Debbie is a full-time, professional genealogist experienced using DNA analysis, as well as more traditional techniques, for genealogical research. She holds Certified Genealogist® and Certified Genealogical LecturerSM credentials, certificate No. 1004, renewed, expires 13 September 2020, from the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG).
Debbie is the co-author with Blaine T. Bettinger of the first DNA workbook for genealogists, Genetic Genealogy in Practice, published in 2016 by the National Genealogical Society (NGS). She is the author of the online, self-paced course Continuing Genealogical Studies: Autosomal DNA, offered by NGS since 2015. She is the DNA Project Chair for the Texas State Genealogical Society guiding the newly created Early Texans DNA Project focusing on autosomal, Y-DNA, and mtDNA of descendants of those who arrived in Texas prior to statehood. She writes the "Genetic Genealogy Journey" column for NGS Magazine and has done so since 2013.
Debbie is the course coordinator for Practical Genetic Genealogy at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), Tools and Techniques for Genetic Genealogy at the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), and former coordinator for Getting Started with Genetic Genealogy at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). She is a frequent DNA instructor for the Forensic Genealogy Institute sponsored by the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy. She has presented at the National Genealogical Society and Federation of Genealogical Societies conferences, International Genetic Genealogy Conference, Angelina College (Lufkin, Texas) Genealogy Conference, Family Tree DNA Project Administrator’s Conference, Southern California Jamboree DNA Day, other courses at IGHR, and workshops on genetic genealogy and traditional research.
Debbie won second place in the Dallas Genealogical Society’s “Writing Competition 2012” and third place in the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors’ “2012 Excellence in Writing Competition.” Her publications include articles in APG Quarterly, Digital Genealogist, NGS Magazine, Texas State Genealogical Society journal Stirpes, Dallas Genealogical Society journal Pegasus, New Mexico State Genealogical Society journal, and others.
Debbie has worked on multiple genealogical television series. In 2008, before the recent popularity of genealogy-related shows, Debbie worked on an episode of the Canadian series Ancestors in the Attic. This episode featured the descendants of a slave family in Smith County, Texas, who had migrated to Canada. In 2011, Debbie worked on an episode of the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr. featuring a descendant of another East Texas slave family. This episode with Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University, was broadcast on 29 April 2012. Additional research has been done for Finding Your Roots and Who Do You Think You Are?.
Debbie’s DNA research focuses on client projects and on research into her own family project which includes Y-DNA, mtDNA, X-DNA, and autosomal DNA studies. Her traditional research focuses on Texas, the Southwest, and the Southern U.S.
Debbie lives in East Texas with easy access to the Dallas Public Library and Houston's Clayton Library, Center for Genealogical Research, as well as the East Texas Research Center at Stephen F. Austin State University. In addition there are several large university libraries, the Texas State Library and Archives, LDS Family History Centers, and many East Texas county courthouses within easy travel distance.
Debbie is a past Trustee for the BCG Education Fund, a past board member and Advocacy Committee Chair of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), and past president of the Lone Star Chapter of APG.