2019 Polish Genealogy Conference
Speaker Biographies

Blaine Bettinger

Blaine Bettinger

J.D., Ph.D

Blaine Bettinger, J.D., has a Ph.D. in biochemistry with a concentration in genetics. He is a professional genealogist specializing in DNA evidence. He launched The Genetic Genealogist, on February 12, 2007 as one of the very first blogs to examine the intersection of traditional genealogical techniques and modern genetic research, more commonly known as “genetic genealogy.” Genetic genealogists use genetics to learn more about their ancestry, including to learn about their ancient roots and to examine the relatedness of individuals.

Blaine has been using traditional genealogical research to learn more about his ancestry for almost 20 years. He entered the world of direct-to-consumer genetics in 2003 with an autosomal DNA test from one of the first companies offering this type of testing.

Blaine is the author of The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy.

He co-authored with Debbie Parker Wayne of the award-winning Genetic Genealogy in Practice the world’s first genetic genealogy workbook. He also co-authored “Genetics for Genealogy” with Judy Russell in 2018’s Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards (ProGen PPS) (Elizabeth Shown Mills, Author and Editor).

Blaine has been an instructor for genetic genealogy courses at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research.

Blaine is a graduate of ProGen Study Group 21, a trustee for the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s Board of Trustees, and a board member for the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Matthew Bielawa

Matthew Bielawa

Matthew Bielawa was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and is the Associate Registrar at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut.  Mr. Bielawa currently serves as Vice-President of the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast, Inc.

He earned a B.A. degree in Slavic and East European Studies from the University of Connecticut in 1989 and a M.A. degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures from New York University in 1994.  His research specialization is in Eastern Galicia / Western Ukraine.

Mr. Bielawa has visited Ukraine and Russia several times including a semester study at Leningrad State University.

He is webmaster of “Genealogy of Halychyna/Eastern Galicia”, a site devoted to Polish and Ukrainian genealogical research in Eastern Galicia/Western Ukraine.

M.B.B. Biskupski

M.B.B. Biskupski

Ph.D.

M.B.B. Biskupski holds the Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish Studies at Central Connecticut State University.  After receiving his Ph.D. from Yale, he taught at Yale, the University of Rochester and was a Fulbright Professor at the University of Warsaw.

He has published seventeen books, sixty essay, and many shorter pieces.  His books have been adopted as college texts in four countries.  He is the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including the Commander’s Cross of the Republic of Poland.

He has been the President of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences, the Polish American Historical Association, as well as serving as a Director of the Jożef Pilsudski Institute.

He has lectured throughout Europe and North America and appeared many times on radio and television in both Poland and the United States.  He is on the Honor Roll of Polish Science.

Daniel Bućko

Daniel Bućko

Daniel Bućko is a Polish professional genealogist born and raised in Poland. He has resided in Kraków since 2003. He holds a Master’s degree from Jagiellonian University in Kraków (2008).

Daniel started his genealogy research in 1998 and has vast research experience in a wide array of civil and church records from Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian and Ukrainian Archives. In addition to his native language Polish, Daniel also speaks English, Russian and Belarusian.

In 2008, he became a member of the Małopolska Genealogical Society in Kraków. He was also an originator and organizer of the local genealogical initiative: The Walerian Bujnowski Sokółka Area Genealogical Society (2010). He was a speaker at the genealogical conference of Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast in New Britain, CT and at the genealogical meeting of Polish Genealogical Society of New York State.

Besides civil and church records research and translations, he has extensive experience in organizing Polish genealogy guide services in Poland and looking for heirs for legal cases.

Tom Sadauskas

Tom Sadauskas

Tom Sadauskas has been actively conducting genealogy research since 2000, with a special focus on Eastern Europe. All four of his grandparents and his father were born in Lithuania.  He has made several trips to Lithuania and Germany to do genealogy research and has been successful in reestablishing contact with relatives in Lithuania as well as making contact with newly uncovered ones.

Tom was privileged to be a member of the first group of genealogists to visit  the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Germany in May 2008 following the opening of the ITS archives to public access. The ITS archives hold 50 million records on 17.5 million people including both Holocaust victims and survivors, forced laborers, and more than 8 million displaced persons (DPs).

