, cascading styles) endemic to many genealogy blogs without losing any capability. The Genealogy Links page is similarly well-crafted and clear, and anyone interested in beginning a research project could very well start here.
  45. Mariposa Footprints – This site was created by web master Tom as a gift for the future, addressed to his beloved granddaughter. It intends to relate the doings of those Margraves who lived in Mariposa County, California, between 1850 and 1918. Tom discovered an important truth known to everyone who tries to reconstruct the past through research: what any one person has experienced and been told about family history may have little to do with what you will find on paper when you delve into official records, and the Mariposa Footprints site attempts to communicate both versions of history. Don’t miss the Stories section, particularly the legal anecdote titled “Thomas Margrave Vs William G. Grable.”
  46. A Family History – This genealogy page lives on a Tolkien fan site, but the history collected here is very real, as the portrait photo of distinguished ancestress Edia Legnon Marceaux makes clear. There are 26 pages of family photographs and other images at 50 per page, meaning 1,300 images altogether, which makes a very impressive digital museum. These were assembled with a sense of humor, too: there’s a movie poster advertising El Cid (Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren) to represent ancestor Rodrigo Diaz of Vivar, who was the Cid of the film. That Rodrigo is sometimes confused with a later Cid of the same name, and A Family History is one of the few sites that sorts out the muddle properly.

    A Family History

    First lines of the Latin epic poem Carmen Campidoctoris, a life of El Cid. Courtesy of Infinauta, Wikimedia Commons.

  47. The Roane County Heritage Commission – The Roane County referred to here is the one located in Tennessee, which location is described by the commissioners in an almost poetic fashion: “in the Tennessee Valley, at the foothills of the Cumberland Plateau.” If you’ve ever wanted to imagine that region before the Tennessee Valley Authority altered the landscape and the culture, you can find a wealth of material here courtesy of Roane County. Incidentally, Roane County’s Heritage Commission was given the historic Roane County courthouse, built not long before the Civil War (1853-1854), which is currently being restored to its original luster.
  48. The Genealogy of Michael Steven COLE & Jeannie (JOHNS) COLE – The Cole family’s interest in genealogy began in the mid-1960s when father Michael was given a Bible with a blank genealogy chart printed inside. He enlisted his grandmother’s help and started to fill in the tree in July of 1974. If you have not yet heard of an ahnentafel, or ancestor table, there is an excellent example provided by the Coles, complete with index and well-written instructions. The ahnentafel‘s most interesting feature is that it lets you assess degrees of relationships with one glance at the numbers assigned to individuals.
  49. Mitchell family tree blog – The Mitchell family tree blog is subtitled “Digging up my ancestors,” which as a prologue is irresistible. Interestingly, the site unites two previously mentioned elements, Margrave relatives and Roane County history since the Roane County Heritage Commission generously contributed some of the documents found here. The initial post, a touching memoir called “Reflection,” contains memories of the author’s father and childhood experiences (hiding in a hay barn, feeding ducks, picking blackberries amid the brambles), ending with a last conversation in the hospital and a moment of recognition. The Mitchell family tree uses a number of census record images from the 19th century, and they are both well preserved and clearly digitized.
  50. Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites – Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites is a repository of facts, some historical and some current, about royalty, titled persons, and other figures and traditions of a bygone age. It is delightfully eccentric– where else can you find news items about the trust rating of new King Filip of Belgium, or a historical biography of Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet, Chevalier of the Order of Leopold, or the recent wedding of Prince Muhammad Ali of Egypt and Princess Noal Zaher of Afghanistan? More importantly for the student of European genealogy, the sources linked in the site serve as a list of collectors of the type of ancestry-oriented minutiae in which scholars delight.

50 Best Genetics Professors of 2013

We’d like to present our nominations for the top fifty genetics professors of 2013, and these were not easy choices to make. How much weight should be given to a gifted classroom instructor as compared to a prolific publisher, a stirring lecturer, a genius in work with animal subjects, a bioinformatics wunderkind, a designer of the models used by the rest of the researchers, and so on? In the end, we selected professors based on all those criteria, finding the fifty who have given the most of themselves over the years to enlarge the body of human knowledge on who we are and how we acquired our human characteristics.

