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2024 Speakers

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Nathaniel Smith, C.G. (C) has been researching his family history for over 20 years. He obtained the designation of Certified Genealogist (Canada) from the Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes in 2014 and is currently the organization's Registrar. Nathaniel has written and presented numerous genealogical and historical articles over the years, he's most well known in Nova Scotia for his award-winning one-place study The Prospect Genealogical Website which showcases the history, genealogy and stories of the people who lived in and around Prospect, Halifax County, Nova Scotia. Nathaniel is about to publish his first comprehensive genealogy with his study of the Coolen Family of Nova Scotia. 

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Peggy Chapman is a professional genealogist, researcher, author and lecturer. She holds a bachelor degree in Education and a degree in Master of Library & Information Science (M.L.I.S.). Peggy is also the author of the 2018 book "Finding Your Ancestors in Nova Scotia”. She has obtained the Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies (PLCGS) from the former National Institute of Genealogical Studies (now the International Institute of Genealogical Studies) where she is also a lecturer providing courses on Nova Scotia genealogy. Peggy is a member of numerous genealogical societies and has been a frequent volunteer for the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia.

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Ginny Clark is a Certified Genealogist (Canada). She obtained her designation from the Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes in 1994. She has worked as an archival assistant with the Nova Scotia Archives for over thirty years.

Ginny has participated as a primary researcher at the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia's Brick Wall Busters lecture in past years and will be providing her vast knowledge of the archival holdings of the Nova Scotia Archives to assist researchers with their tough, Brick Wall ancestors. 


Christine Woodcock is a genealogy educator with an expertise in the Scottish records. Christine enjoys sharing knowledge and opportunities to assist others in their quest to find their Scottish ancestors and to help preserve their family legacy.


As an immigrant herself, Christine is always interested in the stories of other immigrants and helping their ancestors to find out more about them.


Christine has been a frequent contributor to Internet Genealogy Magazine. She writes articles for various genealogical society newsletters and has presented at numerous genealogical societies in North America as well as for family history societies in Scotland. Christine has been speaking at regional and national genealogical conferences since 2012. Christine presents webinars on a regular basis and has been running virtual events since 2018.


Christine is the owner of the website Genealogy Tours of Scotland, and is co-chair of the Scottish Special Interest Group (SIG) for the Ontario Genealogical Society and is responsible for their virtual programs. She is also the Syllabus Secretary (Program Chair) for the Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society and is a member of Council for the Lanarkshire Family History Society.


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Brian McConnell, UE, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B. studied History at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His maternal 5th great grandfather was a Loyalist soldier in the American Revolution. He has been a Trustee and Vice President (Atlantic) of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada and President of the Nova Scotia Branch


He is a retired lawyer, historian, genealogist, and author. He has also been a member of two historical re-enactment groups in Nova Scotia which portray soldiers from the time of the American Revolution, the 84th Regiment of Foot, also known as the Royal Highland Emigrants, and the King's Orange Rangers.


Six of his books are about United Empire Loyalists.  They are: "Loyalist History of Nova Scotia", "Loyalist Cemeteries & Gravestones of Nova Scotia: Annapolis & Digby Counties", “The Loyalists of Digby", “Old St. Edward’s Church & the Loyalists”, ”The First Church:  Old Holy Trinity in Middleton, Nova Scotia”, and “The United Empire Loyalists & You”.  He has also authored over 40 articles and stories that have been published by Atlantic Loyalist Connections, Historic Nova Scotia, The Loyalist Gazette, The Nova Scotia Genealogist, and Loyalist Trails.


All his books are available in paperback, hardback and kindle format online from Amazon. Some of his Loyalist books are available from the Admiral Digby Museum in Digby, Nova Scotia.



Darryl Leroux is an Associate Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa and was formerly an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Justice and Community Studies at St. Mary’s University in Halifax.

As part of his work on the politics of race, racism, and colonialism in Quebec and French Canada, he studies the social, political, and legal dynamics that have led French-descendant people to increasingly claim Indigenous identities over the past decade-and-a-half, publishing articles such as White settler revisionism and making Métis everywhere: The evocation of Métissage in Quebec and Nova Scotia.  In particular, he seeks to record and understand the work of so-called metis organizations in Quebec and Eastern Canada, which often openly oppose existing Indigenous peoples’ rights and/or claims.


