Illinois State Genealogical Society
Meet the ISGS Board Members

Vicki Dixon Mattson, President
Vicki lives in Waukegan and is retired from the school bus industry after thirty years in management and is still involved as an instructor for the state of Illinois. As a member of the Zion Genealogical Society she is President and FGS delegate. Vicki serves as secretary of the Waukegan Historical Society, and volunteers as a docent for the annual Oakwood Cemetery Walk and Tour of Homes. She belongs to many genealogical and family societies both locally and in southern states. Vicki has been researching her family history for twenty years, mostly in the southern states but also in Gallatin and White counties.

Tina Beaird, 1st Vice President
Tina is the owner of Tamarack Genealogy and is the Genealogy/Local History Librarian at the Plainfield Public Library. She lectures nationally on military research, genealogical methodology, Scottish records, and archival preservation. She is a governing board director of the Illinois State Genealogical Society, the Northern Illinois Historical League, and the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board. Tina volunteers her time with several local historical and genealogical societies scanning and indiexing historic records. Occasionally, Tina finds time to research her own family tree which she has been pursuring for over 25 years. Tina's Illinois research is focused in Chicago, and in Cook, Kane, Kendall, Will, Perry and Randolph counties.


Candace Marx, Immediate Past President & 2nd Vice President
Candace earned a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and is an alumni of the ProGen Study Program. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Chicago Area Chapter, and the Northwest Suburban Genealogical Society. Candace has ancestors from England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and Luxembourg, and is currently researching in Kane, Cook and Kendall counties.


Suzanne Hoffman, Recording Secretary
Suzanne has been researching families for more than 25 years. Although she finds her Illinois-born husband's pioneer line a great deal easier to pursue, she still loves her mainly Lithuanian and Russian conquest of missing and unreadable documents. She's a graduate of the University of Chicago - Executive Management Program and Smith College, with a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University. She has also completed ProGen, GenProof, Gen-Fed, and is working on her portfolio for certification. She volunteers at the Wilmette Family History Center and is the current secretary of the APG Forensic SIG. She is primarily a Forensic Genealogist working with probate attorneys finding missing heirs but also has a specialization in Eastern Europe, Immigration, and Naturalization. Suzanne's Illinois research focuses on Sangamon County and researching the Rev. Peter Cartwright and Smith families; Cook and Lake counties and the Benjamin family; and early Jewish Settlers of Illinois.


Margaret Truax, Treasurer
Margaret has pursued genealogy for many years, and last year she completed Boston University's certificate program in genealogical research. Her ancestors were immigrants to Chicago from Scotland, England, Ireland, Germany, Bohemia and Luxembourg. Her husband's ancestors were early New Englanders who later migrated to New York and Michigan. Margaret is currently completing his Mayflower Society application. Margaret has had her own consulting business, Truax Associates, since 1994, working with businesses and not-for-profit organizations on human resource and management issues, including grant writing. She continues to work on a few client projects, although she tries to reserve plenty of time for genealogy. Margaret first joined the ISGS Governing Board in February 2014 as Publications Chair, subsequently serving as a director and as treasurer.


Jenny Fisher, Chair of Membership Committee
Jenny is a recently retired executive with 40 years' experience in corporate development, strategy, HR and operations, with a career than spans federal government, Motorola, start-ups, and non-profits. Her Illinois ancestors arrived in the 1830's and settled in Adams County where she focuses her resarch. Jenny is curretnly pursuing a Certificate in American Genealogical Studies from the National Genealogical Society. She also serves as Recording Secretary of the Signal Hill Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Barrington, Illinois, and has registered her patriot ancestor as a member of the Indiana Territorial Guard Society.


Laura Street Chaplin, 2022 Director, Co-Editor of ISGS Newsletter
Laura is the owner of Willowtree Research Genealogy Services, and currently living in Sugar Grove, Illinois. Laura was raised in southeastern Iowa and has lived all around the Midwest, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Ohio. Personal research counties in Illinois include Pike, Adams, Schuyler, Lee, Peoria, and Sangamon. She and her husbank, Mark, were inspired by the "Roots" miniseries in college, which began a lifelong love of research and genealogy learning, raising their three daughters tramping through graveyards – now with 6 grandkids in training! In addition to her genealogy business, Laura is the former History and Genealogy Manager at the Lawrence J. Martin Heritage Center in Elbum, IL. She has been active as a genealogical presenter since 2012. She is a member of the APG, GSG, NGS, several other societies and current board member of the Kane County Genealogical Society. Laura earned the Certificate in Genealogical Studies from Boston University in 2014.


Kimberly Nagy, MD PLCGS, 2022 Director, Prairie Pioneer & Military Committee
Kimberly is a native of Ohio but has called the Chicago area home for over 30 years. Her family originated in 10 of the original colonies and converged in the Midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. She began researching in the mid 1970's and still loves to scour courthouses, libraries and cemeteries for information. She retired from a career as a Trauma Surgeon and returned to her love of genealogy. She is a member of several lineage societies and is active in most, spending jer research time helping others with their applications. She also lectures on various genealogical topics around the state. Dr. Nagy is excited to join the governing board of ISGS as a director and is looking forward to becoming more involved.


