About

Melissa A. Johnson is a Certified Genealogist® specializing in genealogical research, lecturing, writing, editing and publishing. She has expertise in researching families with origins in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, England and Poland. Melissa has extensively researched the families of many of New Jersey’s first settlers, including those from Newark and Elizabeth(town). She is an expert in New Jersey genealogy research, and frequently teaches on NJ genealogy topics through the New Jersey Family History Institute. She is also proficient in using DNA test results to break through ancestral brick walls and assist adoptees and others with unknown parentage.

Expertise
Melissa focuses on forensic genealogy research, including locating missing heirs and providing due diligence in cases with legal implications. She has worked with law firms, administrators of estates, and government agencies on estate, title, mineral rights and other legal matters throughout the United States. She holds a certificate from the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy (CAFG) Institute. Melissa has assisted many researchers with Irish and Italian dual citizenship matters.

Melissa is experienced in planning, writing and editing various genealogical works, including family histories, biographies, narratives, memoirs and articles. She works with authors to weave historical context into genealogical and biographical information to develop written materials for scholarly or private publication. She is also experienced in book layout and design for self-publishing, e-publishing and traditional publishing. She is the Reviews Editor of the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (APGQ); editor of the GSNJ Newsletter, a publication of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey; and former editor of NGS Monthly.

Melissa previously worked as a government relations and marketing consultant to numerous corporations and government agencies. She draws on her consulting experience to support genealogy professionals by writing and lecturing on marketing, media relations, branding and technology topics relevant to entrepreneurs and small businesses. She also lectures on genealogical topics and is a frequent lecturer at historical and genealogical societies throughout New Jersey and the northeast. Melissa is also an instructor in the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Program, and frequently teaches at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research. She is a Trustee of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey, and Vice President of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History. Melissa also chairs the Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Development Committee, is a Mentor for ProGen 40, and serves as President of the New Jersey Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Published Work
Methodology Articles
•  “Visualizing Information for Analysis and Correlation,” NGS Monthly, July 2016
•  “Indirect Evidence to Identify Immigrant Origins,” NGS Monthly, June 2016
•  “Assessing Reliability of Information,” NGS Monthly, May 2016
•  “Methodology for Elusive Female Ancestors,” NGS Monthly, April 2016
•  “Using Indirect Evidence To Solve Genealogical Problems,” NGS Monthly, March 2016
•  “Resolving a Question of Identity in NGSQ,” NGS Monthly, February 2016
•  “The Genealogical Proof Standard In Practice,” NGS Monthly, January 2016
•  “Considering the Law,” NGS Monthly, December 2015
•  “A Lesson in Reasonably Exhaustive Research,” NGS Monthly, November 2015
•  “Using Autosomal DNA To Establish Proof,” NGS Monthly, October 2015
•  “Techniques for Researching Common-Name Ancestors,” NGS Monthly, July 2015
•  “DNA As A Genealogical Source,” NGS Monthly, June 2015
•  “The Big Picture and the Small Details,” NGS Monthly, May 2015
•  “The Importance of Genealogical Analysis and Correlation,” NGS Monthly, April 2015
•  “The Great Mix Up: Sources, Information, Evidence, and Proof,” NGS Monthly, March 2015

Sources and Research Topic Articles
•  “CIA Records for Genealogical Research,” NGS Monthly, July 2016
•  “Sources and Strategies for Discovering Immigrant Origins,” NGS Monthly, June 2016
•  “A Twentieth-Century Genealogical Resource: FBI Records,” NGS Monthly, May 2016
•  “Soldiers’ Home Records: A Valuable Military Resource,” NGS Monthly, April 2016
•  “Researching World War II Naval Armed Guard Records,” National Genealogical Society Magazine, January/February/March 2016
•  “Records of the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps,” NGS Monthly, March 2016
•  “A Primer On United States Naturalization Records,” NGS Monthly, February 2016
•  “The American State Papers and United States Congressional Serial Set,” NGS Monthly, January 2016
•  “Navigating the National Archives,” NGS Monthly, December 2015
•  “U.S. Patent Records as a Genealogical Resource,” NGS Monthly, November 2015
•  “Working Around the National Personnel Records Center Fire of 1973,” NGS Monthly, October 2015
•  “Documentation: The Backbone of Genealogical Research,” NGS Monthly, September 2015
•  “Civil War Pension Files: Understanding Pension Laws,” NGS Monthly, July 2015
•  “Civil War Union Pension Files: Contents and Access,” NGS Monthly, June 2015
•  “Finding and Using Alien Records,” NGS Monthly, April 2015

