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Monday, December 15, 2014

Ferguson: Geoff's response

Yesterday's blog post, What does Ferguson teach the genealogy community?, prompted conversation among several groups in chat, Skype calls, comments to George Geder's original LinkedIn post and to Ol' Myrt's post. With permission, I enclose Geoff Rasmussen's response to George:
George, thank you for your comments. As host and scheduler of the webinars at, below is how speaking proposals are submitted and evaluated for our webinar series.
  1. At the bottom of the website is a link to submit a speaking proposal. 
  2. Each year, I invite current and former speakers to submit proposals for the next year. 
  3. Speakers send me recommendations for other speakers. 
  4. Potential speakers email me directly. 
  5. At the request of our viewers, I try to match a speaker with a requested topic.
If I had received any proposals from persons of color for our 2015 series, they would be evaluated in the same manner as all other proposals. 

This year, requests from viewers were made for locality-based topics of New Zealand, Sweden, Holland, Germany, Ireland, England, Wales, as well as general topics like scrapbooking, technology, Pinterest, analyzing evidence, genealogical proof standard, DNA, mapping and more. 

Gender, ethnicity, or nationality are not factors for me when evaluating proposals and selecting speakers. 

Having said this, I have learned from your comments that I can be more proactive in reaching out to potential speakers who have not submitted proposals. 

I’d love to do a series on African American Genealogy. 

One of my favorite speakers, Angela Walton-Raji has previously presented some of our most well-received webinars on the topic. See her recordings at: I’ve always said that with Angela, you can “hear her smile.”

Other webinars, although not advertised specifically for People of Color, have covered the topic well. The first one that comes to mind is Marian Pierre-Louis’ “Researching Your Connecticut Ancestors” at

Excluding topics or speakers because of the color of one’s skin has not had a place nor will it have a place in our webinar series, and I welcome the submission of proposals and participation from anyone on any genealogically-related topic.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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