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TGP 56: Elissa Scalise Powell – Genealogy Educator

Featured Guest

Elissa Scalise Powell

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, a western Pennsylvania researcher for over 30 years, is the co-director of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and Genealogy as a Profession course coordinator at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR). She was an instructor and module creator for Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate program (2008-2016). She was the mentor for ProGen Study’s first and 25th groups and author of two chapters in the 2018 Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice and Standards book. She was the course co-coordinator of the AG/CG Preparation Course at the 2010 and 2013 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). She won the Association of Professional Genealogists 2017 Professional Achievement Award. She was honored in 2010 with the NGS President’s Citation in recognition of outstanding, continuing, or unusual contributions to the field of genealogy. She is a regional and national speaker on such topics as Pennsylvania records, methodology, professional development, and society management.

She was a Trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists for nine years, their President (2012-2014), and past Outreach Committee Chairperson for eleven years. She was a Director for the Association of Professional Genealogists for six years; taught genealogy courses at the local community college for fourteen years; co-edited a cemetery book series, appeared on the PBS-TV show Ancestors2 cemetery episode and on the Travel Channel’s Dead Files in the 2015 “The Instigator” and the 2019 “Devil’s Advocate” episodes. She is a past-President of two local Pittsburgh area societies and a contributing author to many publications including the NGS Quarterly and the APG Quarterly.

An NSDAR member, she is also a lifetime member of the Ohio Genealogical Society; the Medina County Chapter, OGS; and the Baltzer Meyer Historical Society (Greensburg, PA) which was named for her ancestor.

Contact Links

Website – Powell Genealogical Services

Facebook Page – Powell Genealogical Services

Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) – https//www.gripitt.org

Links Mentioned

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) – https://www.apgen.org

Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research – https://ighr.gagensociety.org/

Western Pennsylvania Genealogy Society – https://wpgs.org/

North Hills Genealogists (Pittsburgh) – https://northhillsgenealogists.org/

The BCG Standards Manual – https://bcgcertification.org/product/genealogy-standards-2d-edition/

Thing You were Most Afraid of

I wasn’t afraid of anything. I just went ahead and never looked back.”

Best Advice You Received from Someone Else

“Create a demand and then supply it.” –Elizabeth Shown Mills

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

“Create an education plan. Picture where you want to be and assess where you are now. Then fill in the gaps.”

Recommended Book

Only a Few Bones by John Phillip Colletta

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell


We are all on this earth to teach, to learn and to love. Think about how you will do that.”

Action Item

Your action item today comes straight from Elissa. Create an education plan. Picture where you want to be and assess where you are now. And then fill in the gaps. No matter what your niche is in genealogy this is a good exercise to do.


The Genealogy Professional podcast is now available on Spotify. Search for either Marian Pierre-Louis or genealogy to find it. Don’t forget to follow!

If you’re a YouTube you can also find all the episodes of the podcast on YouTube. Don’t expect any video. It’s just an audio-only file with a picture but I’ve put it over there because some people are more comfortable with that platform.

Join the TGP Action Group on Facebook! You can find it at https://www.facebook.com/groups/TGPActionGroup/

If you’re not on Facebook, follow the Genealogy Professional on LinkedIn. You can get new episode notices there. Go to Linkedin and search for The Genealogy Professional and hit the follow button.

I’m continuing in my effort to get back on a bi-weekly schedule for the podcast. Eventually I’ll settle on an exact release date twice a month. But in the meantime you can expect a new podcast generally every two weeks.

Direct link to this post: https://www.thegenealogyprofessional.com/elissa-powell

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