His peer-reviewed book, Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity, was published in September 2019 and was selected as one of the ten most influential books published by the University of Manitoba Press in the past decade. 

His research continues to push the boundaries in the study of white identities, and as such, he is widely sought after as a public speaker on matters related to contemporary forms of settler colonialism. Between 2019 and 2023, he delivered university lectures in 28 Canadian universities and worked with several First Nation, Inuit, and Métis governments.

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Alice Childs is an Accredited Genealogist® professional (ICAPGen) specializing in U.S. Research, specifically in the Mid-Atlantic states of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware. She takes private clients via her website,, and works as an independent contractor for Family Locket Genealogists. She is a graduate of the Research Like a Pro and Research Like a Pro with DNA study groups and has subsequently served as a mentor for both study groups. She is also a leader and mentor for the ICAPGen Study Groups, helping candidates learn the requirements and prepare for the accreditation testing process.


She currently volunteers as the Communication Manager for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and has completed the following institute courses: The Pennsylvania German and Research in the Keystone State (SLIG), Advanced Genealogical Methods (SLIG), and Researching New York: Resources and Strategies (IGHR). Alice holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University. When she’s not researching, Alice enjoys spending time with family, reading historical fiction, quilting, and gardening.


Denis Savard has been interested in genealogy since the age of 10, when presented with a 6-generation tree. With a degree in History and Geography from the University of Ottawa, he has since pursued a career in journalism, where he worked for l'Acadie Nouvelle as an editor, then for the Canadian Press as a Photo Editor for 15 years, then back to New Brunswick as writer/editor for the same paper since. 

M. Savard has published two books, including the "Dictionnaire généalogique des familles Arsenault", a 970-page brick with over 9000 families detailed throughout North America, in 2000.


In 2016, he published his second book: Racines acadienne, a compilation of a bi-weekly column in his newspaper about the known history of various families in Acadia. He has also published several articles in Mémoires, the periodical of the Société généalogique canadienne-française, the largest and oldest genealogical society in Canada (1943), on the Savard family of Quebec, the McIntyre family of Charlo (NB) and a mtDNA study to identify the mother of an abandoned child circa 1765 in Quebec. Since December 2022, Denis Savard has taken over the Mothers of Acadia DNA project, in collaboration with the Centre d'Études Acadienne of the Université de Moncton


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Brenda J. Thompson lives in Perotte Settlement, near Annapolis Royal, and is the author of several books, including A Wholesome Horror: Poor Houses in Nova Scotia, Tales from the End of the Old Military Road, and Finding Fortune: Documenting and Imagining the Life of Rose Fortune, among others. 

Brenda has been a local history buff and writer all her life. Plays, short stories, press releases, protest chants, non fiction, fiction...nothing escapes her pen. An anti-poverty activist by nature, writer by choice, Brenda has won awards for her writing. In 2019, Thompson began Moose House Publications to provide an outlet for writers in, and of, rural Nova Scotia.



John MacLeod is the Manager of the Nova Scotia Archives and has been an archivist at that institution for over 30 years. He is the recipient of the Premier’s Award for Excellence and the Minister’s Award for Innovation – both related to the digital transformation of the Nova Scotia Archives which has continued with the 2023 launching of the Archives’ online store.

With university backgrounds in Engineering Physics, Journalism, and French, John’s career went in a different direction towards the heritage and information management field. He worked with the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children Restorative Inquiry, and he has been active in promoting knowledge and access to the Peace and Friendship treaties in the Archives’ holdings.

John has been a leader in several professional and community organizations. He has been treasurer and an executive member of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia and is currently the treasurer of Christ Church in Dartmouth which has a significant social justice and public advocacy ministry. He has worked with the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia and is a founder of Doors Open Halifax.


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Timothy Gay, now retired, played key roles in Sales Management positions for more than twenty years with Bell and Telus, developing and managing the Atlantic dealer networks for both organizations. He has an intimate knowledge of product packaging, co-marketing, and sales strategies. Tim later obtained a certificate in genealogy from Boston University and provides research support at the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia (GANS). Born in Halifax, he can claim at least 5 generations of ancestors in Nova Scotia representing some of the earliest immigration periods in the Province.

