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member since: 9 Nov 2007
FTM Chair (2011-2015)
DNA SIG Co-Chair (2015-2019)
Contact: president @ caggni.org
Alan Wilson has been working on the genealogy of his family for eight years. He has used various software tools and databases, including Family Tree Maker, Ancestry, The Master Genealogist, Webtrees, WikiTree and Gramps. Alan became interested in DNA for genealogy in 2008. Since then he has tested with Family Tree DNA and Ancestry, and he has used DNA comparisons on Family Tree DNA, DNAGedCom, GedMatch, Y-Search, YBase and Ancestry.
A member of CAGGNI since 2008, Alan is currently the co-leader of the DNA Special Interest Group (2015- present). He is a regular contributor to the CAGGNI monthly newsletter and a past leader of the Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group (2011-2015). Alan lives in Long Grove and is married to Past President Michelle Bray Wilson.
Member since: Jun 2011
Vice President/Program Chair (2019-present)
Contact: vicepresident @ caggni.org; programs @ caggni.org
Edwina Thomas started having family reunions after she lost her last grandparent in the 1980s. She took descendant lists of each branch from a cousin. This list grew to include ancestors as well. Edwina has gone as far back as slavery on her mother’s side and become the family historian by default.
Edwina has degrees in business and accounting, one daughter, two grandsons and one great-grandson. She has lived in the area for more than 40 years and now lives in downtown Arlington Heights.
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Contact: secretary @ caggni.org; archivist @ caggni.org
member since: May 2016
Bill started his interest in genealogy in the spring of 2012 when a friend found an overview on Ancestry.com of his paternal great-grandfather Sebastian who was living in Etz-Tirol, Austria, in 1881 before leaving for Hamburg with his two brothers and a sister-in-law. Bill relied on Google and FamilySearch.com before doing his DNA with 23andMe and AncestryDNA. He recently contacted a second cousin on his mother’s side, who he never knew.
Bill has a background in accounting and retired from the Illinois Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves after 32 years. He is licensed in Illinois for personal lines of Insurance. He and his wife, Marlene, met square dancing, where they have been active in the Chicago Metro Council and State Council of Square Dancing.
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member since: Jan 2016
Membership Chair (2018-present)
Contact: membership @ caggni.org
Dennis is a retired Human Resources and Talent Acquisition Specialist in the engineering and video game industries. He was born and raised in northern New Jersey and has a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Marquette University. In 1974, Dennis settled in the Chicago area where he raised two children with his wife Susan.
His genealogical interests started eight years ago and he’s been bugging his known relatives ever since. His heritage is Irish and Eastern European – most likely Lemkos of the north Carpathian Galician region. His wife’s family is northern Italian, immigrating to Iowa, Illinois and California. Dennis has helped two adoptees find their biological parents which were very rewarding experiences. He has keen interests in world travel and has seen the totality of a solar eclipse. He says, “The only thing left is having tea with the Queen.”
member since: 2011
Newsletter Editor (2015-present)
Contact: newsletter @ caggni.org
making the connection to her ancestors and
finds researching, continuing education,
teaching and technology rewarding aspects of
family history research. Wanting to share
stories with family members she started
printing a semiannual newsletter. Out of the 30
copies distributed, she hopes a few of them will
survive the years for a future genealogist to
Rose enjoys European travel and has had the opportunity to visit her father’s birthplace in Sicily and the church in County Clare, Ireland, where her 2nd great grandparents were married. She is currently on the board of the DuPage County Genealogical Society where she is Web Coordinator and Conference Chair. A frequent contributor to the CAGGNI Newsletter, she also provides the Best of 101 Tips column.
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member since: Jan 2016
Promotions/Publicity Chair (2018-present)
Contact: promotions @ caggni.org,
fundraising @ caggni.org
Marty became a genealogy enthusiast in 1999 after having caught the bug from his mom and dad. He continues to expand on their work to this day. He currently volunteers at WikiTree where he contributes to the global family tree, leads multiple surname studies, assists other members and monitors activity as a WikiTree Ranger. Marty is also a member and volunteer at Downers Grove Historical Society. Marty’s vacations now often include a hunt for ancestors. In 2016 he traveled to Scotland to visit the ancestral homeland of the Porterfields, on his maternal grandmother's side.
During the day Marty works in the computer software industry, specializing in payments and e-commerce websites. He is also a co-founder of Silvon Software in Westmont, IL. Marty lives in Downers Grove with his wife, Carine. They have one adult son, a daughter-in-law and a one-year-old grandson.
Website Content Director
Nancy I.Z. Reese
member since: 28 Jul 2012
Website Content Director (2016-present)
Contact: webmaster @ caggni.org
Nancy began her search in 2000 for her ancestors, most of whom arrived in the U.S. before the Civil War. She has researched in archives and libraries across the U.S. and will never forget finding the obituary of her great-great-great grandmother, who died in Oregon, in a small town library in Indiana. This great-something grandmother later turned out to be the granddaughter of a Revolutionary War soldier.
Nancy retired in 2012 after 32 years with the Chicago Tribune. She now volunteers at the Mount Prospect Historical Society and the Mount Prospect Public Library in its genealogy department. She is immediate past president of the Garden Club of Mount Prospect. Nancy has served on the newsletter committee and the road trip committee. She and her husband, John, a golf professional, enjoy antiquing in their spare time.
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GeneaQuest Conference Chair
member since: Nov 2007
GeneaQuest Conference Chair (2019-present)
Membership Chair (2015-2017)
DNA SIG Co-Chair (2015-2016, 2020-present)
Contact: geneaquest @ caggni.org
Michelle has been active in the local genealogy community for over 10 years. In addition to holding multiple offices for CAGGNI, she speaks throughout the Midwest, most frequently on DNA, French Canada, ancient ancestry and creating family history books. She is currently Registrar at a local DAR chapter. An engineer by training, Michelle consults for the medical device manufacturing industry.
Road Trip Chair
member since: Feb 2015
Road Trip Chair (2016-present)
Contact: RoadTripChair @ caggni.org
Marti was born and raised in Evanston, IL. She began her search in genealogy in 1991 after the death of her mother. Her dad told her that he was of German decent and from Germany. It was not until she went to the Newberry Library that she found out the Welters came from Luxembourg. Marti started her genealogy research with the Family Tree Maker CD and the free 3 months subscription to Ancestry.
Marti has worked in information technology for 20 years, mostly at Sears Holding in Hoffman Estates. Prior to that, she worked as a statistician for Washington National Insurance in Evanston and Allstate Insurance in Northbrook. Marti joined CAGGNI because she was interested in the road trips – now she is the chair of the committee.
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