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2021 CAGGNI Board of Directors

Contact: board @

Board Position Descriptions


Francis Herbert

member since 14 March 2018
President (2021-present)
GeneaQuest committee (2020)

Contact: president @

Francis became interested in genealogy about 6 or 7 years ago when his wife shared a story about her great aunt. Then her brother followed with the same story but with a different set of facts. As this person was somewhat prominent and well known, Francis decided to see if he could sort the story. He managed to resolve that neither set of facts was accurate, and the actual story was something else, and he was hooked. His family is from the South, and he grew up in Brazil. 

Past President
Alan Wilson                                   

member since: 9 Nov 2007
Internet SIG (2017-2021)

President (2016-2020)
FTM Chair (2011-2015)
DNA SIG Co-Chair (2015-2019)

Contact: pastpresident @

Alan Wilson has been working on the genealogy of his family since 2007. 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 has used DNA comparisons on Family Tree DNA, DNAGedCom, GedMatch, Y-Search, YBase and Ancestry. 

Alan is currently Past President and leader of the Internet SIG. 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 VP Michelle Bray Wilson. 


Vice President/Program Chair
Michelle Wilson

member since: Nov 2007
Vice President / Program Chair (2021-present)

GeneaQuest Conference Chair (2019-present)

President (2010-2013)
Membership Chair (2015-2017)
DNA SIG Chair/Co-Chair (2015-2016, 2020-present)

Contact: programs @; vicepresident @

Michelle has been active in the local genealogy community for over a dozen 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 worked in the medical device manufacturing and communication industries before taking on clients in genealogy. 


Cathy Gulbrantson 

member since 18 Sep 2011
Secretary (2021-present)
FTM SIG chair (2020)
Road Trip Committee (2019-present)

Contact: secretary @; archivist @

Cathy has been working on genealogy on and off for about 25 years after her paternal aunt provided the print out of a family tree at a family reunion. She has traced her French-Canadian ancestors back to the mid-1650s and is trying to trace her Irish side back to Cork, Galway and Monaghan Counties. Having done DNA testing, Cathy connected with cousins living 10 minutes from her daughter in St. Paul, MN. Cathy was a 2019 Road Trip committee member for the trip to Washington, DC, and was the acting FTM SIG lead for part of 2020. Cathy retired as an IT Project Manager in 2015 and worked in various IT roles for over 40 years. Living in Palatine, she has been married for over 30 years, has two grown children and two cats.


Bill Neurauter

member since: May 2016
Treasurer (2019-present)

Bill started his interest in genealogy in the spring of 2012 when a friend found an overview on 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 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.


Membership Chair
Dennis Murray

member since: Jan 2016
Membership Chair (2018-present)

Contact: membership @

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. from Marquette University. In 1974, Dennis settled in the Chicago area where he raised two children with his wife Susan. 

His genealogical interests started in 2008, 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 three 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.”


Newsletter Editor
Rose Lehne                                      

member since: 2011
Newsletter Editor (2015-present)

Contact: newsletter @

Rose enjoys 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 find. 

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. A frequent contributor to the CAGGNI Newsletter, she also provides the Best of 101 Tips column.


Promotions/Publicity Chair
Marty Acks

member since: Jan 2016
Promotions/Publicity Chair (2018-present)

Contact: promotions @, 
fundraising @

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 @

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 past president of the Garden Club of Mount Prospect. Nancy has served on the newsletter, the road trip and GeneaQuest committees. She and her husband, John, a golf professional, enjoy antiquing in their spare time.


GeneaQuest Conference Chair
Michelle Wilson

member since: Nov 2007
Vice President/Program (2021-present)GeneaQuest Conference Chair (2019-present)
President (2010-2013)
Membership Chair (2015-2017)
DNA SIG Chair/Co-Chair (2015-2016, 2020-present)

Contact: geneaquest @

See bio above at VP / Program Chair

Road Trip Chair
Marti Gustafson                                          

member since: Feb 2015
Road Trip Chair (2016-present)

Contact:  RoadTripChair @

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.


Special Interest Group Leaders

Family Tree Maker SIG
Marty Acks 

Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group Leader (2021-present)

Contact:  ftm @

See above for Marty‘s bio.


RootsMagic and TMG SIG
Larry Olson

member since: 31 Dec 1994
RootsMagic and TMG Special Interest Group Leader (2015-present)

Contact:  tmg @

member since: 31 Dec 1994
Promotions and Publicity (2015-2017)
Secretary (2013-2014)
Membership Chair (2003-2005)
Genealogy Mentor (2002)
Program/Publicity Chair (1999-2001)
President (1996-1998)

Larry Olson is a Minnesota native who has been doing family research since the early 1970s, when a grandmother told him he was related to John Philip Sousa. He has never proved that legend, but he's discovered a lot of other things and had a great time doing it (Norwegians and Germans on his side, and Swedes and Revolutionary War on his wife's). He hopes that one day someone in his immediate family will appreciate all the work he has done (while he was neglecting them for dead relatives and dusty old records...). Larry works for the IRS Crime Lab as a forensic document examiner.

One of Larry's proudest accomplishments was presiding when CAGGNI was born. The group had been created several years before as the Northern Illinois Personal Ancestral File User's Group (NIPAFUG) at the Schaumburg LDS Church. Because of increasing diversity of genealogical interests, the group decided to expand its scope and became the Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois, or CAGGNI.


Reunion SIG
Bruce Christopher

member since: 19 Jan 2013
Reunion for Mac Special Interest Group Leader (2015-present)

Contact:  reunion @
(please include the word genealogy in the subject line)

Bruce started studying his family tree in high school and can even say he started using computers in this hobby as early as 1972, though in a very limited way. His areas of research include Scandinavia, British Isles, Canada and Colonial America. Since 2011, he has participated in DNA testing. 

Bruce joined CAGGNI in 2013 and became the Reunion SIG leader in 2015. He has been a user of Reunion for Macintosh since at least 1998 and has used it to build a fairly large family tree and publish it online with photos and source citations.


Internet SIG
Alan Wilson

Internet Special Interest Group Leader (2016-present)

Contact: internetSIG @

See Alan's bio above.


Michelle Wilson   

DNA Special Interest Group Leader (2020-present)

Contact: dna @

See above for Michelle's bio.

Storytellers SIG
Marti Swanson

member since: 2009
Storytellers Workshop Leader (2015-present)

Contact:  storyteller @

Marti is a retired English teacher who's active in retired teachers' activities on the local, regional and state level. She belongs to several genealogical societies, both county-based and surname-based, and publishes a newsletter for one surname. She has a 5-acre natural yard featuring close to 100 kinds of wildflowers, lots of oaks and hickories and two ponds. She has 2 dogs, 3 children, 4 grands and 5 greats.


Colonial America SIG
Bob Allen & Mary Hoyer   

Contact: colonial @

This SIG has as its objective the study of America’s 13 colonies – their creation, their history including a timeline for each, sources of information, identification of ancestors and relatives, understanding of the geography and an exchange of information by attendees.

Immigration and migration patterns will be explored and in-depth explanations of how to uncover information beyond names/dates/places will be discussed. Lineage societies will be explained and amazing resources like the Library of Virginia and the Germanna Foundation will be covered.


Copyright, Computer Assisted Genealogy Group of Northern Illinois

CAGGNI, P.O. Box 59567, Schaumburg, IL 60159-0567
webmaster @

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