Barbara McKean, 2022 Director
Barbara first joined the board of the Illinois State Genealogical Society in May 2012 as the Secretary. She continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors, and has formerly served as a 2nd Vice President, Society Office Liaison, Chair of the Website and Nominations Committees, and member of the Education, Conference, and Policy & Procedure Committees. Barbara's interest in genealogy started when she inherited a pack of letters written between 1908 and 1915 to her great-grandfather, Herman Weber, from his family in Germany. Barbara belongs to DAR, the Mayflower Society of Illinois, and genealogical societies in Green County, IL and Killingsworth, CT. Her Illinois research focuses on Morgan, Greene and Bond counties.


Roseanne Freundt, 2023 Director
Roseanne's genealogy journey began in 2009 after she went on a "roots tour" with her parents and brother in Chicago. Roseanne was born in Chicago and raised in the suburbs. She is a Reference & Genealogy/Local History LIbrarian at the Batavia Public Library. She plans programming for the Q&A Genealogy Program Series, teaches genealogy classes, and assists patrons with genealogy and local history questions. She is a member of the Kane County Genealogical Society, the DuPage County Genealogical Society, and the Luxembourg American Cultural Society. She has ancestors from Poland, Luxembourg and Germany. Roseanne's Illinois research is focused in Cook and Livingston counties. She lives in Elbum with her husband, two cats and a dog.


Liz Ross, 2023 Director & Education Committee
Lis started lecturing regionally in 2004. She developed and produced "2nd Saturday Genealogy", 2014-2019, and ran several workshops. Currently, Liz volunteers with Purple Hearts Reunited, works on the ISGS Education Committee, co-leads the Oak Park Gen Group, and serves on the CAGGNI GeneaQuest2020 committee (sponsor wrangler). She is a member of APG, NGS, CAGGNI, CGS, and a few genealogical societies where ancestors lived. Her formal education has included repeated national conferences, NGS, FGS, & PMC, institutes, ISGS (2004), NIGR, & GRIP, and courses via the internet, Pro-Proof & CDG (Certified Discussion Group). In 2020, Liz has been able to join Pro-Gen, NGSQ Discussion Group, a short writing course, a DNA weekend, 3 institutes at GRIP (Citations, Land & Lineage Societies), & SLIG in January. Liz has been Chicago based for the last 30 years. Her mother's side came to Chicago from Germany in the 1890's. Her father's side, by contrast, arrived during colonial times, or slightly after. His people were her for the Civil War, and a few came on the Mayflower. Liz focuses on the Midwest, especially federal land, on women and Divil War pensions, on methodology and organization. Genealogy360 is the name for her business.


Rachel White, 2023 Director
Rachel first discovered her love of genealogy in 2000. Rached currently works full-time in Chicago as a Billing Manager for a law firm, and founded her own company, Limping Pheasant Genealogy, in 2017, specializing in Illinois genealogy with an emphasis on Will County. In 2020, she earned a certificate for U.S. Genealogical Research from Salt Lake City Community College. Rachel serves on the board of the Monee Historical Society, which was founded in 2011 after a successful campaign to save the Monee Creamery, a Will County landmarked building in her hometown. She also serves as archivist for the cemetery at St. Paul's Church in Monee which was founded, in part, by her ancestors in 1858. The cemetery was recently landmarked, largely due to Rachel's research over the last ten years. Rachel lives with her husband, Tom, and two children in New Lenox. Each year, Rachel and her mom Christi take a mother/daughter genealogy research trip. They visit relatives, historic sites, and local research depositories.


Byron Holdiman, 2024 Director
Byron is a librarian at Quincy University and teaches U.S. Research courses for BYU-Idaho's Family History/Genealogy online program. For 13 years, he worked on a grant project teaching educators about using the historical sources on the Library of Congress's website with their students. He has taught genealogy sessions for local public libraries and genealogical societies as well as at the national genealogy conference RootsTech. Byron has travelled throughout Illinois for his genealogical research. He has research interests in Adams, Effingham, Fayette, Fultonn, Green, Hancock, Jersey, Kankakee, Mason, Moultrie, Pike, Shelby, Stephenson, Winnebago, Vermilion, Wayne, and Will counties.


Mary Westerhold, 2024 Director & Co-Editor of the ISGS Newsletter
Mary was born and raised in Edwardsville, the county seat of Madison County, one of the oldest counties in the state. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Actuarial Science. After working in the insurance industry for over 19 years, Mary quit to pursue her passion in genealogy and history. Mary began volunteering in the library at the Madison County Historical Museum and Achival Library and will be retiring after 19 years as Archival Research Manager. Although her roots are not in Madison County, she has helped many others find their family there. Mary;'s family roots are in Effingham and surrounding counties so her person research frequently takes her there. She also enjoys recording information in old family cemeteries, regardless of their location, and researching the stories of those who are buried there.


Laura Marshall Kovarik, Website Committee Chair
Laura has been involved in genealogy for more than 20 years and has been very active with her local society as well as ISGS. Laura has been a member of the ISGS Governing Board for 6 years. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with degresss focused on historic preservation and land use/environmental planning. Laura worked for 13 years as a math tutor for grades 1-9. Areas of genealogical research include Norway, Canada, France, Bohemia and Sweden. Part of Laura's family was in Chicago prior to the fire in 1871. Her Illinois research focuses on Cook, Kane, McHenry and Kankakee counties.


Jaymie Middendorf, Honors & Awards Chair
Jaymie is a public librarian who specializes in genealogy and local history. She has a passion for helping people discver their ancestors and loves to see people excited about their family history. She holds a Certificate of Genealogical Research from Boston Univeristy. Jaymie has ancestors from Germany, Poland, Spain, and Denmark. Within Illinois, she focuses her research on Chicago, suburban Cook County, Franklin County and Kendall County.