Who We Are

canvasA.J. Jacobs
The founder of the Global Family Reunion is bestselling author A.J. Jacobs, whose books include The Year of Living Biblically, The Know-It-All and Drop Dead Healthy.  Jacobs is an NPR commentator and the editor at large at Esquire. He is a speaker with two TED talks that have reached over a million views.

thumbnail (1)Morgan Spurlock
Morgan Spurlock is the Academy Award-nominated director of Supersize Me (in which he ate nothing but McDonald’s for a month) and is the creator and host of Inside Man, a weekly series on CNN.

ADF Head ShotAaron Fisher
Aaron Fisher is the event producer of the Global Family Reunion. As Managing Partner of Revolution Marketing LLC, he has produced projects of all sizes. He has been involved with MTV’s Video Music Awards, Coachella, Bonnaroo, Justin Bieber’s tour and the Warped Tour, among others. He works on every part of the Global Family Reunion, including strategy, production, marketing, promotion, logistics, and talent booking.

eowynEowyn Langholf
A genealogist with 20 years experience, Eowyn is our Chief Cousin Coordinator. She oversees the massive effort to connect thousands of cousins and coordinate our many wonderful volunteers. She also heads up our social media efforts, lines up entertainment and tells A.J. to take a nap once in awhile.

thumbnailAbby Glann
Abby is our Director of Research and has 13 years of genealogy experience under her belt. Abby is a tireless cheerleader for the GFR who scours census results, marriage certificates and obituaries. Her contributions have been like Miracle-Gro for the Global Family Tree. She also helps guide volunteers and contributes to the blog.

sasha-is-a-cousinSasha Martin
Sasha is an award-winning writer/blogger who spent almost four years cooking her way around the world. With more than 650 recipes, her website, Global Table Adventure, is a go-to hub for foodies around the world. Her first book, LIFE FROM SCRATCH chronicles her lifelong struggle to find inner-peace. She will be using her experience with world cuisine as the recipe editor on our GFR Cookbook, curated with the help of FOOD52 (coming soon!).

jzninaNina Hoffer
Nina Hoffer has been planning special events in the NY/NJ area for the last 10 years. She recently was part of the operation support team for The Genealogy Event in NYC which enabled her to merge her two passions; event planning and genealogy. Nina is thrilled to be helping us out as our Exhibitor Coordinator. She has identical twin fifteen year old boys who are third generation twins.

canvasAngel Hundley
Angel is a small business owner and serial volunteer for worthy causes – like the Global Family Reunion. She is our Branch Party Liaison. Angel believes in giving back to her community, and she enjoys a good party. So getting the chance to work for her whole global family to proliferate parties is a dream come true for her!

indexRandy Whited
Randy is a data and technology junkie withover 20 years of experience in information technology and business intelligence. He is also on avid genealogy researcher of 30 years and in addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Randy chairs its Technology committee and is Program Co-Chair for the FGS 2014 Conference in San Antonio. He is our Society Liaison.

GFR BIOAndrea O’Dell
Andrea is an educator and counselor in the greater New York metro area with over 20 years of experience.  As a member of the National Speakers Association, she has done presentations in New York and New England on such topics as communication and connection.  She has been a genealogy junkie for the last 15 years.  Genealogy and connection are life passions. Andrea is our Assistant Event Volunteer Coordinator.

lindaLinda Grantham
Linda has lived in Colorado since the sixties. This beautiful state is where she married, raised sons, worked as a nurse and human service consultant and grant writer. She retired early to pursue my interests in genealogy, organic gardening, cooking, volunteering and collecting buttons from around the world. Linda is the GFR Ambassador Coordinator.

CarragherMichael Carragher
Michael Carragher is an avid genealogist and perpetual volunteer. He is president of the NYC & Long Island-based Irish Family History Forum and volunteers with other genealogical societies.  He’s a native New Yorker with parents emigrating from Ireland in the 1950s.  His Korean-American wife and 3 children reflect the diversity Queens, NY, has to offer. Michael is our Outreach Coordinator.

300px-Hansen-3549Niels Hansen
Niels Hansen has worked in the wind turbine industry as a development manager in the electronics department. Today he works at a small electronics company making high-end audio equipment. Niels has more than 40,000 people on his tree and about 70% of them live in Denmark. The rest are distant relatives, and some 15,000 individuals are in Utah or other places in the United States. He is our Global Family Reunion Chart Maker.

