Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Speaker Spotlight: Barbara Renick

Barbara is a nationally known genealogy lecturer. She frequently lectures at the national conferences of such organizations as the National Genealogical Society, Brigham Young University, and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. She currently serves on staff and teaches at the Regional Family History Center in Orange, California. Barbara writes for several genealogy publications, including the NGS NewsMagazine, and co-authored the book The Internet for Genealogists: A Beginner’s Guide (now out of publication). Her most recent book titled Genealogy 101: How to Trace Your Family’s History and Heritage was sponsored by the National Genealogical Society for their 100th Anniversary. She is also well known for the 'Z' Links page at her Web site which is a favorite tool for many of her students. Barbara also has authored several instructional videos on how to trace your family tree on-line.

Mrs. Barbara Ann Renick nee Zuknick was born in Maryland to a German immigrant father and a Tennessee hillbilly mother. She grew up on a small farm surrounded by the forks of the Patuxent River. Even as a child, she was interested in stories about what life was like when her parents and grandparents were children. Barbara had her first exposure to computers during high school while studying at Southern Illinois University on a summer scholarship from the National Science Foundation.

In college, Barbara had a four-year scholarship in electrical engineering with an eye toward designing computers. She earnestly began to trace her family tree shortly after her marriage in 1970 when she changed her college major to nursing. Over the next few years, she took a beginning genealogy class three times before she felt she had begun to grasp the intricate methods involved in researching her family tree through Germany, Polish Russia and the hills of Tennessee. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Nursing in 1974.
From 1974 to 1979, Barbara attended many genealogical conferences, took more genealogy classes, and avidly pursued her ancestry. During this era B.C. (Before Children and personal Computers), Barbara took many research trips and attended family reunions in Maryland, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. When the “Roots” phenomenon hit (thanks to Alex Haley), she was called upon to teach others what she had studied and learned.

From 1979 to 1983, Barbara had and adopted four special needs children. This curtailed her genealogical trips for a few years. However, in 1983 she purchased her first personal computer and began converting her paper genealogy filing system. Shortly thereafter, she was asked to train and supervise a crew of data entry workers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her small crew did data entry for the International Genealogical Index and the Ancestral File. She did this for ten years.

In 1985, she began working as a beta tester for a computer training company. Today, she is frequently asked to alpha and beta test software programs and Internet sites. From 1987 to 1999, she trained family history and genealogy consultants for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the areas of Brea, Placentia, and Yorba Linda, California. During those years, she published a free newsletter on current developments in the field of genealogy as an adjunct to her training of these family history consultants. Upon request, her newsletter was sent to others across the country filling similar positions. She began teaching Personal Ancestral File courses in 1985 and today is known in the U.S. for her many published articles about this free genealogy software program.

Contact Information:
Barbara Ann Renick,
311 Copa De Oro Drive,
Brea, CA 92823-7018
phone (714) 524-0364

cell phone (714) 273-0364
additional e-mail address
Barbara’s Web site is at:

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