Keynote & Presenters
Dr. Gregory Christopher, D. Min. Sr. Pastor
"A Proud Heritage"
In 1989, Dr. Gregory Christopher announced his calling to the Ministry under the Pastoral leadership of Pastor Lonnie Brown at The Body of Christ Christian Church in Tacoma, Washington. He was ordained in 1993 at Shiloh Baptist Church in Tacoma, WA, and has served as Shiloh’s Senior Pastor for nearly 23 years. In 1989, he married Evelyn Christopher. They are the proud parents of five children, 16 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.
Dr. Gregory serves as the President of the Tacoma Ministerial Alliance and a past president of the Tacoma Branch NAACP. He is affiliated with the Tacoma Pierce County Black Collective, the Tacoma Urban League, and a past board member of Associated Ministries. In 2009, Pastor Christopher performed the dedication of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & George Washington Bush Tree Dedication in Olympia, WA. On the same day, he gave the opening prayer on the floor of the Senate. He also received the 2022 Empowerment Award, presented by the Tacoma Urban League.
Pastor Christopher has led the Shiloh congregation to serve as a model of compassionate partnership by hosting a much need overnight men’s emergency shelter within Shiloh’s church
building. Under the direction of Pastor Christopher, the Shiloh church recently announced a new partnership with Tacoma Housing Authority to develop a larger-scale affordable housing
development on the church property, which will include housing the homeless and low-income members of the community. The development will be completed in 2024.
Pastor Christopher quotes an oft-repeated line from the late Rev Dr. E. S. Brazill, “As long as I can help somebody as I travel this way, then my living is not in vain.”
Rontrell J Brimmer
"Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee"
Rontrell J Brimmer is an up and coming Gospel Artist who has been singing since the age of five. He is a New Orleans, LA native that currently resides in Tacoma Washington. Singing Christian and Gospel Music has played a pinnacle part in Rontrell’s healing from his troubled and difficult childhood. He has never left his faith and his belief in God has never wavered. His gift has been experienced by many across the globe. In 2019 he wrote and recorded his first single, Its Yours. In 2020 he would go on to write and release his second single, True and Living God. In 2021 he wrote and released his third and most recent single, Power. “When I sing, it’s me and God, everyone else just gets to listen in on the conversation” is what he always says. Rontrell’s hobbies are singing, learning to play piano, watching musicals and traveling.
Lyn Rasmussen, AG
"The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands – The Freedmen’s Bureau"
Lyn works at the FamilySearch Library as a United States and Canada Research Specialist. Her emphasis is Southern States and African American research. She holds a BA in Family History—Genealogy from Brigham Young University and is a board-certified genealogist. Lyn regularly presents webinars at the Family History Library and virtual webinars for FamilySearch.
"The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands Freedmen's Bureau Records" Digital handout
Julia A. Anderson, AG
Getting Started with African American Research and African American Resources on Family Search
Julia is an Accredited Genealogist® and United States and Canada Research Specialist with FamilySearch. She is also a member of the faculty at Salt Lake Community College, where she teaches classes in the genealogy certification program, and is the owner and managing member of Anderson Genealogical Research, LLC. She received a bachelor’s degree in history with a family history emphasis from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in history with a post-secondary education emphasis from Grand Canyon University. Julia lives in Orem, Utah. She and her husband, Scott have nine children and seven grandchildren.
Getting Started with African American Research Syllabus
Gabriel Caussey-Lee & Jamel Jackson
"Preserving Your Family's Legacy"
Gabriel Causey is a Washington native. His interest in genealogy began as he listened to his maternal grandparents share stories about their ancestors’ origins in Louisiana and Mississippi. After nearly two decades of research, Gabriel has been able to trace back seven generations.
Jamel Jackson is originally from Albany, NY. After enlisting into the Army National Guard in 2009, I moved to Tacoma, WA. I am currently in my 10th year of teaching elementary/middle school Physical Education.
As I grew up in a very large family with great traditions, family reunions and teachings of our family history were a major part of my childhood.
So when I was introduced to FamilySearch, I was immediately intrigued. I've been so thrilled to have this tool to share with my immediate and extended family.
"The African American Families Project"
Joe's record linking lab has been working to dramatically improve the information available to African Americans, and help create new discovery experiences for people of African descent. The project has added over six million African Americans to the FamilySearch Family Tree site using data from the 1900 and 1910 US Census. His organization works with volunteers to connect these individuals to their extended family members using record hints and public member trees on other websites. This course is of special value to those who have black or African American ancestry doing similar work, and how to add in what they know about their family to the FamilySearch data.
Joe Price is a professor of economics at Brigham Young University and the Director of the BYU Record Linking Lab (rll.byu.edu). The lab combines machine learning and family history to automatically index historical records, link records together, and create new family history experiences.
Joe's record linking lab has been working to dramatically improve the coverage of African Americans on the Family Tree as a way to create new discovery experiences using automated tools. The lab has added over six million African Americans to the FamilySearch International Family Tree.
Two of the tools that they have created are the customized hints app and reverse indexing. Learn more about the Record Linking Lab on their Facebook page.
Sharon Leslie Morgan
"Discover the Dreamers"
How to begin your family research and make a bridge to healing the historical harm of slavery.
Sharon Leslie Morgan is the Founder of Our Black Ancestry. She is a genealogist, writer and multicultural marketing expert who has served as a consultant to the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society (AAHGS) and is a founding member of Afrigeneas. Morgan has taken STAR (Strategies
for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) training at Eastern Mennonite University and is actively involved with Coming to the Table, an organization that promotes linkages between descendants of enslaved people and the families that enslaved them for the purpose of healing from the trauma of slavery. Sharon is the co-author of Gather at the Table: The
Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade (Beacon Press, 2012).