Thanks to my paternal grandmother, I grew up with a passion for family history. This interest lead to achieving a certificate in Family History and Genealogy from the University of Washington in 1999. That program culminated in a project on my 3x great grandfather, the Rev. Thomas Oliver Ellis, MD. This project focused on family correspondence and several aspects of his life: religion, medicine, and the Civil War as it played out in California.
My career in nursing (BSN, Washington State University, 1982; MN, University of Washington, 1988, Board Certified Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, 1993-2018) kept family history as a parallel interest for many years. I managed to continue my research on my family as my work took me to each of the 50 states, most Canadian provinces, and several countries abroad. I have visited libraries, archives, and courthouses throughout the US and Canada and driven around the backroads of states and provinces searching for places with links to my ancestors.
As a health care professional, I helped found a non-profit, www.centreCMI.ca which focuses on improving partnerships between health care professionals and those they serve. I have been a plenary speaker, consultant, and trainer working on projects to improve health care. I now help genealogists apply sound communication principles to family history, particularly communication about DNA testing.
I am a member of the British Columbia Genealogical Society, the Association for Professional Genealogists and the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, an international group promoting excellence in communication and supporting healthy change.
My genealogical interests include genetic genealogy, cemetery iconography, westward migration, the history of medicine, California pioneers, Gold Rush, Southern states, the Great Migration, daily lives of ancestors, involving children in family history and storytelling. I enjoy assisting people to become better acquainted with their ancestry as a way of learning more about themselves and their connection to history.