Welcome to the UGA!

UGA Mission Statement

The Utah Genealogical Association provides genealogical information, sources and education through personal instruction and published media on state, national and international family history topics, while promoting high standards and ethical practices.

UGA Information

The Utah Genealogical Association was formally organized on September 25, 1971, and chartered on December 1, 1971, by the State of Utah as a nonprofit educational organization. The Association's interests are worldwide while still providing specific materials of interest relating to Utah. It is not affiliated with any religious or political organization.

The Association is governed by an Executive Committee comprised of the President, 1st Vice-President, and 2nd Vice-President plus a Board of Governors. Members of the Board are elected by the general membership of the Association and serve for a period of three years.

In addition, dozens of volunteers serve on various committees, staff booths at conferences, and work behind the scenes to assure the membership a vibrant, collegial, and enjoyable Association.

The Association publishes Crossroads, a quarterly journal of general interest in the field of genealogy and family history. The journal is sent to the general membership of the Association and is also available to the membership in an electronic edition on this website.

Association members can share information on specific surnames through our Surname Research page. We sponsor an annual meeting wherein outstanding service and accomplishments are recognized and awarded.

Also available to members is the opportunity to participate in a monthly "virtual chapter" meeting wherein experts in various aspects of genealogy and family history make hour-long presentations on their areas of expertise. These presentations are then archived for member review and access at any time.

UGA By-Laws

The latest revision of the Utah Genealogical Association ByLaws was approved on 13 April 2019, drafted by an ad-hoc Bylaws Committee made up of UGA Board members.

Operating Year: April 2021 - March 2022

Board of Directors
Director (2022): Zachary Hamilton
Director (2022): Kristine Burninghamn
Director (2022): Gerhard Ruf
Director (2022): Elise Godfrey
Director (2023): Julia A. Anderson, AG
Director (2023): Vacant
Director (2023): Bonnie Andersen
Director (2023): Peggy Lauritzen, AG
Director (2024): Tristan Tolman, AG
Director (2024): Michael Strauss, AG
Director (2024): Tanner Tolman, AG
Director (2024): Elizabeth Miller
Executive Committee
President: Tristan Tolman, AG
First Vice-President: Julia A. Anderson, AG
Second Vice-President: Tanner Tolman, AG
Administrative Assistant: Whitney Tolman
Executive Secretary: Claudia Sudweeks
Treasurer: Teresa Brooks
Past President: Kelly Summers, AG
Webmaster: Mike Bronner
Assistant Webmaster: Vacant
Director: Peg Ivanyo
Chapter Support Committee
Chair: Julia A. Anderson, AG
Conferences Committee
Chair: Michael Strauss, AG
Crossroads Publication
Editor: Gena Philibert-Ortega
Education Committee
Chair: Tristan Tolman, AG
First Families Committee
Chair: Bonnie Andersen
Membership Committee
Chair: Zachary Hamilton
Outreach Committee
Chair: Tristan Tolman, AG
Technology Committee
Chair: Vacant

Board of Directors Profiles

Bonnie Andersen

Bonnie Andersen My name is Bonnie Andersen. I live in Lehi, Utah. I am currently attending Salt Lake Community College and am in the last semester of the Genealogy International Track. I previously took classes in Genetic Genealogy and received my certificate in U.S. Research. As a single young woman, I attended Brigham Young University, 1979-1982.

At the age of thirty-six, I found my birth mother. The next year I found my birth father. From that point on I have dug into as many records about my biological family as my shovel can scrape up. I have written generational research reports about some of them and still have many to finish. There have been so many miracles connected to this research.

For the past four years, I have been focusing my research in the Upper Midwest area of the U.S and in Canada. I would feel comfortable researching in any of the states and in several European countries. I know a wee bit of French and Spanish, and have lived in Portugal and Saudi Arabia.

At Salt Lake Community College, I have received A’s in all of my courses. I have so enjoyed learning from some of the best teachers around.

I feel that through my studies and training I could be an asset to others. I feel that through the personal research I have done as well as helping others to do their own research, I can move through a report with skill.

I am eager to help the Utah Genealogical Association with anything that I am able to do.

Julia Anderson, AG

Julia A. Anderson is an Accredited Genealogist® with expertise in the United States Gulf South Region. She teaches U.S. research classes at Salt Lake Community College for their genealogy certificate program, is a U.S./Canada Research Specialist interning with FamilySearch, and owns and operates Anderson Genealogical Research, LLC. Julia received a B.A. degree in History (with a Family History emphasis) and University Honors from Brigham Young University in 1993 and is currently pursuing an M.A. degree in History with an Education emphasis from Grand Canyon University. She is serving her second 3-year term on the UGA Board of Directors and is a member of the test digitization committee for the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen). Julia lives in Orem, Utah and is the mother of 8 children and grandmother of 5. In her spare time, she works closely with youth and adults in the Boy Scouts of America, teaching and training them to be servant leaders.

Mike Bronner

Mike develops web applications and deciphers old handwritten German documents for genealogists. In his spare time he researches his own family lines, and is always eager to learn about and discuss genealogical research methodologies, business processes, and solo-preneur strategies.

Mike has been working in web application development since 1996 in various programming languages and technologies. He is currently developing modern web applications for genealogists using cutting-edge technologies. He also consults small businesses on their technology stack, including email servers, web hosting, VOIP PBX, and team collaboration.