He is a 2009 graduate of the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR).  Tom has made numerous presentations at various genealogy conferences including those organized by the Polish Genealogy Society of Connecticut & the Northeast Inc. (PGSCTNE), the Washington D.C. Family History Center and the Baltimore Family History Center.  He is also a frequent contributor to the monthly Polish genealogy e-zine Gen Dobry!

Jonathan Shea

Jonathan Shea

Jonathan Shea  a native of New Britain, Connecticut, is a professor of foreign languages in the Connecticut Higher Education System.  His academic preparation in the field of languages and linguistics has been enriched by living experience in Europe and study at the Universidad de Madrid in Spain, St. Petersburg State University in Russia and the Uniwersytet Jagiellonski in Poland.

In addition to being a foreign language educator, Shea is a trained archivist and professional genealogist with specialization in Eastern Europe and Ireland and frequently lectures and presents workshops internationally on the topics of document translation and other linguistic issues, immigration history and European archival resources.  The founding President of the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast, Inc., he now serves as its Reference Archivist and as the long-time editor of its journal, Pathways & Passages.

He holds a B.S. degree (magna cum laude) in Spanish from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. and an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst plus a M.L.S. in Library Science and Archival Management from Southern Connecticut State University.

In addition to the languages he teaches, Spanish, Polish and Russian, he also speaks Italian and French and has reading knowledge of Portuguese, German, Belarusian and Ukrainian.

He has over twenty years of experience in the field of genealogical research, documenting his own family (with roots in the former provinces of Łomża and Grodno, Poland, and Counties Offaly and Mayo, Ireland) as well as the families of others.  The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has recognized him as an Accredited Genealogist in the field of Polish research.

His most recent publication Going Home: A Guide to Polish-American Family History Research is a comprehensive reference work on genealogical research methodology.  He has also co-authored with William Fred Hoffman the four volume series In Their Words:  A Genealogist’s Translation Guide, Volume 1 Polish, Volume 2 Russian and Volume 3 Latin and Volume 4, German.

Maureen Taylor

Maureen Taylor

Maureen Taylor is an internationally recognized expert on historic photograph identification, photo preservation and family history research.

Sought out by clients all over the world from as far away as New Zealand, her pioneering work in historic photo research is unprecedented, evidenced by her success in solving photo mysteries.  Ms. Taylor has a skilled eye for uncovering clues within a picture – a hairstyle, sign in the background, or shape of a shirtsleeve – in order to identify a person, place or era.  What follows from her genealogical expertise is the story behind the images of the past, shedding light on what otherwise may remain unknown for centuries.  It’s no wonder she was dubbed “the nation’s foremost historical photo detective” by The Wall Street Journal.

As a consultant and seminar leader, Ms. Taylor focuses on helping people rediscover their family history one picture at a time, tackle additional research if necessary and advises attendees on technical solutions to share those discoveries.  She’s passionate about getting folks to dig deep into their family history to tell the story of their ancestors.

Ms. Taylor is a frequent keynote speaker on photo history, photograph preservation and family history at historical and genealogical societies, museums, conferences, libraries, and other organizations across the U.S., in London and Canada.  She is the author of several books on her topics of expertise and was a guest on The View and The Today Show for completing Meredith Vieira’s family tree.  Well-known publications including The Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, The Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, Germany’s top newspaper Der Spiegel, American Spirit, and The New York Times have featured Ms. Taylor’s photo and family history research. Ms. Taylor also wrote personal memoirs and narrative family histories for the Newbury St. Press of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. She also writes guidebooks, scholarly articles and online columns for such media as Smithsonian.com. She was recently a spokesperson and photograph expert for MyHeritage.com, an internationally known family history company.

Ms. Taylor is currently a contributing editor of Family Tree Magazine and a product ambassador for MemoryWeb.me, a digital photo app. Her new website www.oldpvd.com documents the history of Providence, RI using historical images pinned to a series of historical maps. Her podcast, blog, and social media accounts are called The Photo Detective.

For more than a decade she’s searched for images of individuals who lived during the Revolutionary War but also lived into the age of photography.  It’s currently a two-volume set titled, The Last Muster, and the quest for more photographs is ongoing. Three of the profiles in the series are now films, A Revolutionary Trio. A third volume is forthcoming.