  1. 1_Hans_C._Andersson_MD.jpgHans C. Andersson, MD – Dr. Andersson’s title is Director of the Hayward Genetics Center, which is part of Tulane University’s medical school. He holds the Karen Gore Professorship in human genetics and heads Hayward’s Biochemical Genetics Lab. Building on his training at home (National Institutes of Health) and abroad (University of Göttingen), which focused on clinical genetics and cell biology, Dr. Andersson moved on to study hereditary genetic disorders that affect human metabolism. As co-chairman of the National Coordinating Center Telegenetics Workgroup, he combines interests in telemedicine and genetics, and in his work with the Region 3 Genetics and Newborn Screening Collaborative Dr. Andersson makes valuable contributions to local emergency preparations.
  2. 2_George_M._Church.jpgGeorge M. Church – Dr. Church teaches genetics at Harvard Medical School, and is internationally famed for developing the original direct genomic sequencing method, permitting researchers to map any organism’s full genetic profile. He was one of the scientists who formulated the Human Genome Project, a global research project that would not have been possible without genomic sequencing. Dr. Church’s lab work in the Harvard Molecular Technology Group & Lipper Center for Computational Genetics continues his development of ways to study human genes using guided synthetic biology. Dr. Church’s other professional interests include producing strains of bacteria that create biofuels.
  3. 3_Richard_Baer_Ph.D..jpgRichard Baer Ph.D. – Dr. Baer obtained his Ph.D. from Rutgers. He joined the teaching staff of Columbia University Medical Center in 1999 and currently serves as Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology. Dr. Baer is noted for his ongoing cancer research, which includes the identification and study of proto-oncogenes (genes that can become cancer-causing versions of themselves) and of the pathways by which certain biological substances suppress malignant tumors. His research received its first government grant from the National Cancer Institute in 1987, the last year of his post-doctoral fellowship at Cambridge University (UK), and continues to set high academic standards. Dr. Baer also holds the titles of Deputy Director of the CUMC Institute for Cancer Genetics and Associate Director for Basic Science of the CUMC Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  4. 4_Scott_D._Emr.jpgScott D. Emr – Dr. Emr, who is the director of Cornell University’s Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology, also holds the post of Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of 1956 Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics. He earned his doctorate in molecular genetics at Harvard Medical School in 1981, and after several professorships in the University of California system he arrived at Cornell in 2007, the same year in which he received the prestigious Avanti Prize for his study of lipid signaling. Dr. Emr especially treasures his prizes for youthful accomplishments (Searle Scholars Award, NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award) and his national memberships (National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and American Academy of Microbiology).
  5. 5_David_E._Levin.jpgDavid E. Levin – Dr. Levin has chaired the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology belonging to the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine at Boston University since 2011. He concentrates on cell metabolism, particularly the molecular conduits of communication among different groups of cells, and uses the fast-replicating baker’s yeast to study the effects of stress on genetic expression. Dr. Levin’s research has great potential for use in gene therapy, and his immediate efforts are aimed at discovering ways to attack fungal growth at the cellular level in order to develop antifungal drugs. The effortless clarity of Levin’s descriptions of research topics elevates his writing above that of many geneticists.
  6. 6_Russ_B._Altman.jpgRuss B. Altman – Dr. Altman is the Kenneth Fong Professor at Stanford School of Medicine, and his versatility has earned him professorships in four fields: bioengineering, genetics, medicine, and an honorary professorship in computer science. Dr. Altman’s research takes place at the intersection of computer engineering and molecular science, in a field called bioinformatics that uses computer modeling to study molecular biology. He studies the ways in which the structures of proteins and RNA control their biological functions, both on a cellular level and as part of a genomic series. Dr. Altman’s computational biology techniques are valued by drug manufacturers like Novartis.
  7. 7_Carlos_A._Bacino_M.D..jpgCarlos A. Bacino, M.D. – Dr. Bacino is known as a premier clinician in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, directing the care of patients who have hereditary disorders (particularly skeletal dysplasia and Angelman/Prader Willi Syndrome, an imprinting failure in which the suppression of a small group of genes leads to problems in physical development). Dr. Bacino heads the Kleberg Cytogenetics Laboratory, studying malformed chromosomes and imperfect replication of genes with the goal of learning how to treat disease by reversing genetic damage. He serves as medical director of Baylor’s Pediatric Genetics Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital.
  8. 8_Arthur_Landy_PHD.jpgArthur Landy, PHD – Dr. Landy achieved national renown in 2008 when he lent his voice to the Louisiana Coalition for Science in an effort to block the passage of a bill permitting the substitution of creationism for evolutionary biology in public schools. As the Louisiana governor’s former genetics teacher at Brown University, Dr. Landy was particularly well positioned to advocate for science in the classroom, and he has continued to teach there while building his reputation as a researcher focusing on genetic recombination and how it affects the evolution and expression of genes. He also studies a small group of proteins that control the behavior of a wide array of genes and have a characteristic effect on the physical configuration of DNA.
  9. 9_Peter_Benn_Ph.D..jpgPeter Benn, Ph.D. – Dr. Benn holds degrees in genetics and physics from the University of St. Andrews (which is the oldest university in Scotland), and in radiobiology and cancer studies from the University of Birmingham. He is currently employed at the University of Connecticut Health Center as director of the Diagnostic Human Genetics Laboratories, and student positions in his popular lab rotations are very difficult to secure. Dr. Benn specializes in research on how to identify fetuses at risk for possessing abnormal numbers of chromosomes and improve prenatal screening to minimize its invasive nature. His other primary interest is in using observed changes in chromosomes to diagnose various cancers.
  10. Michael L. Whitfield, Ph.D. – Dr. Whitfield earned his doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and joined the Dartmouth faculty in order to teach genetics in the molecular and cellular biology graduate programs at the Geisel School of Medicine. Dr. Whitfield wrote the Paper of the Year for the American Society for Cell Biology (2002), and his other honors include V Scholar for Cancer Research and Hulda Irene Duggan Arthritis Investigator. He enjoys his membership in racing bike Team HUP United, a club where top cyclists go to relax by riding in the countryside, and his latest research success involves a much-needed treatment for systemic sclerosis.
  11. 11_Paul_B_McCray_M.D.jpgPaul B McCray M.D – Dr. McCray is a mainstay of the University of Iowa’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics, designing research in the fields of human, molecular, and biochemical genetics. As a professor of pediatrics with an interest in cystic fibrosis, his laboratory work has two emphases: studying changes in the lungs’ mucosal immunity that occur as responses to disease, and developing practical uses of viral vectors in gene therapy for inherited lung conditions. Dr. McCray’s laboratory page gives a sense of his delight in discovery and attention to detail (you will note coffee has its own profile image, with the caption “Lab Motivational Tool”).
  12. 12_Professor_Stephen_Robertson.jpgProfessor Stephen Robertson – Professor Robertson is the Child Health Research Foundation Professor of Paediatric Genetics and also holds the New Zealand Curekids professorship at the University of Otago (Dunedin), where he received his original medical degree before moving to various schools in Australia to study clinical genetics. As the Nuffield Medical Fellow at Oxford University, he elucidated some of the genetic bases for hereditary deformities, particularly a class of genes called filamins which are actin-binding proteins that play a large role in cell signaling. Professor Robertson’s research is so highly regarded that the Cure Kids foundation just allotted an extra million dollars over a five-year period to fund his work.
  13. 13_Professor_Nazneen_Rahman.jpgProfessor Nazneen Rahman – Professor Rahman is well known for her research in identifying genetic predispositions to cancer, which has successfully described numerous new genetic mechanisms in both breast cancer and pediatric cancers by studying thousands of UK families who volunteered for assistance. Remarkably, she heads both the Institute of Cancer Research’s Division of Genetics and Epidemiology and the Cancer Genetics Clinical Academic Unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital (London and Surrey). Professor Rahman’s determination to implement her experimental findings in a practical setting makes her uniquely qualified to advise doctors around the world on how to spot and treat rare genetic cancers.
  14. 14_John_R._Gilbert_Ph.D..jpgJohn R. Gilbert, Ph.D. – Dr. Gilbert holds a professorship in the University of Miami Health System at the Miller School of Medicine’s Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics. He is regarded as an éminence grise in genomic technology, and his research on the molecular genetics of autism, Alzheimer disease, central nervous system disorders, and tuberculosis is targeted at perfecting experimental models that generalize from animal subjects to humans as well as toward finding new treatments for those conditions. Dr. Gilbert’s long working hours are divided between the Center for Genome Technology and the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics.