Writing and Editing Articles
•  “Scrivener: An Organizational Tool for Genealogical Writers,” National Genealogical Society Magazine, October/November/December 2015
•  “Don’t Miss the NGSQ Editors’ Corner,” NGS Monthly, September 2015
•  “What Do Genealogists Gain From Reading NGSQ?,” NGS Monthly, May 2015
•  “The Proof Is In the Writing,” NGS Monthly, March 2015
•  “What Is an NGSQ Case Study,” NGS Monthly, February 2015
•  “Eight Tips for Deconstructing An NGSQ Case Study,” NGS Monthly, February 2015

Professional Genealogy Articles
•  “Advanced Educational Opportunities: Genealogical Institutes,” GSNJ Newsletter, Spring 2013
•  “Personal Branding for Professionals,” Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, March 2013

Journal Articles
•  “The Johnson Family of Newark, New Jersey,” Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, May 2019 (serialized)
•  “The Johnson Family of Newark, New Jersey,” Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, January 2019 (serialized)
•  “The Johnson Family of Newark, New Jersey,” Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, October 2018 (serialized)
•  “Mothers for Sophie (Kanetski) Howe of Scranton, Pennsylvania,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly, June 2015
•  “William Morgan and Elizabeth Sarah Frances Selina Geldard: Nineteenth Century Illegitimacy and Immigration in London and New Jersey,” NYG&B Record, January 2013

Reviews
•  Review of Hemingway Editor, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, September 2014
•  Review of iBank, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, June 2014
•  Review of 11 Laws of Likability, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, June 2013
•  Review of Dwolla, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, June 2012
•  “Preparing for the 1940 Census Release,” GSNJ Newsletter, Spring 2012
•  Review of Evernote, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, March 2012
•  Review of XpenseTracker, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, December 2011
•  Review of Square, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, September 2011

Book Chapters
•  Debbie Parker Wayne, editor, Advanced Genetic Genealogy: Techniques and Case Studies, Unknown and Misattributed Parentage Research chapter.

Education
Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA
•  Bachelor of Science, Business Administration

Sigmund Weis School of Business, London, England
•  International Business Studies

Boston University, Boston, MA
•  Certificate in Genealogical Research
•  Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century

Forensic Genealogy Institute
•  Forensic Genealogy Certificate
•  Advanced Forensic Genealogy Certificate

Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
•  Irish Genealogical Research
•  Mastering Genealogical Documentation
•  Italian Genealogical Research
•  Tracing Your Eastern European Roots
•  Practical Genetic Genealogy
•  Advanced Research Methodology
•  Determining Kinship Reliably
•  Law School for Genealogists

Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, Samford University, Birmingham, AL
•  Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis
•  Military Records

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy
• You Be The Judge: A Practicum Using Genealogical Standards to Evaluate Work
• Advanced DNA Analysis
•  Diving Deeper Into New England
•  Researching Eastern European Ancestors

British Institute, Salt Lake City, UT
•  Researching Your Irish Ancestors
•  Sources for Tracing Pre-Mid-Nineteenth Century English Ancestors

GenFed (previously known as the National Institute of Genealogical Research), Washington D.C.

Memberships
• Association of Professional Genealogists
• Genealogical Speakers Guild
• Genealogical Society of New Jersey
• New Jersey Historical Society
• New York Genealogical and Biographical Society
• International Society of British Family History and Genealogy
• National Genealogical Society
• Monmouth County Genealogy Society
• Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogists