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Karen’s Bio

Biographically speaking, I am an Accredited Genealogist® researcher and teacher with three genealogy credentials in the Midwestern Region, Southern States Region, and the Mountain West Region. I don’t know where the time goes but I’ve now had thirty years of experience doing family history work for others.

I turned my lifetime of genealogy research experiences into object lessons that I like to use as a curriculum developer and instructor of college genealogy and computer technology courses. Since 1980, I have been teaching traditional family history courses at various colleges in California and I still teach online classes at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, California; and Salt Lake Community College in Salt Lake City, Utah.

My eight updated textbooks on genealogy focus on successful research strategies, technology support options, and credentialing criteria. I am President of GRA (Genealogy Research Associates, Inc.), which provides genealogy services for others when they cannot do it for themselves (such as obtaining records, evaluating pedigrees, developing research plans, and—when requested—performing professional research.) GRAonline.com provides products and services for family historians of all skill levels.

As an active supporter and promoter of local Family History Centers and Genealogy Societies, I have given 100s of presentations over the decades. Over ten years of service was given to the national board of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. As the founding President of the Monterey County Genealogy Society, and a Staff Trainer and then Director of the Monterey, California Family History Center for 22 years, I had the pleasure to work with hundreds of genealogists from around the world sharing their stories, successes and failures.

For the past twelve years, I have served with The International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (one of the two national credentialing organizations for genealogists) where my husband and I donate some of our free time to writing or quality controlling competency examinations.

I am proud of my 100% Finnish heritage and have been known to carry on about how performing genealogy research can keep your mind alert, your countenance happy, and your outlook optimistic. Being born of ancestors who spent over half their time in the dark due to their northern geographic locations, and then inheriting the tendency to be vertically challenged has generated a love for “white, clean space.” This has also kept me on my toes to reach to normal heights.