  15. 15_Madhuri_Hegde_PhD_FACMG.jpgMadhuri Hegde, PhD, FACMG – As executive director of the prestigious Emory Genetics Lab (Emory University), Dr. Hegde applies her bioinformatics skills to analyzing genetic mutations in experimental settings, clarifying the complex interactions of groups of genes that contribute to particular genetic diseases. As a clinician, she concentrates on speeding up genetic sequencing models of the less well-known disorders, using robotics and sequence capture together with biological testing methods to develop complete diagnostic portraits of genetic conditions like muscular dystrophy and mental retardation. Her early reliance on gene panel testing as opposed to whole-genome sequencing is one of many examples of Dr. Hegde’s decisive leadership.
  16. 16_Maurice_Jeremiah_Mahoney_MD_JD.jpgMaurice Jeremiah Mahoney MD, JD – Dr. Mahoney is a polymath, holding three professorships in genetics, obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, and pediatrics. He received his M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1962 and his J.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1994, and has been featured in many news stories about the accomplishments of Yale’s medical researchers. Dr. Mahoney’s principal interests are clinical genetics, ethics in research that uses human subjects, and prenatal diagnosis of various diseases. In 2001, he participated in the development of methods to pinpoint accurate Down syndrome diagnoses using physical measurements in addition to standard genetic testing.
  17. 17_Klaus_H._Kaestner_Ph.D..jpgKlaus H. Kaestner, Ph.D. – Dr. Kaestner has been named Thomas and Evelyn Suor Butterworth Professor in Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, and is expert in cell and molecular biology, genomics and computational biology, and pharmacology. His list of preferred laboratory techniques in data analysis includes ChIP-sequencing, RNA-sequencing, gene targeting to alter endogenous genes, and various methods of interfering with the production of genes by editing strands of DNA. Dr. Kaestner studies molecular processes in the functioning of the liver, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract with the goal of examining diseases like diabetes and cancer, and his usual experimental animal is the mouse.
  18. 18_Sally_A._Camper_Ph.D..jpgSally A. Camper, Ph.D. – Dr. Camper holds several positions at the University of Michigan’s medical school: James V. Neel Professor, chair of the Department of Human Genetics, and professor in the Department of Internal Medicine. Her research deals with the role of genetics in birth defects that affect the neuroendocrine and auditory systems and the development of the skeleton. Dr. Camper’s two primary experimental methods involve the use of DNA sequencing to find new pathogenic genes, and using either mice or cultures of cells to observe disease processes. Her list of awards spans the years between 1989 (the March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar award) and 2012 (American Association for the Advancement of Science).
  19. 19_Daniel_S._Rokhsar.jpgDaniel S. Rokhsar – Dr. Rokhsar, who teaches genetics, genomics, and development in the Molecular & Cell Biology program at the University of California, Berkeley, relies on the skillful use of computational genome analysis in comparative developmental biology to investigate how animals originated, diversified, and continued to evolve. His studies of sea creatures are noted, particularly his work with worms and shellfish that once shared an unusual larval phase called the trochophore and still share distinctive cleavage patterns as embryos. Dr. Rokhsar also uses the evolutionary history of eumetazoans (that is, most animals other than sponges) to trace the evolutionary progress of the nervous system.
  20. 20_Sidney_Kushner.jpgSidney Kushner – Dr. Kushner has achieved the status of Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Genetics at the University of Georgia, an honor given only to those who have excelled in their research endeavors over a period of many years. His 2013 awards include the Lamar Dodd Award and the Division H Lecturer post in the American Society for Microbiology, and his current studies spotlight the life cycle of RNA molecules in E. coli, because RNA is responsible for converting genetic instructions into functioning proteins. Dr. Kushner is one of the scientists credited with developing a less complex means of isolating RNA from bacterial cultures.
  21. 21_Abraham_Palmer_Ph.D..jpgAbraham Palmer, Ph.D. – Dr. Palmer serves as an associate professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, having obtained his doctorate in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California San Diego in 1999. He studies the effect of genetic variation on the risk of psychiatric illnesses, using mice to observe the changes produced by the interaction of groups of genes with each other and with external factors in the course of a disease. In a collateral branch of that research, Dr. Palmer describes the action of genes that convey varying degrees of drug sensitivity, which is an important avenue for substance abuse research.
