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Worthy candidates all

There are 151 names on John D. Reid’s list, from the United States, from Canada, from Europe, from Australia and beyond.

They are traditional genealogists and genetic genealogists, regional specialists and overall generalists, male and female and — perhaps most importantly — known and less known.

RockstarIt’s the annual “Rockstar Genealogist” poll conducted by John on his blog, Anglo-Celtic Connections.

This is where John asks genealogists around the world to nominate and then vote for their favorite genealogy “rockstars” — people he describes as “those who give ‘must attend’ presentations at family history conferences or as webinars. Who, when you see a new family history article or publication by that person, makes it a must buy. Who you hang on their every word on a blog, podcast or newsgroup, or follow avidly on Facebook or Twitter?”1

Nominations for this fourth year of the poll are closed, and the voting is now open — and will remain open until noon EDT on Sunday, September 13th. You can find out how to vote here in John’s blog post (Note: corrected link here!!).

The Legal Genealogist is honored to be among those nominated, because so many people that I consider to be friends and mentors are among the nominees. In alphabetical order, Claire Bettag, Blaine Bettinger, Warren Bittner, John Philip Colletta, Thomas W. Jones, J. Mark Lowe, David McDonald, Elizabeth Shown Mills, CeCe Moore, Craig Scott and Marian L. Smith have all been among the instructors I have studied with at institutes here in the United States. Loretto (Lou) Szucs was probably the first genealogical lecturer I ever sat and listened to. So many people on the list have contributed to what I know and what I am striving still to master.

And here’s something else that’s a delight about John’s list: it points us to many new faces and to many genealogists who are simply excellent but have never received the public recognition of their scholarship and contributions to our community. In particular, there are many international experts on the list who aren’t nearly as known as they should be to American genealogists.

So, expressly noting from the outset that there isn’t time or space in any blog to acknowledge everyone who deserves a vote or a closer look, let me point you to just a few of the many people who are worthy of a closer look by Americans who may not be aware of these rockstars within our broader international community:

• Alison Hare of Canada is a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and perhaps one of the finest genealogical speakers I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. Her presentation at the 2015 National Genealogical Society conference in St. Charles, “The Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Historical Context” — available as a recording from Jamb Tapes — is simply brilliant. No lesser word suffices.

• Yvette Hoitink of The Netherlands is a professional genealogist whose blog Dutch Genealogy offers tips to anyone with Dutch ancestry — and to anyone who needs a better understanding of how methodology can help solve any genealogical problem, whether in The Netherlands or elsewhere around the world. A real up-and-coming star of our community, this is someone to watch.

• Tamura Jones — who describes himself as “a Legal Native Alien; a dual nationality English-born Dutchman living in Leiden” — is one of genealogy’s true techies — author of the original 1992 Undocumented Windows, a prolific blogger on genealogy software and technology, an independent thinker who has developed a framework for scientific genealogy, differentiating between legal genealogy (what the law says about family relationships), official genealogy (what the vital records paperwork says) and biological genealogy (what the DNA says). His blog is at

• Helen V. Smith of Australia is the author of the blog From Helen V Smith’s Keyboard, and a prolific lecturer on topics ranging from emigration to Australia to understanding and decoding information in death certificates. That’s a topic she understands better than any of us: though by night she’s a genealogist, by day she’s a molecular epidemiologist specialising in public health microbiology and she brings her strong interest in infectious diseases and public health through the ages to bear on genealogical questions.

All 151 nominees are worthy candidates for your vote2 — and all have made contributions to our broad international community that are worth a closer look.


  1. John D. Reid, “Rockstar Genealogist 2015 Nominations Now Open,” Anglo-Celtic Connections, posted 1 Sep 2015 ( : accessed 9 Sep 2015).
  2. Well, okay, so at least 150 of ’em if you don’t much care for what you’re reading…
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