Researching Family in Pennsylvania: Instructor Biographies

HomeResearching Family in Pennsylvania: Instructor Biographies

Researching Family in Pennsylvania: Instructor Biographies

Amy E. K. Arner is a researcher specializing in western Pennsylvania and an editor. She serves as the secretary of the Association of Professional Genealogists and is a past president of its Great Lakes Chapter. She is a proofreader for the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly and co-editor of the North Hills Genealogists [of Pittsburgh] newsletter. In 2015, the Association of Professional Genealogists awarded her its Grahame T. Smallwood Jr. Award of Merit for her service to the organization. Her early interest in a box of old family documents led to her taking courses at Westminster College, Brigham Young University, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. She applies her knowledge in researching both her own and clients’ families.

Lee Arnold, DLitt et Phil is the Senior Director of the Library and Collections and Chief Operating Officer, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He has been with the society since 1992. Lee is well-versed on the holdings of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and has lectured extensively on genealogical topics throughout the Pennsylvania region. He received a doctorate in archival science from the University of South Africa in 2016,  an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin in 1988 and an MLA (concentration in Archives Management) from Temple University in 2000. He is a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Lee is a travel writer and a regular reviewer of travel literature for Library Journal. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and a member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides.

James M. Beidler is currently working on his third commercially published book, titled The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide, having previously written The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide and Trace Your German Roots Online. His weekly “Roots & Branches” column is an award-winning weekly newspaper column on genealogy that has run for nearly twenty years. Jim is also a columnist for German Life magazine and edits Der Kurier, the quarterly journal of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society. He is also an instructor for the online Family Tree University and contributor to Family Tree Magazine. He was President of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors from 2010 to 2012, and is the former Executive Director for the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. He served as national co-chairman for the 2008 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Philadelphia. Beidler also has written for other periodicals, including scholarly journals such as The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine. He sits on the selection committee for the Pennsylvania Digital Newspaper Project and Pennsylvania’s State Historic Records Advisory Board. He is an Enrolled Agent tax preparer and previously was a copy editor for 15 years for The Patriot-News newspaper in Harrisburg, PA. Beidler was born and raised in Berks County, PA, where he currently resides. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Hofstra University in Long Island, NY, with a BA in political science in 1982.

Kim Bucklaw is an archivist and the primary genealogical researcher for the Chester County Archives and Chester County Historical Society. Kim has a master’s degree in American History from Temple University. With over 15 years experience in historical research, she specializes in county government records and property research. Her personal research interests are African American genealogy and social history.

Annette Burke Lyttle owns Heritage Detective, LLC, providing professional genealogical services in research, education, and writing. Annette has several lines of Quaker ancestors, including one that settled in Chester County, Pa., in the1600s. She loves helping people uncover and share their family stories. Annette speaks on a variety of genealogical topics at the national, state, and local levels, as well as presenting webinars. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Genealogical Speakers Guild, as well as national, state, and local societies.

Sydney F. Cruice Dixon, MBA, is a well-known researcher and genealogy instructor in the Philadelphia area.  A graduate of Penn State and Drexel universities, she is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and has been actively researching family genealogies since 1995.  She conducts genealogical research for clients as well as providing genealogy coaching for those clients who prefer to do their own family research. Currently teaching both beginner and intermediate level genealogy courses, she conducts the Foundations of Genealogy program at HSP.   In addition, Sydney lectures regularly throughout the tri-state area with particular emphasis on United States military records.   She is the President of the Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists and a member of the planning committee for the Main Line Genealogy Club.

Eric G. Grundset was Library Director for the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, D. C. from May 1983 until December 2015. He is presently Director of Library Publications. Eric is the author or editor of many DAR publications including Forgotten Patriots: African Americans and American Indians in the Revolutionary War and America’s Women in the Revolutionary Era, 1760-1790. Most recently, he has completed the ninth volume in a series on the original thirteen states with Pennsylvania in the American Revolution: A Source Guide for Genealogists and Historians (2017). Since the late 1970s, Eric has lectured on many genealogical topics and has prepared numerous articles of historical record transcriptions that have appeared in the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, and other journals. His latest non-DAR book is the National Genealogical Society publication Research in Virginia (3rd ed.; 2014). Eric was a councilor for the National Genealogical Society (1990-1996), First Vice President (1996-1998), and Vice President (1999-2000). He is also a former president of the Virginia Genealogical Society and is a fourteenth-generation native-born Virginian on his mother’s side and Norwegian on his father’s. Eric, a resident of Fairfax County, Virginia, since 1953, holds a B. A. in History from James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and a Master’s in Library Science from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D. C. He has two daughters and three granddaughters.