  22. 22_David_Baum.jpgDavid Baum – Dr. Baum graduated from the Washington University doctoral program in 1991, then came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue laboratory research, where he still teaches in the Botany and Genetics department. He prefers plant genetics, identifying changes in genetic structures that result in various plant phenotypes and using differences in gene sequences to travel back along evolutionary paths that reveal hereditary relationships. Dr. Baum enjoys studying the spurge family, a group of mostly tropical herbs and trees, and by sequencing two genes in the Caribbean slipper spurge discovered the first example of a ring species known to botanists.
  23. 23_Frank_Collins.jpgFrank Collins – Dr. Collins, who is the George and Winifred Clark Professor of Biological Sciences in the University of Notre Dame’s biology department, is at the forefront of genetic research on insects that spread diseases to humans. He studies the genomes of disease-carrying arthropods, and does fieldwork to supplement his lab studies of the Gambian anopheles mosquito, which is the most active carrier of malaria in the sub-Sahara. One especially exciting aspect of Dr. Collins’ laboratory is its bioinformatics mission, using a grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund a database that collects his arthropod genomics data.
  24. 24_Michael_Benedik.jpgMichael Benedik – Dr. Benedik is a well-loved professor and graduate advisor belonging to the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University. Dr. Benedik began his genetics research after graduating from the University of Chicago in 1976, detailing the effect of mobile genetic elements (pieces of DNA that can travel around within a genome) on drug resistance in bacteria. After earning his doctorate from Stanford University in 1982, he embarked on a career teaching microbiology, molecular biology, and genetics. Dr. Benedik’s current research involves the movement of proteins across the cell membranes of bacteria, including a class of proteins called the bacteriocidal colicins that kill bacteria by attacking the genome.
  25. 25_Wayne_W._Grody_M.D._Ph.D..jpgWayne W. Grody, M.D., Ph.D. – Dr. Grody holds professorships in three departments at the UCLA School of Medicine: Human Genetics, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, and Pediatrics. He is chief of the divisions of Molecular Pathology, Cytogenetics, and Orphan Disease, and director of the Diagnostic Molecular Pathology Laboratory. Dr. Grody is entrusted with the very important task of ensuring quality and setting ethical policy for DNA testing by various industries and government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and the NIH-DOE Human Genome Project. Two practical applications for his genetics research are testing maternal DNA to reveal chromosomal abnormalities and developing molecular tests for cancer.
  26. 26_David_S._Fay_Ph.D..jpgDavid S. Fay Ph.D. – Dr. Fay takes great pride in running the “Wyoming Worm Lab” in the University of Wyoming’s Department of Molecular Biology and directing the school’s Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences Program. Dr. Fay recently scored a great success with his original use of the nematode and popular research subject known as C. (for Caenorhabditis) elegans, in which he isolated a mutant gene equivalent of the human pRb, which can suppress the growth of malignant tumors, and controlled its activity by inhibiting other genes. He is intrigued by genetic redundancy, and intends to continue his research in order to discover exactly how genes with the capacity to substitute for other inhibited genes work.
  27. 27_Barak_A._Cohen_PhD.jpgBarak A. Cohen, PhD – Dr. Cohen, who is the Alvin Goldfarb Distinguished Professor of Computational Biology in the Department of Genetics at the Washington University in St. Louis, specializes in that combination of genetics, molecular biology, and computer science called computational biology. His two present lines of investigation are identifying the specific genetic bases of phenotypic variations in yeast, with the aim of predicting a person’s physiology from a genetic profile, and prediction of how a gene will be expressed by studying its promoter, the portion of DNA that begins transcription of the gene. Predictive models play to computing’s strengths, and using a computer to address phenotypic prediction in genetics is a very promising concept.
  28. 28_David_A._Sinclair_Ph.D..jpgDavid A. Sinclair, Ph.D. – Dr. Sinclair doubles as a professor in both the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of New South Wales (Australia). He studies the function of genes in the aging process, investigating what happens to the body as organisms grow older and why age brings increased risk of disease, and has succeeded in delaying the aging process in experiments with populations of mice, in which genes like sirtuins and small molecules like resveratrol (found in red wine) were proven to work together to produce an anti-aging effect.
