Shannon Combs-Bennett


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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I am a doctoral student in the History Department concentrating in the history and genealogical aspects of heritage organizations and lineage societies within the United States.

In addition to my studies, I work as a professional genealogist in the United States. I perform client research, write articles for genealogical publications, moderate genealogical courses for Family Tree University, and serve as an advisor for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies based in Toronto, Canada for their genetic genealogy courses.

With my undergraduate degree in genetics, I also work in genetic genealogy. Through my client work, I have helped them verify genetic data and on occasion reunite family members. While this is one of the more controversial aspects of genealogical research it is another tool in the toolbox of genealogists and should be considered such.

My interest in lineage societies stems from my grandmother who told me as a child I was eligible to join many organizations but never stated which ones. As an adult, I began tracing my and my husband’s family heritage which answered those questions. Currently, I am a member of three lineage organizations but could be a member of many more.

I am a member of the New England Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, the National Council on Public History, and the Guild of Genealogical Speakers. 

Academic / Professional qualifications

I hold a BS (Bachelor of Science) in Biology with an emphasis in genetics from Indiana University. I also have a Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma in Genealogical, Paleographic and Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde. In 2019 I earned an MSc (Master in Science) in Genealogical, Paleographic, and Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde. My academic studies qualified me to join the Register of Qualified Genealogists and place the postnominals Q.G. after my name.

In addition to those academic degrees, I hold a PLCGS (Professional Learning Certificate) in American Studies from the National Institute for Genealogical studies. I also completed the Boston University Certificate Program in Online Genealogical Research. 

Research Interests

My research interests include:

  • Lineage Society and Heritage Organization research
  • Colonial American history and genealogy
  • Genetic genealogy research to solve genealogical brick wall research
  • Scottish and Irish immigration to the mid-Atlantic Colonies

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

Master in Science, How Valuable are Collections of Letters for Genealogical Research? A Case Study of the Mott Family Letters, 1835-1849, Centre For Lifelong Learning

1 Oct 20161 Nov 2019

Award Date: 1 Nov 2019

Bachelor of Science, Biology - Genetics, Indiana University


Award Date: 1 Aug 1999


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