Dean A. Henry is Owner of Family Pearl, LLC, which he founded shortly before retiring from full-time corporate Information Technology responsibilities in 2013. Family Pearl ( offers family research, family connection and legacy stories recording services. His interests in genealogy began in 1980’s when he was asked to assist a family member’s spouse to organize her family ancestral tree in preparation for a family reunion. Dean has spoken on African American genealogy to the University of Pennsylvania Black Alumni Society, and Alumni “Office Hours” webinar participants, at The Genealogy Event conference in NYC, Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown and local Jack and Jill “Rites of Passage” sessions. Dean presented on African American Research in Pennsylvania at the 2016 Researching Family in Pennsylvania seminar sponsored by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He has also appeared on the Morning Mojo radio show on WURD with Stephanie Renee. Dean is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the African American Genealogy Group, the Afro American Historical and Genealogical Society, the National Genealogical Society, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Sandra M. Hewlett, CG℠, achieved certification by the Board for Certification of Genealogists in 2001. She works as a professional genealogist on projects in eastern Pennsylvania, the mid-Atlantic states, England and Northern Ireland. She is a board member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and a member of the Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter of APG. Her genealogy, the "Duckenfield Family of Sheffield, Yorkshire, and Philadelphia," including its most famous member, William Claude Duckenfield, a.k.a W.C. Fields, was published in the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine.

David Koch has served as a reference archivist at the Presbyterian Historical Society since 2011. His main duties include helping others find information in the society’s vast holdings. He has answered countless genealogy questions; many on Presbyterian churches in Pennsylvania. Born in Pennsylvania himself, Philadelphia to be exact, he has a bachelors’ degree in History from Rutgers College and a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from Drexel University. He is a lover of history and serves on the board of the Old Pine Conservancy.  He currently resides in Collingswood, New Jersey.

Sue Long, Ph.D. completed her graduate work at Cornell University and received a PhD in 1975 in experimental psychology while gaining valuable experience in conducting research, evaluating evidence, writing a doctoral thesis, and teaching. After raising her children she went to work as a school district technology coordinator and computer teacher. Since retiring, she has focused on genealogy and the history of the early Pennsylvania settlements. Some years ago she broadened the scope of her studies to include measures of wealth (probate records and inventories of the early days), land ownership (how the early tracts were subdivided into the 1700s), and biographies of the people on Thomas Holme’s map (the ultimate cluster genealogy for the early settlers). She continues to study these people and to write about them on her blog.

Thomas J. McCullough, assistant archivist of the Moravian Church, Northern Province in Bethlehem, PA, provides research assistance for the Moravian Archives and the Moravian Historical Society. He holds an M.A. in Applied History from Shippensburg University (’13). Thomas previously worked at the Shippensburg University Fashion Archives and Museum, the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center, and the Cumberland County (PA) Archives. He is an expert instructor of German paleography and has taught over 500 adults and high school students how to read German script handwriting. Thomas is editorial assistant of the Journal of Moravian History, a peer-reviewed history journal published by the Pennsylvania State University Press. He is also editor of The Archival Spirit, an archival newsletter published three times per year by the Society of American Archivists' Archivists of Religious Collections Section.

Aaron McWilliams is a reference archivist at the Pennsylvania State Archives. He is responsible for handling research inquiries at the Archives and frequently represents the agency at genealogical events. His areas of expertise include Pennsylvania state land records, Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary War militia, and genealogy. He has appeared on WITF’s Radio Smart Talk and “Who Do You Think You Are?” Prior to joining the Pennsylvania State Archives, Aaron worked as a reference archivist at the Maryland State Archives and as a professional genealogist.

Judy G Russell, CG℠CGL℠The Legal Genealogist, is a genealogist with a law degree, and her purpose is, in part, to help folks understand the often arcane and even impenetrable legal concepts and terminology that are so very important to those studying family history. Russell now serves on the faculty at the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and at the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed) at the National Archives.

Gerald “Jerry” Smith, CG℠is a professional genealogist who specializes in Pennsylvania families prior to 1900. He has authored a number of books and journal articles and has several ongoing publication projects. Jerry researches regularly at a number of Pennsylvania and Maryland repositories as well as the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Genealogical Speakers Guild, the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, New England Historic Genealogical Society. He is also a member of a number of local Pennsylvania genealogical associations and a life member of the Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Historical Society.

Frank Southcott, MBA, is the Researching Family in Pennsylvania program coordinator and is a professional genealogist who specializes in historic Chester County, Pennsylvania, research and family history. He is an avid enthusiast of the Pennsylvania Revolutionary War militia and is currently seeking to establish family relationships by correlating early tax records, oaths of allegiance, and militia service to the various early townships of Chester County. His family has deep roots in Chester County and a late Irish grandmother who has tested his genealogical skills. He is the former President of the Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists, and is currently the President, International Society for British Genealogy and Family History, which conducts the annual British Institute in Salt Lake City. He has researched extensively in the British Isles, Newfoundland, and Pennsylvania.

Patrick Spero is the Librarian and Director of the American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia. As a scholar of early American history, Dr. Spero specializes in the era of the American Revolution. He has published over a dozen essays and reviews on the topic. His is the author of Frontier Country: The Politics of War in Early Pennsylvania and the edited anthology The American Revolution Reborn: New Perspectives for the Twenty-First Century, both published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Prior to his appointment at the American Philosophical Society, Dr. Spero taught at Williams College where he served as an assistant professor of History and Leadership Studies and received recognition for his integration of new technology in the classroom. Dr. Spero has also held the position of Historian at the David Library of the Revolution and served on their Board of Trustees. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009 and has held long-term fellowships from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Society of the Cincinnati, the Doris Quinn Foundation, the David Library of the American Revolution, and the American Philosophical Society.