CarolRiceProfilePicCarol Rice
Carol Rice has spent over 20 years as a storytelling ambassador.  Currently serving on the board of Story Crossroads, has served on the boards of the National Storytelling Network, Timpanogos Storytelling Institute and directing projects with the Internationsl Storytelling Center. Her website, FamilyStorytelling.com is dedicated to helping families use the power of story as part of their every day. She is our Storytelling Liaison.





Gilad Japhet

The Geni and MyHeritage team 
MyHeritage is one of the largest genealogy and social network sites in the world, with 75 million users, 1.5 billion profiles and 4 billion historical records. In 2012, MyHeritage acquired Geni, another genealogy site that is helping to build a World Family Tree. The tree currently has 77 million members all connected by blood or marriage (or sometimes both).

The Geni/MyHeritage executives – including CEO and founder Gilad Japhet, Laurence Harris and Mike Stangel — are enthusiastic partners in the Global Family Reunion. A growing group of devoted genealogists, including, just to name a handful, Randy Schoenberg, Adam Brown and Schelly Talalay Dardashti are indispensable in the building of the World Family Tree.



Chris Whitten


Erin Breen


WikiTree is a fast-growing website devoted to collaborative genealogy, balanced by a commitment to respect privacy. WikiTree has more than 7 million profiles, 65 percent of which are connected to the Global Family Reunion. The site – which is free and open to the public — was founded by Chris Whitten in 2008, and has a Global Family Reunion project with 65 devoted researchers.




FamilySearch is the largest genealogical organization in the world. It has been gathering, preserving and sharing genealogical records for over 100 years. FamilySearch features online trees and billions of records. It is a nonprofit sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.




RootsTech is a family history and technology conference and trade show held annually in the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.  The first RootsTech was held in February 2011, drawing around 3,000 people. Every year has seen an increase with nearly 13,000 attending the 2014 RootsTech Conference in person and over 100,000 remote participants. RootsTech 2015 will take place February 11-14.

FGS Logo ColorFederation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and represents the members of hundreds of genealogical societies. FGS links the genealogical community by helping genealogical societies and family history enthusiasts strengthen and grow through online resources, FGS FORUM magazine, and through its annual national conference which provides four days of excellent learning opportunities for both societies and family history enthusiasts.


George Church

pgp-logo-only-color-transpThe Personal Genome Project
The Personal Genome Project (PGP) is creating a freely available scientific resource that brings together genomic, environmental and human trait data. These data are donated by volunteers enrolled in a PGP study from our global network.

Initiated by George Church at Harvard Medical School in 2005, the PGP has pioneered ethical, legal, and technical aspects related to the creation of public resources involving highly identifiable data like human genomes.

Founded in 2004, the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is a top-rated charity (four stars on Charity Navigator) devoted to funding promising scientific research into preventing and curing dementia. It has an all-star team of scientists and investors, including two Nobel Prize laureates.

A New York organization devoted to enhancing care for Alzheimer’s patients and families, and raising money for research. The Alzheimer’s Association New York Chapter is part of the largest charity devoted to this devastating disease, and has helped millions since its founding in 1980.

A personal genetics firm based on Mountain View, California. You can order a home DNA spit-test kit for $99, which you mail back to 23andMe. The company will then analyze your DNA to find insights about your ancestral roots and provide a list of hundreds of genetic cousins. The health information part of 23andMe is currently on hold, but the ancestry service continues.

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Founded by Bennett Greenspan in 1999, FamilyTree DNA is a personal genetics company that offers a wide variety of tests, including Y-DNA, mtDNA and autosomal transfer.

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Simon & Schuster is the publisher of four of A.J. Jacobs’s previous books, as well as the upcoming book based on the Global Family Reunion, tentatively titled It’s All Relative.

The Global Family Reunion is working with New York City & Company to find the best deals and attractions for visitors to New York.

A.J.’s Immediate Family

Julie Jacobs

Julie Jacobs

As you might expect, this is a family effort, and A.J.’s immediate family is fully committed. Including Julie Jacobs (wife), Jasper, Zane and Lucas Jacobs (sons), Ellen Jacobs (mother), Arnie Jacobs (father), Beryl Jacobs (sister), Barbara Schoenberg (mother-in-law), Willy Ramos (brother-in-law), Doug and Lisa Schoenberg (brother- and sister-in-law), Eric and Alex Schoenberg (brother- and sister-in-law), David Zuckerman (cousin), Kait Ebinger (cousin) and so on and so on.

The Global Family Reunion is, of course, a team effort. Here are just some of the people helping to make it a reality.

Watch the Livestream Archive