Welcome to the UGA!

UGA Mission Statement

The Utah Genealogical Association provides genealogical information, sources and education through personal instruction and published media on state, national and international family history topics, while promoting high standards and ethical practices.

UGA Information

The Utah Genealogical Association was formally organized on September 25, 1971, and chartered on December 1, 1971, by the State of Utah as a nonprofit educational organization. The Association's interests are worldwide while still providing specific materials of interest relating to Utah. It is not affiliated with any religious or political organization.

The Association is governed by an Executive Committee comprised of the President, 1st Vice-President, and 2nd Vice-President plus a Board of Governors. Members of the Board are elected by the general membership of the Association and serve for a period of three years.

In addition, dozens of volunteers serve on various committees, staff booths at conferences, and work behind the scenes to assure the membership a vibrant, collegial, and enjoyable Association.

The Association publishes Crossroads, a quarterly journal of general interest in the field of genealogy and family history. The journal is sent to the general membership of the Association and is also available to the membership in an electronic edition on this website.

Association members can share information on specific surnames through our Surname Research page. We sponsor an annual meeting wherein outstanding service and accomplishments are recognized and awarded.

Also available to members is the opportunity to participate in a monthly "virtual chapter" meeting wherein experts in various aspects of genealogy and family history make hour-long presentations on their areas of expertise. These presentations are then archived for member review and access at any time.

UGA By-Laws

The latest revision of the Utah Genealogical Association ByLaws was approved on 13 April 2019, drafted by an ad-hoc Bylaws Committee made up of UGA Board members.

Operating Year: April 2020 - March 2021

Board of Directors
Director (2021): Tanner Tolman, AG
Director (2021): Michael Strauss, AG
Director (2021): Tristan Tolman, AG
Director (2021): Elizabeth Miller
Director (2022): Lynne Shumway
Director (2022): Zachary Hamilton
Director (2022): Gerhard Ruf
Director (2022): Kelly Summers, AG
Director (2023): Mike Bronner
Director (2023): Peggy Lauritzen
Director (2023): Julia A. Anderson, AG
Director (2023): Irene Rossman
Executive Committee
President: Kelly Summers, AG
First Vice-President: Elizabeth Miller
Second Vice-President: Tristan Tolman, AG
Administrative Assistant: Whitney Tolman
Executive Secretary: Claudia Sudweeks
Treasurer: Jim Fredrickson
Past President: Vacant
Webmaster: Mike Bronner
Director: Peg Ivanyo
Chapter Support Committee
Chair: Julia A. Anderson, AG
Co-Chair: Zachary Hamilton
Conferences Committee
Chair: Elizabeth Miller
Co-Chair: Michael Strauss, AG
Crossroads Publication
Editor: Gena Philibert-Ortega
Education Committee
Chair: Kelly Summers, AG
First Families Committee
Chair: Tanner Tolman, AG
Membership Committee
Chair: Zachary Hamilton
NGS 2020 Committee
Chair: Tristan Tolman, AG
Outreach Committee
Chair: Tristan Tolman, AG
Technology Committee
Chair: Mike Bronner

Board of Directors Profiles

Julia Anderson, AG

Julia has been fascinated by family history and genealogy her entire life. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and University Honors from Brigham Young University in 1993 and recently became an Accredited Genealogist®, specializing in the United States Gulf South Region. Julia and her husband, Jared, have eight children and one grandchild and live in Provo.

Mike Bronner

Mike develops web applications and deciphers old handwritten German documents for genealogists. In his spare time he researches his own family lines, and is always eager to learn about and discuss genealogical research methodologies, business processes, and solo-preneur strategies.

Mike has been working in web application development since 1996 in various programming languages and technologies. He is currently developing modern web applications for genealogists using cutting-edge technologies. He also consults small businesses on their technology stack, including email servers, web hosting, VOIP PBX, and team collaboration.

