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Interview with Paul Woodbury, ISGS 2019 Fall Conference Keynote Speaker

The Illinois State Genealogical Society is thrilled to have Paul Woodbury, M. Ed, as one of our 2019 Fall Conference keynote speakers!

At a young age, Paul fell in love with genealogy research. He studied genetics and family history at Brigham Young University and holds a Master’s degree in instructional design and educational technology from the University of Utah. Paul currently works as a DNA team lead at Legacy Tree Genealogists where he has helped to solve hundreds of genetic genealogy cases.

Paul will be teaching several DNA-focused courses at our Fall Conference, and will also be leading our exclusive Pre-Conference hands-on workshops: Evaluating shared Autosomal DNA and Getting your ACGT Together: Organizing Autosomal DNA Test Results for Success.

Paul was kind enough to take the time to talk to ISGS and tell us more about his genealogy background, interests and accomplishments!      

How did you become interested in genealogy?  How long have you been researching?
I first became interested in genealogy when I was 8 years old – my grandparents gave a family history binder to each of their 35 grandchildren for Christmas. I was the only one who bit. I was fascinated by the stories, pictures, and details of my ancestors’ lives. I was excited to learn about the origins of my ancestors and where they came from. Later, I learned to uncover their stories through my own research. A few years later, when African American Lives with Henry Louis Gates Jr. aired on PBS, I was intrigued and fascinated by the power of genetic testing to enable genealogical discovery. I decided at that point that I wanted to be a genetic genealogist. 

      Who is your favorite person (ancestor or otherwise) to research? Why?
     My favorite ancestor to research is Joseph Ichante, a rural French shepherd and farmer who lived during the time of the French revolution, a self-taught poet, philosopher and engraver, and my fifth-great-grandfather.

      What has been a defining moment in your career as a genealogist? 
      One defining moment was one of my earliest cases, when I was able to help reunite a woman from Papua New Guinea with her biological father. It helped me appreciate the power of genetic genealogy for reuniting families and enabling the healing of relationships.

      What are you most looking forward to at the ISGS annual fall conference?   
      I love the Chicago area, and look forward to meeting the attendees at the conference and getting to know you all better. 

      What should conference attendees look forward to at your lectures?
      Participants can look forward to working step-by-step instruction to assist them in successfully accomplishing research feats in their own investigations. 

      Can you tell us about some of your recent or upcoming projects? 
      I am currently working on accreditation with ICAPGen in the France region. I have recently completed several presentations at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, a three-part webinar series on French genealogy for Legacy Family Tree Webinars, several presentations at RootsTech, SCGS Jamboree, and the Colorado Genealogical Society. Coming up, I have another webinar to be released in July, and presentations at the APG Professional Management Conference.  

                  Learn more about the ISGS Fall Conference and Register HERE!

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