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Save the date for Gena Philibert-Ortega’s Viva Mexico cruise, setting sale from Los Angeles, California to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  This one-stop cruise will have time at sea for genealogy presentations & discussions, and plenty of time in Cabo for relaxing and having fun in the sun!

Terri O’Connell’s travel company Cruise Planners is in charge of travel arrangements and cruise registration.


sun & fun on land


genealogy presentations, demos, and consultations at sea.


Great food and conversation with other family history enthusiasts.

Ports of Call

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Los Angeles, California

frankie-valentine-GpejUx28Hmw-unsplash cabo 2

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Learn from the Experts

Genealogy Cruise Mexico

Shannon Combs-Bennett, MSc, QG

Shannon Combs-Bennett, MSc, QG (Qualified Genealogist), is an award-winning author and lecturer who writes and speaks to groups across the US and internationally on a variety of topics from genetic genealogy to methodology. Shannon earned her Bachelor of Science in biology with an emphasis in genetics from Indiana University and her Master of Science in Genealogic, Heraldic, and Paleographic Studies from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. She is the founder and owner of Trials and Tribulations (T2) Family History, where she works with clients to solve their genealogical and genetic questions.


♦ Basic DNA Inheritance Principles Explained
At times DNA results are more puzzling than the genealogical paper trail you have.  It is essential to understand the basic principles of inheritance and what tests you should take before you try to put your genetic puzzle together.  This lecture will focus on explaining very simple inheritance principles for better understanding of your results. By the end of the presentation attendees should understand why their 2nd great-grandparents DNA may or may not show up in their tests and why ethnicity results are only estimates.

♦ Introduction to Chromosome Mapping
Many researchers love looking at chromosome maps. So many pretty colors! However, do you look at these maps and browsers and do not understand what any of it means? Or maybe you are asking yourself, what is a chromosome map? In this lecture, learn the basics of understanding a chromosome map and how to determine how and where matches are related. We will look at the way different companies graphically represent your DNA and the third party tool DNA Painter.

♦ Unknown Parentage Cases and DNA Testing
More and more researchers are discovering an unknown parentage situation in their family either from adoption, lost records, or other family problems. So, how do you overcome the research roadblock? Or, maybe someone has contacted you about how they fit into your family and you need answers too. This lecture will focus on these types of brick wall issues with special attention paid to adoptees.

♦ Creating a research plan for DNA testing
Successful research means you have a plan and you work the plan. The same thing is true when you add DNA testing to genealogy. Learn how to combine traditional genealogical research planning with DNA testing to be more successful in your hunt for ancestors.

♦ Beyond autosomal DNA: what can mitochondrial DNA and the y-chromosome show you
Everyone who tests gets results for their autosomal DNA, but there are two more types of DNA testing on the market. While not as popular as atDNA testing mitochondrial and yDNA testing can give you information about your heritage as well. But, you need to know how to understand it. This lecture will introduce you to these tests, what they mean, and how you can use them in your research.

♦ Lineage Society Research – joining, using, and vetting applications
Many genealogists want to find an ancestor to qualify them for membership in a lineage society.  Often it is a validation of the hard work they put in researching their families. However, each one has different guidelines for membership. In this presentation, I will share with you strategies to help you achieve that goal and how to vet a linage application you find online (or in your files) for your research.

Gena Philibert-Ortega

Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, researcher, and instructor whose focus is genealogy, and social and women’s history. She holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology and Women’s Studies) and a Master’s degree in Religion. Her published works include two books, countless articles published in magazines and online, two volumes of Tracing Female Ancestors (Moorshead Publishing), and a QuickGuide from Legacy Family Tree. She is the editor of the Utah Genealogical Association’s magazine, Crossroads. Her writings can be found on her blogs, Gena’s Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera, as well as the GenealogyBank blog. Her research projects include Sowerby’s British Mineralogy: Its Influence on Martha Proby and Others in the Scientific Community during the 19th Century for the Gemological Institute of America, as well as genealogical research for the first season of PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow and the Travel Channel’s Follow Your Past. Her current research includes women’s repatriation and citizenship in the 20th century, foodways and community in fundraising cookbooks, and women’s material culture.