Zachary Hamilton

Zachary Hamilton is the owner of Briick Family Research. A specialist in Southern US research and military records, Zachary has worked for and contracted with some of the leading genealogy companies in the world, including Ancestry.com and The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Zachary holds a BA in History and an AAS in Office Management. Zachary has also been a contributing researcher to the Emmy-nominated television series, Who Do You Think You Are?

In addition to his research experience, Zachary is a lecturer at regional conferences across the country, including RootsTech and has been a guest speaker for genealogy courses at Brigham Young University - Idaho and at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Zachary currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Utah Genealogical Association and as Registrar for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. He is also a recipient of the UGA Chapter Service award.

Peggy Lauritzen, AG

Peggy Lauritzen, AG Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG, FOGS, was involved in genealogy before she was even born. The daughter of avid genealogists, she was spending time in courthouses and cemeteries while other children were playing on swings and going to the beach. The love of her family’s history has never left her. With her experience serving as a former and current Family History Director, she frequently speaks at genealogical societies, workshops, seminars, and webinars where she loves bringing genealogy to life. Some of those would include The Ohio Genealogical Society, The Ohio State University, Brigham Young University, and many other state and local genealogy societies. She has recently completed several Legacy QuickGuides on Appalachia, and is a well-known webinar presenter. In 2018, she was awarded the title of Fellow of the Ohio Genealogical Society, and received the Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service in Genealogy. Peggy is an instructor at Ancestry Academy, Family Tree University, a columnist for Reminisce magazine, and a former researcher for Ancestry ProGenealogists.

Elizabeth Miller

Elizabeth Miller Elizabeth (Liz) Cays Miller’s love for genealogy was nurtured during childhood, took hold as a teenager, and has continued throughout her life. She formally trained for research in Spain, Latin America, and the southern states of the U.S.A. at Brigham Young University. Over the years, newer research opportunities have allowed her to broaden her knowledge and expand her skills. She especially enjoys on-site archival research and has researched at archives in Spain, Ecuador, Scotland, Wales, Canada, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Utah.

Currently, Liz serves UGA as First Vice- President, chairs the UGA Conference Committee, works with several other UGA committees, and represents UGA as the FGS Delegate.

Liz hopes to help others make new discoveries about their family history and to see them become excited about learning. She would also like to generate enthusiasm among UGA members and help them become more involved with the organization.

Gerhard Ruf

Gerhard RufGerhard Ruf was born in West Germany and grew up in Utah. He graduated from BYU in Physics and has worked with various aspects of computers and technology over the past 40 years. Over the years he has taught classes in the use of technology in family history at local, regional, and national genealogical conferences and workshops. Since 1995 he has served in the leadership of the Utah Valley PAF Users Group. Under his leadership it was renamed the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) and its meetings have been made globally accessible via live broadcasts. He has been involved in family history pursuits since his mother got him started with microfilm of German records in the Salt Lake Family History Library during his teen years. It became a lifelong pursuit. His last employment at Ancestry.com finally combined his profession with his hobby. His duties included the development and teaching of classes on genealogical principles and techniques to the staff in the call center. He is now retired and resides with his wife, Deon, in Orem, Utah.

Michael L. Strauss, AG

Michael L. Strauss, AG Michael L. Strauss, AG, is a professional Accredited Genealogist and a nationally recognized genealogical speaker. He has been employed as a forensic genealogist for more than 25 years and has a BA in history and is a United States Coast Guard veteran. Michael is also a qualified expert witness in the courts in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia and a faculty member of IGHR, SLIG, and GRIP.

Kelly Summers, AG

Kelly Summers, AGKelly, is an Accredited Genealogist®. She received her Associates’ degree in Professional Genealogy and her Bachelor’s degree in Family and Community History both from Brigham Young University. Kelly received her Master’s degree in Instructional Design and Educational Technology from the University of Utah. Kelly has four premier genealogical credentials through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogist (ICAPGen) demonstrating genealogical research expertise is in U.S. Midwestern & U.S. Pacific, Mexico and Spain. Kelly researches in the US, Latin America, Scandinavia, Southwestern Europe and East Asian Family History research. Kelly designs curriculum and teaches university level courses at Brigham Young University and Salt Lake Community College. She has taught genealogy courses for the beginner, intermediate and advanced student in US Research topics, Spanish & Portuguese, French & Italian, Chinese, Japanese & Korean. Kelly currently serves as the President of the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA).

Tanner Tolman, AG

Tanner Tolman, AG Tanner became an Accredited Genealogist in the Denmark region in 2018 and later than year was hired by FamilySearch as a Nordic Research Consultant. He is a 2017 graduate of the BYU Family History/Genealogy program. Tanner currently serves on the UGA Board and is the First Families Committee Chair.

Tristan Tolman, AG

Tristan Tolman, AG Tristan L. Tolman, AG®, is a professional genealogist, author, editor, and publisher. She has a bachelor's degree in Family History and Genealogy from Brigham Young University and received her accreditation in genealogy research in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic States through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen). Tristan has been actively involved in the genealogical field for over twenty years. She loves working with clients and specializes in U.S. genealogical research, writing personal and family histories, and preparing genealogical information for publication. She is also the lead genealogist for the award-winning television series, Relative Race. Tristan currently serves as the second vice president of the Utah Genealogical Association and has served on the ICAPGen Board and the Nominations Committee of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She has written curriculum for the Family History degree programs at BYU-Idaho and BYU-Provo and was co-editor of Becoming an Excellent Genealogist: Essays on Professional Research Skills (2012). She is a member in good standing of ICAPGen, the National Genealogical Society, and the Association of Professional Genealogists.