Elizabeth Miller

Elizabeth (Liz) Cays Miller’s love for genealogy was nurtured in her as a child, took hold as a teenager, and has continued throughout her life. She formally trained for research in Spain, Latin America, and the southern states of the U.S.A. at Brigham Young University, while
newer research opportunities have allowed her to broaden her knowledge and expand her skills. She especially enjoys on-site archival research and has researched at archives in Spain, Ecuador, Scotland, Wales, Canada, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Utah.

Currently, Liz works as a contract researcher for Legacy Tree Genealogists and serves UGA on several committees and as 1st Vice-President, where she has worked with the Conference Committee, Exhibits and Sales, UGA Membership and Volunteer Committee, and the Technology Committee. She has helped out with the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and will represent UGA at the FGS Society Days at Fort Wayne, Indiana in August 2018.

Liz hopes to help others make new discoveries about their family history and to see them become excited about learning. She would like to generate enthusiasm among UGA members and help them become more involved with the organization.

Michael Strauss, AG

Michael L. Strauss, AG, is an Accredited Genealogist and a nationally recognized genealogical lecturer. A native of Pennsylvania and a resident of Utah, he has been employed as a Forensic Investigator for 25 years. Strauss holds a BA in History and is a United States Coast Guard veteran and a licensed Private Investigator. He is also a qualified expert witness in court in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia and approved genealogist with the United States Army to locate DNA qualified persons MIA from Korea, Vietnam, and World War II.

Michael was the film historian for the 2015 Academy nominated film "Finding Vivian Maier" He has been involved in Civil War reenacting for more than 25 years, serving in two units, namely; the 99th New York Infantry and Battery A., 5th U.S. Artillery and most recently the Utah Living History Association.

Tristan Tolman, AG

Tristan L. Tolman, AG®, is a professional genealogist, author, editor, and publisher. She has a bachelor's degree in Family History and Genealogy from Brigham Young University and received her accreditation in genealogy research in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic States through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen). Tristan has been actively involved in the genealogical field for over twenty years. She has served on the ICAPGen Board as the first vice chair and on the Nominations Committee of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She has written curriculum for the Family History degree programs at BYU-Idaho and BYU-Provo and was co-editor of Becoming an Excellent Genealogist: Essays on Professional Research Skills (2012). She loves working with clients and enjoys being on the research team of the award-winning television series, Relative Race. She is a member in good standing of ICAPGen, the National Genealogical Society, and the Association of Professional Genealogists. Tristan specializes in U.S. genealogical research, writing personal and family histories, and preparing genealogical information for publication. She and her husband Blair are the parents of five children.

Lynne Shumway

Lynne Shumway is a genealogist with more than 40 years of experience in the research field. She specializes in English research although she is not limited to that area, having accomplished client work in the USA and Australia. She is a past president of the Provo chapter of UGA; past editor of PAFology (the magazine of the PAF Users Group), and is currently the online parish clerk for Seaford, Sussex County, England. She has presented at genealogy conferences, including the UGA annual events, as well as taught classes at local genealogical societies, both in Utah and Australia.

Lynne also conducts two registered one-name studies for the Burgess and Bulman surnames, which include variations in spellings of those names. She is considering seeking certification in her area of specialization.

Lynne’s professional background has been in education. She retired in 2017 after a career that included not only teaching in the classroom, but also working in other areas with an educational emphasis.

Gerhard Ruf

Gerhard Ruf was born in West Germany and grew up in Utah. He graduated from BYU in Physics and has worked with various aspects of computers and technology over the past 40 years. Over the years he has taught classes in the use of technology in family history at local, regional, and national genealogical conferences and workshops. Since 1995 he has served in the leadership of the Utah Valley PAF Users Group. Under his leadership it was renamed the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) and its meetings have been made globally accessible via live broadcasts. He has been involved in family history pursuits since his mother got him started with microfilm of German records in the Salt Lake Family History Library during his teen years. It became a lifelong pursuit. His last employment at Ancestry.com finally combined his profession with his hobby. His duties included the development and teaching of classes on genealogical principles and techniques to the staff in the call center. He is now retired and resides with his wife, Deon, in Orem, Utah.

