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Minnesota Genealogical Society

1385 Mendota Heights Road, Suite 100
Mendota Heights, MN  55120-1367
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Featured Speakers

Judy G. Russell &
Blaine Bettinger

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Judy G. Russell

Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist®, is a genealogist with a law degree. She writes, teaches and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, providing expert guidance through the murky territory where law and family history intersect. A Colorado native with roots deep in the American south on her mother’s side and entirely in Germany on her father’s side, she holds a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Rutgers School of Law-Newark. Before she retired, she worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, for more than 20 years, as an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School.

She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society and numerous state and regional genealogical societies. A recipient of the Silver Tray Award from the Utah Genealogical Association and the 2017 Award of Excellence from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, she now serves as a member of the NGSQ editorial board.

An internationally-known lecturer and course coordinator and faculty member at numerous genealogical institutes, she holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical Lecturer℠ from the Board for Certification of Genealogists®. Her award-winning blog appears at The Legal Genealogist® website (

Judy G. Russell Plenary Talks

Roadblocks, Red Lights and Detours: Record Access for Genealogists
This was supposed to be the Age of the Information Superhighway. Instead, even as so many records are coming online, doors are being slammed shut on so many more – often records that aren't and won't be online, now and perhaps ever. As a community and as individuals, learn what we can do to protect records access.

NARA MythBusters: Your Family Is in the Archives
“All the military records were burned in the fire.” “There isn't any birth, marriage or death information in federal records.” “There aren't any details about ordinary families at the National Archives.” These kinds of myth-statements stop genealogists from breaking down all kinds of brick walls using the wealth of information in NARA records. Join the myth busters with the treasures the National Archives holds for your family.

No Vitals? No Problem! -Building a Family Through Circumstantial Evidence
When there’s no birth, marriage or death record, what’s a genealogist to do? Learn how to use circumstantial evidence to build a family. Version: A Family for Isabella (tracing a woman married before the 1850 census)

Revelers, Hog killers and Disobedient Children: Early State Law
The laws our ancestors lived by tell their own story of life in earlier times, and early state laws from every part of the nation tell the stories of Blue Laws, wild animals, and children needing humbling.

Blaine Bettinger

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

Blaine is or has been an instructor for genetic genealogy courses at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research. Blaine is a graduate of ProGen Study Group 21, a trustee for the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, and a member of the DNAngels Board of Directors since 2022 (President since January 2023), and a member of the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (SWGDAM) “Investigative Genetic Genealogy Working Group” since 2019. He is also the founder in 2017 of Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques, a very active Facebook group with more than 75,000 members.

Blaine Bettinger Plenary Talks

Using Autosomal DNA for 18th and 19th Century Mysteries
Even though our 18th and 19th century ancestors have been dead for decades, their DNA still survives in their descendants. Learn how to use autosomal DNA to attack and potentially solve genealogical mysteries and brick walls for ancestors who were born or lived in the 1800’s, 1700’s, and beyond.

10 Generative AI Prompts Every Genealogist Needs to Know
The “prompt” is perhaps the most important aspect of generative artificial intelligence (AI). The prompt is how we direct AI tools to give us the output we desire. However, forming these prompts can be challenging and is rarely a one-shot attempt. We will identify how to formulate (and reformulate!) AI prompts and look at ten example prompts that can save us significant time and effort.

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