LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson: Author | Teacher | Certified Genealogical Lecturer ℠ | Certified Genealogist®


I worked as a tax lawyer for 35 years before retiring from a partner-level position at Ernst & Young in 2013. I am now an author, lecturer, teacher, Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical LecturerSM.

I became a Board-certified Genealogist (no. 1065) in 2015. Since then, I have served as Trustee and Treasurer of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. In September 2019, I was elected President of BCG. I also currently serve as the Registrar General of the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage, a national lineage society that honors ancestors who were enslaved in the United States before slavery ended.

In 2019, I conceived, created, and coordinated the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy’s inaugural African American genealogy course, 1619-2019: Four Hundred Years of African American Genealogy. The Utah Genealogical Association awarded me the 2019 Distinguished Service Award “for instrumental guidance in support of new programs and codified policies for SLIG.” I also serve on the faculty of the three other major genealogical institutes: the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records, and the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research.

In the past, I have worked as a facilitator (teaching assistant) in the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Online Program (Fall 2016 through the Summer 2019) and volunteered as a Mentor for ProGen Study 37 (June 2018 through June 2019).

I am available to lecture at local, regional, and national genealogical conferences as well as for libraries and societies. See the Speaking page on this website.

*The words Certified Genealogist and the designation CG are registered certification marks, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer and CGL are service marks, of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic competency evaluations, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

In the News

Genealogy Connection #71 Drew Smith interviews LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, President of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and a specialist in African Ancestored Families in the South

Aaron Goodwin, “The Zeitgeist and Serendipity” (NGS Monthly, June 2020).

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL, Sharing Her Knowledge About African American Research (Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, June 2020, 39-41.)​

And the Distinguished Service Award Goes to LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson! (Utah Genealogical Association Blog, 21 Feb 2019)

Welcome, LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, CG! (BCG Springboard, 30 Nov 2015)


John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, B.A.

New York University School of Law, J.D.

New York University School of Law, Master of Laws (Tax)

Boston University. Center for Professional Research: Genealogical Research Certificate, 2011

Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (formerly the National Institute on Genealogical Research) (2012)

ProGen Study Group 13 (2011—2013)

Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group (GenProof 25, 2013 – 2014)

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum (2016)

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, You Be The Judge: A Practicum Using Standards to Evaluate Genealogical Work (2017)

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, A Practical Approach: Establishing Genealogical Proof With DNA (2018)

Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. Mastering the Art of Genealogical Documentation, with Thomas W. Jones, PhD (2019)

Society Memberships

  • Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS)
  • AAHGS Greenville SC Upstate Chapter
  • AAHGS James Dent Walker District of Columbia Chapter
  • Association for the Study of African American Life and History
  • Association of Professional Genealogists (APG)
  • APG National Capital Area Chapter
  • Avery Institute of Afro-American History & Culture (Charleston, SC)
  • Fairfax Genealogical Society
  • Genealogical Speakers Guild
  • National Genealogical Society
  • New England Historic Genealogical Society
  • Laurens District Chapter of the South Carolina Genealogical Society (SCGS)
  • South Carolina Historical Society
  • Utah Genealogical Association

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