He is presdient of GANS, and is a nominee to the KITH Observatory Board. A business owner and a family man, Tim remains an outdoor enthusiast, and is active in camping and canoeing.





Sarah Ziolkowska is a graduate of the University of Toronto and of Dalhousie University, where she received a degree in Master of Library & Information Science (M.L.I.S.) in 2009.


Currently, Sarah is the Head Librarian at the Nova Scotia Natural Sciences Library. Before working for the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, she was a librarian with Halifax Public Libraries.


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Dr. Allan Everett Marble, professor emeritus, Dalhousie University (2000) is the author of eighty-seven journal articles and fifty-seven conference papers published on the cardiovascular system and fifteen articles and biographies relating to the medical history of Nova Scotia. In addition, he has authored eleven books in genealogy and the history of medicine in Nova Scotia, the most recent of which is entitled "The History of Medicine in Nova Scotia from Confederation to Medicare: the Transition from Allopathic to Scientific Medicine” (2022).

Dr. Marble is a past-president and Fellow of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, a founder and past-president of the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia and the Genealogical Institute of the Maritimes. He is Chair of the Medical History Society of Nova Scotia. He has served on the boards of the Heritage Trust and the Public Archives of Nova Scotia (vice-chair). He is a Fellow of the Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering Society and the Allan E. Marble Prize is awarded annually for research excellence in graduate work in Biomedical Engineering at Dalhousie University.




Robert Lawrence Hegerich was born in Boston, MA, the son of Philip L. Hegerich of Boston, and Olive M. (Whitman) Hegerich of Nictaux, NS and Boston. He spent 20 years in the US Army as a Military Intelligence officer, retiring at Washington, DC in 1980 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before moving into the private sector.

Bob has deep ties to NS, being a descendant of Ulrich Hubele, Joseph Schlagentweit, and a number of the other Foreign Protestants who founded the town of Lunenburg in 1753. He contributed significantly to the 2nd edition of "Descendants of Ulrich Hubley of Nova Scotia", published in 2007.

Bob first began using the Internet in 1984 and has been an avid “Internet” as well as “conventional” genealogist since his (second) retirement in 1998.  His database at, currently contains about 90,000 people, the overwhelming majority of whom are his NS ancestors and their descendants/in-laws. Also, he is the compiler of the Halifax, Lunenburg, and Queens County Burial Indexes, and he is an active participant in several NS genealogical mailing lists.

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Religious Archivists
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Short 15-minutes presentations/interviews with Archivists from each of the four major religious organizations in the maritime provinces:




James Moody is a tech professional who has intertwined his career with a profound interest in genealogy - a passion inherited from his family. His father, Dr. Barry Moody, was a history professor at Acadia University, specializing in the history of the Maritimes and religion in Canada, and ignited James's early interest in genealogy. With roots in Annapolis and Kings Counties, as well as New Brunswick, James has delved into the histories of various ethnic groups, including the New England Planters, Loyalists, and Irish and French-Canadian settlers. His genealogical journey led to intriguing discoveries, such as tracing his mother's French-Canadian ancestors to 1600s Quebec City and uncovering Acadian roots in Port Royal.


James's paternal lineage includes a connection to James Moody of Wilmot, a suspected Loyalist who arrived in 1784. His research revealed a potential traitor in his lineage, a deserter from the Patriots who then joined the Loyalist cause.


His dedication to genealogy and technology has culminated in the creation of This website features extensive records and publications, integrating family tree capabilities and linking sources to people. It represents James's vision of open, accessible data, contrasting with the more closed ecosystems of larger genealogy sites. His future plans include adapting this technology for other similar projects, expanding his contribution to genealogical research and data accessibility.

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Richard Reid is the director of both the Friends of Irish Research and the David Allen Lambert Library which are based in Brockton, MA. The Friends provide training seminars, host a website full of research resources and provide consultations in the Brockton facility or via email. 


Richard has worked in the computer industry and taught in high schools, trade schools and colleges for over 40 years. He has co-authored four computer books, and established several computer training centers in New England. He is an active member of over a dozen societies including the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia and the Cape Breton Genealogical and Historical Association. In addition to the computer and genealogical work, Richard also pastors North Baptist Church in Brockton.


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