Brick Walls are Crashing Down on Saturday, August 18, 2018

Brick remains near the foot of the trail from the Great Highway/
Photo ©BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons. Used with permission.

We all have those pesky brick walls. You know, those lines that you just can’t get any further. The ones you could swear were dropped on the planet by aliens (the extraterrestrial kind). There is a rock-solid brick wall at the end of your pedigree right at that spot.

That is exactly the situation our three panelists were in until recently. They broke through their brick walls and on Saturday, August 18, they are going to tell us how they did it. Our panel moderator spoke to me for a few minutes today about what to expect. You can hear what she had to say in the short video below.

 Introducing our three panelists:


Kathi Gardner is a PCGS member who has been searching for her biological family for several years. She is a member of the PCGS Steering Committee and is the coordinator of the DNA Special Interest Group.

Denni Ann Gershaw-Smith has had her own calligraphy business since 1971 and been the family genealogist since 1981. She started doing genealogy for others in 1989. She belongs to Genealogy societies in Colorado, Wisconsin and Arizona, and just completed the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Program. She specialize in Wisconsin (and now Arizona) as well as Belarus and Judaic genealogy. She is happy to be back home in Tucson with the saguaros again!

Rondie Yancey is a PCGS member and has been researching her family for over 25 years. Over that period of time, she has seen the internet resources grow exponentially, and has learned to make Google her BFF. With a special interest in writing genealogical histories of ancestors, she has completed several small “booklets” to distribute to family members.  She recently completed the Research Like a Pro Study Group and used the methodology to solve a longstanding family mystery.

Following the panel discussion, we will hear from Jodi Lynn Strait on State Censuses—Which ones exist, where can you find them, and what clues do they provide? Many states took censuses in between the federal census, and they were taken for different reasons so their questions would be different and often unique. They could provide you with the information you need to break through that brick wall caused by the ten year gap between the federal census, or the twenty year gap caused by the loss of the 1890 census. Jodi Lynn will help you determine if they exist for your state and help you find them.

STRAIT-Jodi-Lynn-2014Jodi Lynn Strait has been doing genealogical research for over 20 years. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Chinkchewunska, New Jersey, chapter of the DAR. She completed the NGS home study course and is a certificate holder of Boston University’s Genealogical Research Program. Jodi was the third person to join PCGS. She has served on the Steering Committee since its inception, has been the newsletter editor since 2014, and has been the Treasurer since January 2018. She also serves on the Program Committee and on the Publicity Committee as our Facebook administrator.

Our general meetings are free and open to members and non-members alike. Members will have access to the handouts via the Members Only section of our website ( or click the HOME button at the top of this page), one of the many perks of becoming a member.


Saturday, August 18, 2018
1:00pm – 3:00pm
Banner-University Medical Center
Duval Auditorium (Room 2600)
1501 N. Campbell Rd.
Tucson, AZ