  29. 29_Brian_M._Kemp.jpgBrian M. Kemp – Dr. Kemp analyzes DNA in prehistoric human populations and compares it to modern samples as part of his exploration of Native American anthropology. He obtained his doctorate at the University of California-Davis, and teaches molecular anthropology in Washington State University’s Department of Anthropology, correlating what is known about cultural events like population shifts with changes in prehistoric genomes, and part of his research concerns the improvement of laboratory methods for working with ancient DNA. In addition to genomes of the American Southwest, Dr. Kemp has traveled southward to study DNA belonging to the former inhabitants of Mesoamerica and the Andes.
  30. 30_David_Glover.jpgDavid Glover – Professor Glover has the rare honor of being the current Balfour Professor of Genetics at Cambridge University (UK), one of the greatest distinctions one can achieve in that field. His research group focuses on genetic regulation of cell division in fruit flies, in which the cycle of embryonic mitosis is exceptionally rapid. Using mutant genes, Professor Glover has successfully isolated several genes that direct the production of enzymes critical to controlling mitosis, and has found some of them at elevated levels in tumors, which yields an important clue in suppressing the development of malignancies. He accepts speaking engagements at various international conferences in cancer research.
  31. 31_Trudy_F._C._Mackay.jpgTrudy F. C. Mackay – Dr. Mackay comes to the genetics program at North Carolina State University from Scotland, having earned her doctorate at the University of Edinburgh and completed her post-doctoral work at Dalhousie University. She is the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished University Professor of Genetics and an honorary member of the Entomology department. Dr. Mackay also prefers to use flies in her experimental work on variation in quantitative traits like blood type. She is engaged in mapping quantitative trait locus (QTL) alleles using a fascinating new collection of genomic information called the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel, which contains the DNA of 192 known strains of fruit fly.
  32. 32_Masashi_Yanagisawa_M.D._Ph.D..jpgMasashi Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. – Dr. Yanagisawa has the title of Patrick E. Haggerty Distinguished Chair in Basic Biomedical Science in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He recognized his calling at a very early age, accompanying his father to a research laboratory in Japan to study the stomach’s muscular activity and publishing his own study of proteins that trigger vascular construction immediately upon finishing his doctorate. Dr. Yanagisawa is best known for his discovery of a substance in the brain that stimulates hunger, a protein we now know as orexin, which led to a greater understanding of the condition called narcolepsy.
  33. 33_Associate_Professor_Kevin_Carpenter_PhD_FFScRCPA_FHGSA.jpgAssociate Professor Kevin Carpenter PhD, FFSc(RCPA), FHGSA – Professor Carpenter, who is attached to the Genetic Medicine department in Children’s Hospital, Westmead as an academic representing the University of Sydney, specializes in reproductive health and mother/child health. His ongoing research, funded by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council, uses a very special type of experimental animal, the chimeric mouse. Such mice have livers that contain human cells, and Professor Carpenter uses them to study gene transfer and phenotype correction of different types of liver cells. He takes great pride in his selection as president of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia, and is considered an expert in its history.
  34. 34_Rando_Allikmets_Ph.D..jpgRando Allikmets, Ph.D. – Dr. Allikmets serves as the Acquavella Associate Professor in both the Department of Ophthalmology and the Department of Pathology & Cell Biology at Columbia University Medical Center, and he holds the post of research director at Harkness Eye Institute. He insists on practical applications for his experimental work, using a three-step design to translate laboratory discoveries about retinal disease into targeted treatments for individual patients. Dr. Allikmets has collaborated with a biotech manufacturer in Estonia to create special diagnostic chips that can precisely identify genetic variants that cause disease, for the purpose of diagnosis, and he takes a particular interest in Stargardt macular dystrophy.
  35. 35_Daniel_Garrigan.jpgDaniel Garrigan – Dr. Garrigan, an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Rochester, runs the Garrigan Laboratory for Population Genomics to study the genetic changes that occur during the evolution of new species, using fruit flies to map genetic flow among emerging species in an effort to explain how those individuals become unable to mate with members of other species. He is building a new general speciation model that is coalescent-based (that is, designed around the theory that all alleles in a population trace back to one ancestor gene) and contains four separate types of genetic divergence to cover all known cases of speciation.
  36. 36_Philip_N._Benfey.jpgPhilip N. Benfey – Dr. Benfey concentrates on researching various topics in the genetics and genomics of plant development, acting as the Paul Kramer Professor in Duke University’s Biology Department. He is renowned for his use of computational biology techniques in analyzing live images of gene expression in individual cells belonging to roots grown in the lab by seedlings, which included 12 separate lines of transgenic reporters and involved initial scanning at low resolution followed by high-resolution capture of targeted areas. One of Dr. Benfey’s goals is to find transcriptional genes that encode all the cell types found in a root.