Zachary Hamilton

Zachary Hamilton is a professional genealogist and family researcher specializing in Southern US research and military records. He has spent the last several years working as a professional genealogist and lecturer in Idaho and for AncestryProGenealogists. He also holds a B.A. in History and an A.A.S. in Office Management.

Zachary is highly familiar to the Utah Genealogical Association as he has spent the past year revitalizing the Salt Lake Valley Chapter where he currently serves as Chapter President. He has also volunteered in multiple other capacities including as a member of the conference committee and a volunteer at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.

In addition to his work with UGA, Zachary is an enthusiastic about education in the genealogical community. He has appeared as a lecturer at conferences and seminars and regional events in the Inter-mountain West, Midwest, and South. He previously served as an assistant director for a FamilySearch Center and also been a guest lecturer for genealogy courses at Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Zachary spends his time not doing genealogy by being involved in his church, pursuing additional education opportunities, and participating in cultural events in the Salt Lake Valley where he currently resides.

Kelly Summers, AG

Kelly, is an Accredited Genealogist®. She received her Associates’ degree in Professional Genealogy and her Bachelor’s degree in Family and Community History both from Brigham Young University. Kelly received her Master’s degree in Instructional Design and Educational Technology from the University of Utah. Kelly has four premier genealogical credentials through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogist (ICAPGen) demonstrating genealogical research expertise is in U.S. Midwestern & U.S. Pacific, Mexico and Spain. Kelly researches in the US, Latin America, Scandinavia, Southwestern Europe and East Asian Family History research. Kelly designs curriculum and teaches university level courses at Brigham Young University and Salt Lake Community College. She has taught genealogy courses for the beginner, intermediate and advanced student in US Research topics, Spanish & Portuguese, French & Italian, Chinese, Japanese & Korean. Kelly currently serves as the President of the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA).

Irene Rossman

Irene Rossman Irene's love for family history developed at a young age. Her pursuit of the answer to the universal question, "Who am I?" led to a desire to help others in their search as well. Turning her hobby into a profession, Irene earned the Boston University Certificate in Genealogical Research in 2018. She completed ProGen 38 and co-led the monthly virtual discussions. Irene's passion within genealogy is finding birth families, and she volunteers for the non-profit 325Kamra, Inc., which assists Korean Adoptees with DNA testing and finding their birth families. She is also Co-Chair of UGA DNA, a special interest group for the Utah Genealogical Association and Technical Video Coordinator for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Additional memberships include the Virtual Genealogical Association, National Genealogical Society, the California Genealogical Society, and the Sacramento German Genealogical Society. Irene's educational background includes a bachelor of arts in psychology with a minor in sociology and a certificate in inner city studies (Notre Dame de Namur University), a master of science in clinical psychology with a certificate in gerontology (Notre Dame de Namur University), and a master of criminal justice (Boston University). Irene's love of all things genealogy takes up most of her time, however she also enjoys taking road trips with her husband, three children, and senior rescue Belgian Sheepdog.

Peggy Lauritzen

Peggy Lauritzen Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG, FOGS, was involved in genealogy before she was even born. The daughter of avid genealogists, she was spending time in courthouses and cemeteries while other children were playing on swings and going to the beach. The love of her family’s history has never left her. With her experience serving as a former and current Family History Director, she frequently speaks at genealogical societies, workshops, seminars, and webinars where she loves bringing genealogy to life. Some of those would include The Ohio Genealogical Society, The Ohio State University, Brigham Young University, and many other state and local genealogy societies. She has recently completed several Legacy QuickGuides on Appalachia, and is a well-known webinar presenter. In 2018, she was awarded the title of Fellow of the Ohio Genealogical Society, and received the Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service in Genealogy. Peggy is an instructor at Ancestry Academy, Family Tree University, a columnist for Reminisce magazine, and a former researcher for Ancestry ProGenealogists.