  37. 37_A._Javier_López.jpgA. Javier López – Dr. López earned his doctorate at Duke University, then moved from research at Stanford to an associate professorship at Carnegie Mellon University in the Department of Biological Sciences. He is currently pursuing a study of alternative splicing in messenger RNA, a process by which one gene can control the formation of many different proteins, which multiplies the complexity of an organism relative to its genome. Changes in alternative splicing can foster the growth of cancers and encourage other genetically linked diseases, so this line of inquiry is potentially of great therapeutic value. Dr. López is also investigating the role of large introns, which affect the timing of gene expression.
  38. 38_Rudolph_E._Tanzi_PhD.jpgRudolph E. Tanzi, PhD – Dr. Tanzi fills two demanding positions as Harvard University’s Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Child Neurology and Mental Retardation and as the director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit belonging to the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, practicing at MassGeneral. He has been studying the molecular and genetic foundations of neurological disorders for over three decades, beginning with his discovery of the gene responsible for Huntington’s disease and currently focusing on the genetic causes of Alzheimer’s. Dr. Tanzi is also noted for his contribution of an organ track to a recent Aerosmith album.
  39. 39_Antony_M._Jose.jpgAntony M. Jose – Dr. Jose, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Maryland, is also a fan of the C. elegans worm for research purposes and is using it to study the movement of double-stranded RNA (dRNA). dRNA has the ability to turn off gene expression, and that silencing effect is transferred between cells and from one generation to another, which makes it an important part of cell regulation and animal evolution. Dr. Jose’s study of mutant genes that do not have the silencing capacity will help elucidate the pathways by which dRNA is able to move around.
  40. 40_Guillermina_Gigi_Lozano_Ph.D..jpgGuillermina (Gigi) Lozano, Ph.D. – Dr. Lozano is both professor and chair of the Department of Genetics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and she holds a simultaneous appointment in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She has a practical interest in studying genes that suppress tumors, and is currently developing a unique group of mice to elaborate the changes produced by mutation of the p53 gene, which normally responds to any injury in DNA by triggering a repair protein. Because Dr. Lozano’s mice have the same p53 mutation found in human cancers, they are prone to metastatic cancers that are suitable for studying p53′s operation and its role in inhibiting the onset of tumor formation.
  41. 41_Professor_Timothy_Aitman.jpgProfessor Timothy Aitman – Professor Aitman of the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine is much in demand, fulfilling the duties of chair in Clinical and Molecular Genetics at the Imperial College (London) and Consultant Physician at the Imperial Academic Health Sciences Centre. He also heads the Section of Molecular Genetics and Rheumatology, and as Strategic Theme Leader for Genetics, he led the push by Imperial’s Molecular Pathology Group to win a grant for building a remarkable new laboratory, which opened in 2011. Professor Aitman’s forte is combining traditional genetics models with newer genomic techniques to advance our knowledge of physical syndromes that lead to diabetes and heart disease.
  42. 42_Aravind_Asokan_PhD.jpgAravind Asokan, PhD – The University of North Carolina School of Medicine recently announced that Dr. Asokan, an assistant professor of genetics, is one of four scientists to receive an Outstanding New Investigator Award from the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. Dr. Asokan is intrigued by the rapid evolution of viruses and their potential utility as genetic carriers of therapeutic agents, and his work in hybridizing viruses in order to fit them for special uses in laboratory work with molecules and in the treatment of defective genes is an impressive debut. He particularly enjoys tinkering with adeno-associated virus capsids and retroviruses.
  43. Professor Mark Hughes, MD, PhD – Professor Hughes earned a doctorate in molecular biochemistry at the University of Arizona Medical Center and an M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine, producing seminal research in genetic mutations that affect the vitamin D receptors found in humans suffering from rickets. The origin of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, which identifies genetic predispositions in embryos, can be traced to his work with a group of reproductive scientists in London, an accomplishment that prompted his inclusion in the original cohort of 11 in the Human Genome Institute at NIH, which is still arguably the most prestigious appointment possible in the field of genetics.
  44. 44_Arthur_L._Horwich_M.D.jpgArthur L. Horwich, M.D – Dr. Horwich is listed as both Sterling Professor of Genetics and Professor of Pediatrics in the Biological & Biomedical Sciences Program at Yale University, and has also held the post of investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1990. His research took up the topic of how proteins are imported into mitochondria, which led him to the discovery of a molecular mechanism known as protein folding, in which a protein takes the characteristic shape that determines its physiological function. He has undertaken exhaustive studies of how folding takes place, learning that it is supervised by chaperone molecules that guide the process carefully in the cramped confines of a single cell, and is currently researching diseases that result when folding goes awry.
  45. 45_Thomas_D._Petes_PhD.jpgThomas D. Petes, PhD – Dr. Petes, who is the Minnie Geller Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University School of Medicine, was recently awarded the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal, given for lifetime achievement in genetics studies by the Genetics Society of America. He typically uses yeast in the laboratory, and studies disruption in the genome, particularly abnormalities in chromosomes, in order to further our understanding of the process by which normal cells are converted to cancer. Dr. Petes has found that yeast cells are very like human cells in terms of repairing damaged DNA and ensuring chromosomes’ ends remain intact.
  46. 46_Joe_Thornton_Ph.D..jpgJoe Thornton, Ph.D. – Dr. Thornton obtained his Ph.D. in biological sciences at Columbia University in 2000, and currently teaches at the University of Chicago in two departments, Human Genetics and Ecology & Evolution. His research interest lies in the means by which the complexity of genes, the proteins they code for, and the resulting organism increase over time, and this study of evolutionary biology at the molecular level recently led to a recent discovery of great moment. Dr. Thornton has pinpointed a sudden advance in human evolution that took place 500 million years ago, caused by two genetic mutations that allowed primitive estrogen receptors to acquire the capability to recognize other hormones.
  47. 47_Professor_Peter_Farndon_CBE.jpgProfessor Peter Farndon, CBE – Professor Farndon is employed as Director of the NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre, having recently retired from a long practice as Consultant Clinical Geneticist but retained his teaching post in Clinical Genetics at the University of Birmingham. He was founder and chairman of both the Joint Committee on Medical Genetics and the UK Genetic Testing Network, and was recognized in the 2011 Queen’s birthday honors list as Commander of the British Empire because of his lifetime contribution to genetics. Professor Farndon is known and loved as the scientist to identify the genetic basis of Gorlin syndrome, or nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome, which produces cancers of the skin and jaw and can affect entire families.
  48. 48_Professor_Uta_Francke.jpgProfessor Uta Francke – Professor Francke earned her medical degree from the University of Munich (Germany), and is now professor emeritus of Genetics and Pediatrics at Stanford University, teaching two subjects (medical and molecular genetics and clinical genetics). In 2010, she was appointed as the Senior Medical Director of a genetic testing firm called 23andMe, which provides a useful panel concerning inherited conditions and medical predispositions. Her recent work has been in developing an experimental model using mice to study deletion syndromes in humans that lead to incomplete chromosomes. Professor Francke’s honors are too numerous to list, but include the National Marfan Foundation’s coveted Antoine Marfan Award.
  49. 49_Lauren_McIntyre.jpgLauren McIntyre – Dr. McIntyre takes a novel approach to her genetics work, using her bioinformatics skills to marshal large quantities of experimental data gathered using various species with the goal of engendering answers to large-scale questions in genetics. As an instructor in the University of Florida College of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, she directs the McIntyre Lab’s research projects in modeling genetic information and the proteins genes encode to explain how organisms work and elucidate relationships between genes and phenotypes. Her background in biometry (Duke), biostatistics (Veterans Affairs Medical Center), and agronomy and computational genomics (Purdue) fits her well for that endeavor.
  50. 50_Juan_M._Acuña_MD_MSc.jpgJuan M Acuña, MD, MSc – Dr. Acuña came to Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine by a circuitous route, beginning his medical education in his native Colombia and traveling to the University of Wisconsin’s Mount Sinai Medical Center for his clinical genetics training. At different stops along his route he took in the subjects of fetal medicine and epidemiology, and now teaches both Human and Molecular Genetics and Obstetrics and Gynecology as an associate professor. Dr. Acuña gives lectures around the world, publishes his monographs in both English and Spanish, and is much in demand as a team leader.